One of the stories I like to recount in my sessions is how the powerful tools I will share with you on the Hypnobirthing course can be applied to help in other day-to-day scenarios.
I used to have a terrible fear of the dentist and to be fair I still feel a bit anxious when I go, and I often dread it.
Flashback a few months and I booked myself in for a check-up. Thankfully there was nothing wrong and all I needed was a visit to the hygienist. So far so good, right? WRONG…
Facing my fears
For me, the hygienist was an ordeal. So much so that I had to have 3 or 4 numbing injections to get through it. (I should probably point out at this time that I am one of those weird people who doesn’t mind needles or injections).
Despite this, I had made a conscious decision to keep on top of my health and made the appointment to see her. As the appointment approached I started to feel the rumblings of anxiety. Suddenly, I had a brainwave and I started to join a few dots together from my Hypnobirthing training.
This process resulted in me having a calm and peaceful trip to the hygienist. And have beautiful shiny teeth at the end, without any pain relief! This was a huge deal for me.
Fear, Tension, Pain
Firstly, I wondered why something that most people find a minor discomfort, I found to be highly painful. Then it clicked. It all related back to Fear, Tension, Pain syndrome. Because I feared pain and expected it I tensed up. Because I was tense, I felt more pain and that is what they call a self-fulfilling prophesy.
So I thought about how I could combat the fear. In the days before my appointment, I practised what we call in Hypnobirthing ‘reframing’. Every time I thought about the visit and started to feel the rumblings of anxiety, I caught myself. Instead of thinking how painful it would be, I imagined how the sensations would feel. Pressure certainly, scratching perhaps from the tools, extreme cold from the water jets and so on. This helped me to feel less afraid about the visit, but would it be enough?
The day of the visit arrived and admittedly I was still feeling a little nervous at the prospect of it all but I had booked an extra long appointment and I knew I could always have the injections if I needed them.
While I was waiting in the waiting room, I started to practise my birth breathing; taking slow deep breaths into the belly and really focusing on elongating the exhale. This enabled me to stay relaxed and focused throughout the procedure, sending calming signals to my nervous system. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the experience was enjoyable but it was way less traumatic than the previous time and I honestly didn’t even think about pain relief on the day. Thankfully it’s still there for fillings and crowns and all those times when I will really need it!
Whether it’s at the dentist, staying calm before a big job interview or even keeping your cool when the sh*t hits the fan, have a go and see if these techniques can help you. Next up I see if they can help me pass my driving test. Wish me luck!