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The hidden secrets behind anxiety

Let’s start with a simple question, what causes anxiety? You may be thinking, that’s not a simple question. When you think of anxiety as a diagnosis and attempt to answer this question, it does feel complex. What does cause anxiety? If you answer this question thinking of anxiety as a human experience, the answer becomes much less complicated. Plenty of things cause anxiety.

You may feel anxiety when..

  • Making a public speech
  • Acting in a play
  • Taking a test
  • Overthinking
  • Going to an interview
  • Trying something new
  • Wondering ‘what if?’
  • Going to a party
  • Meeting friends or family
  • Driving
  • Travelling
  • Moving to a new place
  • Furthering your education

What’re the hidden secrets?

Everyone feels anxiety from time to time, but not everyone feels anxiety for the same reasons. So why is it that you feel anxiety about certain things and not others? Anxiety is like the secret we keep from ourselves. It’s my passion in life to help people be free from anxiety, because it really isn’t the life sentence it used to be. Although it seems a bit alternative, hypnotherapy is hugely effective. You can find out the secret behind your own anxiety and be rid of it for good. I know because it worked for me, and quite frankly, I have a 100% success rate in treating anxiety. I can say that with confidence because, here’s the biggest secret..

Anxiety is a symptom, not a diagnosis

Let’s think about that for a moment. A diagnosis feels like a life sentence, permanent.. just who I am. Not much I can really do about it except maybe suffer or take my meds. This the first of many secrets I’ll be sharing with you, because anxiety really is just a symptom. The real question is, a symptom of what?

Years of experience as a hypnotherapist has taught me, under all our uniqueness and complexity, there are very deep and understandable reasons for someone to hold anxiety. Reasons that, once understood, can cause a major shift in your life and get you completely anxiety free. In this article I will outline some of the real underlying causes I’ve discovered throughout my career, I’ll offer insight as to where it may have started, and show you what you can do to fix it.

What’s causing anxiety?

Not knowing what’s making you feel anxious.

Anxiety can feel complicated when you don’t know where it’s coming from. Often times people believe they’re anxious for no reason, so it’s a bit ironic that a major source of anxiety is in fact, not knowing what’s triggering it. If you’re one of many who have no idea why you’re anxious, you may find yourself saying, “everything makes me anxious” or, “I’m anxious for no reason.” You may have even been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder.

There’s a feeling of safety when you realize that it’s not everything that makes you anxious, it’s ‘something.’ Knowing precisely what that something is, makes it feel tangible, and reasonable, and it makes it make sense. It also helps you put it into words so you can communicate it much easier, not only to others, but to yourself as well. So let’s make it make sense!

I’ve been anxiety free for over 5 years now, and I can tell you, knowing and pinpointing the source of the anxiety can hugely reduce it, and even eliminate it. Before hypnotherapy, I had a pretty good idea why I felt anxious, but after hypnotherapy, I could tell you very clearly exactly what it was. If you’re curious how simply knowing can resolve anxiety, stayed tuned for my future article ‘how understanding can change everything.’

“The RTT session greatly helped me get a handle on my anxiety. The method definitely got to the core of the issue and why the anxiety manifests itself in everyday life. Chelsea is a very talented and understanding therapist and also has a soothing presence that helps you relax and open up.”

Dan M. -Anxiety free

Not prioritizing yourself

One of the underlying reasons for holding onto anxiety is learning to put yourself last, or not treating your needs as if they’re important. In relationships or social situations, you may feel the need to people please, or look after others’ needs. You may also pretend to be happy or hide how you actually feel. This is often to the detriment of your own needs. Deep inside, we may believe that we’re not enough as we are, and begin to prioritize everyone but ourselves.

If you imagine entering a situation, and the thoughts and pictures in your mind center around making everyone else feel comfortable, your comfort gets put on the back burner. This may be the result of growing up in an environment where you were treated as unimportant, had to take care of those around you, or self-sacrificing behaviour was encouraged.

What happens when you start prioritizing yourself and your own needs? It feels easier to say no without feeling guilty. You feel much less anxious, because you’re not trying to look after everyone except yourself. You start to know and feel that your needs matter, and you treat yourself as if your needs matter, which in an interesting way, makes other people treat you better. With hypnotherapy, you can find out where you learned to not prioritize yourself, you can remove that old baggage, and you actually hypnotize yourself to think what you actually want to be thinking.

Trying to predict the outcome

Trying to imagine what will happen next is often our minds way of trying to create a feeling of control, and in turn, predictability and safety. You may notice you have negative thoughts in your mind prior to, and after, new or social situations. Thinking back and wondering if you said the right things, and feeling a general sense of unease. This can feel like a hamster wheel, or a whirling of thoughts. The imagined future often feels like reality, even though what you imagine almost never happens. This also presents as ‘what if’ situations. ‘What if they don’t like me?’ ‘What if I do a terrible job?’

Trying to predict the future, or imagining everything going wrong can be a way of trying to protect yourself. If you can predict it before it happens, then maybe you can avoid it, or at least it might hurt a little bit less. Of course, this isn’t true, and is a fantastic example of how the things we learn in our childhood don’t always make sense for us now as adults. The predictions we attempt to make are based on past experiences rather than the current reality. So why not change that?

Coping mechanisms are not who you are, they have a function and a purpose, and that purpose is generally to keep you safe. To activate that fight, flight, freeze, in order to help you avoid perceived danger. You could say to yourself all day long, ‘I don’t need to feel anxious anymore,’ ‘I can see that I don’t need to try and predict what’s going to happen next.’ It doesn’t work though does it? This is why hypnotherapy is so effective in treating anxiety. You can get the message through directly to the part of your mind that’s sending off the warning signals, and end the anxiety for good.

Working hard for love

This is similar, but not quite the same as not prioritizing yourself, however they do go hand in hand. This coping mechanism can form if you were in a situation where you had to be the parent, or your parents withheld affection unless you acted in the way they wanted. Your caregiver may also have used guilt tactics, didn’t show love without conditions, or was neglectful.

People who believe they have to work hard for love, may also have had people in their lives that had high expectations of them. This may be a parent that pushed them to do well in school, sports, or other aspects of life. This can cause children to learn at some point that they may not be good enough as they are, and need to be ‘better’ in order to get that affection. “If I can’t get their love as I am, there must be something wrong with me, and in order to fix that I must do and be ‘more’ than I am.” Of course, no matter the level of giving or accomplishment, it very rarely feels like enough.

Working hard for love can present as being overly kind, helpful or selfless at the detriment of your own wants and needs. It may be a driving force, pushing someone to do things they don’t want to do, even going so far as to choose a career or partner that they may subconsciously believe will earn them love or approval. Internally instilled is a feeling of not being good enough, or a fear of failing, which in turn can result in anxiety. We all fail sometimes, but to those that have this coping mechanism, to do something they perceive as failure, can feel absolutely detrimental. Failure is not an option, and yet to fail at times is inevitable, and it’s a recipe for anxiety.

Anxious people are oftentimes some of the kindest, most caring, giving, loving, and deep feeling people. When you were younger, it may have been twisted a bit, or used against you, but it can actually be your superpower. You can absolutely use this to your advantage in learning to treat yourself and your own needs as important. You can prioritize yourself, and not feel guilty about it. You could feel confident, feel peace in your mind, make friends and start relationships that you enjoy to the fullest. You may even find that you’re choosing better people to associate with, which in turn will improve your life exponentially.

What if I told you you don’t have to work at it anymore? What if someone told you you’re worthy, loveable and good enough just as you are, and you could actually believe it? I’ll help you find your self worth, to let go of what’s holding you back, to make better choices that benefit you, and to guide you in treating yourself with the love and respect you deserve.

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”

-Pema Chodron


At any age we can feel vulnerable to the words and opinions of others. Our minds are programed to perceive and avoid threats, and as young children, our survival depends on our ability to connect. Situations that cause us to feel bad about ourselves or threaten our sense of safety can result in a very natural desire to avoid it happening again. For example, if someone were to speak in front of the class and be laughed at by everyone, they could learn it’s better not to speak up again. If you were raised by a parent or caregiver that had unpredictable moods, you’d very likely learn every trick in the book to avoid their moods.

If our main focus is on avoiding and placating, we may struggle to communicate effectively, or run from situations where conflict is present. When someone becomes angry or upset, we may try to make the situation calmer, once again, not taking our own feelings into consideration. We learn to avoid conflict at all costs, and this desire to avoid conflict creates feelings of anxiety, and our inability to prevent it creates anxiety as well.

For those of you that recognize avoidance as a possible root to your anxiety, it’s important to note, no longer avoiding conflict doesn’t necessarily mean confrontation. It can simply be, standing up for yourself, saying no, removing yourself from harmful situations, and communicating more effectively.

Effective communication can lead to resolving ongoing disagreements, and ironically, result in less conflict. Standing up for yourself and saying no is often the small, yet major change that attracts people who respect boundaries. It also effectively repels the ones who prefer to take advantage of a persons inability to say no. I’ll help you feel confident, find strength in your inner voice, and guide you in communicating effectively.

Learned helplessness

As children, or really at any point in our lives, we may begin to believe that certain situations are hopeless to us. Children especially, are subject to the will of those around them. They have very limited control over their environment, the situations happening in their lives, and the incidents that happen to them. The belief that’s formed is that there’s nothing we can do, and we get stuck. This can result in a desire for control, trying to avoid similar situations entirely, and not taking actions that would benefit us. Those that experienced helplessness and find themselves in a similar situation may experience panic, bursts of anger or intense anxiety.

Learned helplessness can create looping thoughts, which in turn can form an anxiety that is sometimes hard to place. Looping thoughts can take on an array of different forms such as trust issues, relationship problems, social anxiety, and performance anxiety. Oftentimes, there is something we can do now, however during our developmental years, we couldn’t. So, subconsciously we’re still telling ourselves it’s impossible. Consciously you can try to explain to yourself that this situation isn’t a big deal, but it’s the subconscious that you would need to address, which is precisely what I do to help people.  

I’ll help you process your thoughts and feelings, putting an end to any looping thoughts. You can feel safe, confidently moving forward, feeling calmer and overall happier in your day to day life. If you’re dealing with the after effects of a difficult childhood, having learned that there was no way forward, let’s get you unstuck. With hypnotherapy we can figure out exactly when and where it started, and we can update your mind to your reality. You are an adult now, there is a way forward, there is so much available to you that wasn’t when you were small. So let’s get you feeling better, and resolving unnecessary anxiety.

Keeping score

Those that grew up in an environment where no one was there to help them, may have come to the conclusion they have to do it on their own. It may be that our caregivers were unreliable, used guilt tactics, or when someone did something for us, there was a feeling of expectation. Things were not done out of kindness, but because someone wanted something from you, or could use it against you later. A common example of this would be ‘I feed you, and put a roof over your head, and this is how you repay me?’ Nothing was given freely, or there were ulterior motives behind seemingly simple or good deeds.

This can present as never accepting things from others, or having to make sure you do more for them than they do for you. If you have this coping mechanism you may struggle to accept gifts, or feel uncomfortable if someone were to do something nice for you. Even in dire situations it may feel like a last resort to ask for assistance, or it may not feel like an option at all. This discomfort in accepting help can cause us to feel anxious when we’re in a position to accept something, and anxious to avoid those situations all together. You may feel the need to escape reality, isolate yourself, display signs of hyper-independence, and make sure the ‘score’ is even or balanced in your favour at all times. If someone were to unbalance the score, unsurprisingly, you just might feel anxiety or panic.

What happens when people let go of the score card is, life gets a heck of a lot easier, and your happiness increases tenfold. Doing nice things for others just for the sake of helping feels good, it strengthens bonds, it’s part of our human ways. We’re social creatures, and there is joy in a good deed, big or small, given or received. People enjoy helping you as well, and if they don’t, let’s get you picking better people. It’s a lot less stressful not having to keep score, and it’s a lot less stressful having help when you need it. You may not believe it yet, but I can help you believe it. Because if you have this coping mechanism, it is not serving you. It’s pushing away kind people who enjoy helping, and it’s likely attracting people who take advantage of people who don’t ask for anything in return.

Keeping score likely kept you safe once upon a time, but the reality now is, you don’t have to do that anymore. You could feel safe, you could create meaningful relationships with genuinely good people, you could accept the kindness of others and take a huge weight off of your shoulders. I can guide you in feeling ready to let this defense mechanism go, and in turn, let of the anxiety right along with it.

I have to do it myself

If you grew up in a neglectful home, or you didn’t have people in your life you could consistently rely on, you may have come to the conclusion, the only person you can rely on is yourself. As much as we’d like to be able to do everything on our own as children.. we can’t. Yet this is what we’ve realized we need to do to feel safe, so here’s an anxiety inducing looping thought I’ve seen a lot. “I have to do it myself, I can’t.. what can I do? Nothing. I’m helpless! How do I stop feeling helpless? I do it myself, I don’t rely on others.”

Believing you need to do everything on your own creates so much stress!! It creates a need for control, hyper-independence, harmful looping thoughts, loss of energy, emotional distancing, and of course.. anxiety. It’s another coping mechanism, and it’s function is often designed to avoid let down, hurt, or vulnerability. You may have the desire to keep score as stated above, and it may also result in feeling that other people are not safe. Subconsciously you may be telling yourself, others might hurt you, so it’s better to distance yourself or avoid connecting with people.

You may refuse to rely on others, always need an ‘escape route,’ and never put yourself in a position where someone could have any control over you or your situation. You may not bother to ask for help or assistance even if you need it, because there is safety and consistency in doing it yourself. Avoiding relying others, or being vulnerable to them may cause intense anxiety, if/when you do find yourself in that position.

Letting go of this coping mechanism has seen huge results for my clients. They’ve reported having way more energy, getting along better with their friends and family, feeling more confident, and feeling more like their old selves. I had one client who was anxious about going to college, and this was the coping mechanism that was holding them back. They had all sorts of thoughts and feelings surrounding making friends, and what that would look like. After 2 sessions with me, guess who’s confidently enjoying their college life? So, why stay anxious when you don’t have to? If you take the leap, you’re going to feel incredible, and you’re going to wish you did it sooner.

“When everything is uncertain and there is little you can control, you can always control your thoughts. Your thoughts control your feelings, your feelings control your actions and your actions control your events.”

-Marisa Peer


This is at the core of a lot of anxiety. When we feel out of control, we seek to find control in any way we can. Setting limitations and rules, developing routines, and excessive questioning are a few examples. Often times this is a defense mechanism put in place to prevent bad experiences from happening again. The issue lies in that with anxiety, we see the world through a kind of anxiety lens, so we are finding threats where there are none and attempting to pick apart every aspect of something in order to make sure it really isn’t a threat. However, due to the anxiety, the questioning tends to go in the direction of proving it is a threat, rather than that it isn’t.

When the desire to feel control reveals itself in excessive questioning or rule setting, friends or partners may perceive this as trying to control them. However, the subconscious desire isn’t to control others, it’s to feel in control of what’s going on inside. ‘I feel out of control, that doesn’t feel safe, so I’ll try to find control. It’s not working, I feel anxious, I’ll try to find control again in any way I can.’ More often than not, the way we try to find control makes us feel even more out of control, because the reality is, the only thing we really have control over is our own thoughts.

So where is the need for control coming from? What’s going on in your mind that’s telling you control is going to keep you safe? Hypnotherapy can help you find the answers to these questions, and in turn, eliminate anxiety. When you allow yourself to let go of the need for control, you may find yourself feeling more relaxed, calm, and surprisingly healthier. People who have control as a safety mechanism carry a lot of tension in various part of their body, the more common places being the forehead, jaw, shoulders neck and back. Letting go of the anxiety and need for control, means letting go of the tension as well, so you may find you not only feel lighter and calmer, your aches and pains just might fade away too.

Fear that happiness will be taken away

This is something I’ve experienced for myself, and can be the very root of anxiety. Many people pursue happiness as if it’s a goal. Smiling, laughing and enjoying yourself is a wonderful thing, but it’s not a goal to be obtained, it’s a feeling. An emotion. Just like any of the other more negative emotions, we may subconsciously desire to repress it. This can happen to someone who was at a high point in their lives, and happiness was abruptly taken away. Often times the belief is that, if I become too happy, it will hurt even more if something bad were to happen again. This can result in an emotional limiter being put in place on our happiness. This may cause someone to struggle to form connections with others, have deep friendships, or feel deeply in their relationships.

Someone who has put a damper on their ability to feel happiness may experience anxiousness when an opportunity arises to connect or feel deeply. They may withdraw, or attempt to find deceit and mistrust when there is none. What is often times happening in our subconscious, is that we don’t want to experience that same hurt again. It’s a natural human desire to connect, and yet that natural desire is being dampened by our fear of being hurt. This disconnect can result in anxious feelings, looping thoughts, depression and numbness.

Believing we can avoid getting hurt by not allowing ourselves to be happy is another way we try to find control where there is none. It’s a belief and coping mechanism that absolutely doesn’t work. It’s likely the only option that was available at the time to help cope, but it’s certainly not helping anymore. Unsurprisingly, when you remove a happiness block, you become happier. The sky becomes bluer, the world looks clearer, you notice beautiful things more often, you laugh and you feel deeper. You can begin to feel genuine deep affection for people you care about. Hypnotherapy resolves past feelings from past issues, and makes it feel safe enough to let go of unhelpful belief systems.

You could be free from anxiety

Those are some of the reasons, but what are the solutions? You may be one of many that’s tried nearly everything. Talking about it, trying to convince yourself it’s not a big deal.. medication, exercise, diets.. but what about resolving the feeling entirely? Wouldn’t that be amazing? To enter situations feeling confident, to get up on stage and speak clearly, talk to family and friends and feel good.. connecting deeply with others, telling people how you really feel, and being who you really are. All of this is absolutely available to you. The award winning RTT method has helped millions of people release anxiety for good. Hypnotherapy doesn’t just help you cope with the feelings, it helps you resolve them entirely, so you can start living your life the way you want to.

Anxiety takes away so much.. so why keep living with it when you don’t have to?

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