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Fear, phobia or anxiety – what’s the difference?

As humans we are biologically wired to be scared of certain things. These are normally things that will cause us grievous bodily harm, think snakes and spiders. Fear serves to protect us by signalling danger and kicking our ‘fight or flight’ response into gear.

We are all scared of different things and experience fear at different levels of intensity – for some people seeing a snake will make them cautious and move slowly away whereas someone else may be paralysed with fear. So, how do you tell the difference between a fear and a phobia, and for that matter, anxiety?

A Fear

Fear is a natural, emotional response to the threat of real danger. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat to one’s safety.


Fear should not be confused with anxiety, which is very similar to fear but usually occurs without any external threat. With anxiety you anticipate a future danger. Anxiety can be mild, such as being slightly nervous before and exam; or intense. Mild anxiety can motivate you to act, for example by studying for your exam. Intense anxiety, however, can cause you to avoid a specific situation. Sometimes anxiety can be out of proportion.

A Phobia

Phobias are best described as an intense or irrational reaction to something or a given situation. The sufferer often experiences feelings completely out of their control. Once made aware, a sufferer will actively ensure that they never find themselves in any situation that could trigger a phobic reaction.

While phobias vary in severity from person to person, some people can experience panic attacks which can be incapacitating. Most people know that their feat is irrational, but they feel powerless to stop it.

Treatments such as hypnotherapy are very effective in treating phobias as they can help change perceptions of what it is that scares us. Along with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Hypnotherapy can help to gradually desensitise the person to the fear producing object. Relaxation and visualisation techniques usually accompany hypnotherapy and help to form new emotional habits such as being calmer and more relaxed; helping to neutralise the impact of fears and phobias.

If you find yourself being limited by a fear or phobia, you might like to consider an effective, non-invasive form of treatment such as hypnosis. If you’d like to find out more about hypnotherapy, contact us today.

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It’s time to rid yourself of fear and take your life back

Each time you let the fear of failure take hold and stop you from taking risks that could get you what you really want out of life; you are stopping yourself from living to your full potential.

Defined as an irrational, persistent fear of a certain object or situation; it has been estimated that over 5% of the population has one or more clinically diagnosed phobia. It can be a fear of something specific such as flying, spiders, snakes or tight spaces. There are also social fears which cause you to feel anxious about social interaction or situations such as giving a speech in public or being in an environment with new, unfamiliar people.

Often these sorts of phobias start during childhood, and if left untreated carry on into adulthood and when induced can be debilitating. When a fear or phobia develops, it is important to deal with it directly in order to take control and stop it negatively impacting on your life.

If you find yourself being restrained or limited by a particular fear, before it becomes impossible to control you might like to consider an effective, non-invasive form of treatment such as hypnosis. When placed into a deep state of relaxation, the subconscious mind becomes receptive to suggestions of change. Positive suggestions are given to a person during this state; this includes motivational encouragement, confidence building statements and steps for curing oneself of a phobia.

When new ideas are introduced to the subconscious mind, a person can develop healthier beliefs, values and more importantly improved habitual thinking patterns. Hypnosis is also beneficial in helping to calm the mind and body by alleviating stress and anxiety; all of which helps someone to regain control of their lives by limiting the power of their phobia.

Hypnosis can have a positive effect on every aspect of a person’s life. It is a safe and gentle process that is suitable for a patient of any age. If you would like to find out more about hypnosis as a treatment for fears and phobias, contact us today to book an initial consultation. Hypnosis can help you to lead a happier and healthier life – fear and phobia free!


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Don’t let anxiety rule your life

Feelings of anxiety in certain situations can be helpful; keeping us protected from danger by triggering our survival instincts. But when your worries become persistent or are blown out of proportion, it can start to get in the way of you living your life.

An anxiety disorder is characterised by feelings of fear and persistent worry that can negatively impact and take control of all aspects of a person’s life. Some of the most common anxieties are fear and/or worry of social situations, authority, relationships, or financial matters.

A person living with anxiety will learn to avoid certain situations that create feelings of worry or panic, and don’t recognise the impact it is having on their lives. For instance someone who experiences feelings of anxiety at work may unintentionally put themselves in a situation that leaves them overlooked for promotion.

If not addressed, anxiety can lead to other mental disorders such as agoraphobia and obsessive compulsive disorder. But anxiety does not have to control your life. There are plenty of effective tips, tricks and treatments that can help you overcome feelings of anxiety.

Some simple tips or tricks that you can try are:

  • Take the time to relax….! We all think we know how to relax but chilling out in front of the TV or playing a video game isn’t true relaxation. They may seem to relieve you of stress through distraction, but it’s effect will only be temporary. For proper relaxation, try things like deep breathing or yoga to calm your mind and body.
  • Get enough sleep! Sounds simple doesn’t it? But when it comes to the right amount of sleep for your needs – think not too much, but not too little.
  • Eat healthy and exercise. Choose foods that will give you long-term energy instead of short bursts, and participate in exercises that send oxygen to every cell in your body.

If your feelings of anxiety are becoming harder and harder to manage and are negatively impacting your life, consider seeking professional help. Hypnosis is a proven, non-invasive method for overcoming anxiety. The process of hypnosis is rewarding, positive and safe. A person who has received hypnosis therapy can often feel a boost in confidence, increased self esteem and a more positive outlook on life.

Hypnosis calms your nerves, mind and the whole body, alleviating the stress that hinders your everyday life. When a person undergoes hypnosis, they are placed into a deep state of relaxation. It is during this state that the subconscious mind becomes receptive to positive suggestion, new ideas and perspectives. It is then that a therapist can provide motivational encouragement, confidence building statements and a means of overcoming anxiety. This process will help to change the behaviours and thinking patterns of the person receiving the treatment.

If you want to overcome anxiety and lead a happier life, contact a member of the Brand New Mindset team today.


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3 tips for helping your ADHD/ADD child prepare for exams

Imagine if parent–teacher meetings or school reports were focused on how your child was tracking with regard to problem solving, creative thinking or collaboration? These are all skills that will help your child live and work effectively in a 21st Century workplace.

Instead, school reports focus on how well your child can memorise and recall content. For any parent of a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) the end of year exam period can be a source of major stress.

Studying and exam-taking with ADHD is challenging for both child and parent. As you beg, bribe and bargain to get them to study and then soothe nerves and shore up self-esteem after the exam and report, you have to wonder is there a better way?

There are a number of ways you can help your child to prepare for the upcoming end-of year exams, including:

  1. Good study technique

Most students re-read the textbook as part of their exam preparation; however for ADHD kids reading is passive and can be a very ineffective way for them to retain information. A more effective technique can be for them to work through practice tests and even create their own practice exam based on previous class tests and areas teachers have stressed as important.

  1. Sleep on it

Instead of cramming the night before, spend shorter amounts of time studying each day in the lead up to the exam. Reviewing just before bed also helps to increase familiarity with the material and allows your brain to process the information during sleep when it’s more active.

  1. Get help to manage test anxiety

Test anxiety exacerbates the symptoms of ADHD and the student can find it difficult to understand and follow test directions. They might freeze when it comes to retrieving the facts they have learned and struggle to organize their thoughts and answers. Unfortunately, many students with ADHD also suffer from test anxiety, making it hard for them to do well even when they have studied.

The good news is test anxiety can be reduced! It is a learned response to a stressful situation and can therefore be unlearned. The typical approach to treating test anxiety is through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Exposure Therapy. There have also been a number of studies that have looked at the effectiveness of using Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT) as part of the treatment for test anxiety.  The advantage of using VRT is that it provides a therapist with the ability to gradually expose the student to the stressful situation, monitoring their anxiety at each step and preparing them to deal with it. The therapist is there with the patient in the situation, which is not always possible in real life. Using VRT as part of the therapy process allows the anxious person to confront the feared situation repeatedly until it no longer causes anxiety. For students with ADHD, test taking can be challenging at the best of times, but having to deal with test anxiety on top of that can cause them to stumble even when they are well prepared.

To discuss how you can support your ADHD or ADD child coming up to the end of year exam period, please contact us for a free initial consult.


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