Whilst the recent lockdowns were meant to keep Australians safe at home and prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19, they have also created a great deal of stress and anxiety. A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found a deterioration in the mental health of Australians, particularly between the ages of 18 to 45 years, during the first year of the pandemic.
They also found that some people exercised more, whilst others did less; some people drank more, whilst others drank less than before the pandemic. So the lockdowns have helped some people reduce their bad habits, whilst for others, these habits have increased. It’s all to do with your coping mechanisms in times of stress.
Repetitive lockdowns have meant that families and children have been kept at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Schools were closed so parents needed to keep their children occupied inside their homes for weeks on end and many parents needed to juggle working from home with homeschooling their children.
Everyone worried about losing their income while bills still needed to be paid and food put on the table. Then there’s the worry about the health of elderly relatives due to the rapid transmission of COVID-19 and the isolation from friends and family, often resulting in frustration, boredom, stress and anxiety, all adding up to a very traumatic and demanding situation.
We have all experienced some stress and anxiety due to the lockdowns, but it’s how you cope with these stresses that can have both short and long term effects on your health. That’s because much of the stresses you feel are actually indirect effects of the pandemic. So whilst they are not a direct result of the COVID-19 virus itself, they can still have detrimental consequences on your health and wellbeing.
How do you cope with stress?
Prior to the pandemic, you might have coped with the daily stresses of life by going for a drink with colleagues or friends after work. You might have popped into the gym on the way home or been an active jogger, cyclist or runner. You might have played golf on the weekend to destress or met up with family and friends on the weekend over a BBQ?
Some people enjoy going out on their boat fishing with friends, playing footy or attending the theatres or cinemas. You might have gone to your local club, playing the pokies, meeting friends and having a drink. You might also like to spend a few hours with close friends putting the world to rights over your favourite coffee.
These are some of the ways we cope with life because we are social creatures and enjoy meeting new people and experiencing social activities with family and friends. The problem is when our coping mechanisms have a negative effect on our lives.
As an example of how people cope with stress, a recent European study found that the COVID-19 lockdowns created both negative and positive dietary practices. Just looking at the negative results, we see that poor dietary habits during lockdowns led to weight gain, reduced physical activity and mental health issues, which if not corrected may have significant long term impacts on people’s health.
So maybe it’s just an extra glass of wine in the evening that has helped you cope with the lockdowns? Maybe comfort eating and lots of sugary foods? Then there’s the extra time spent on social media or online gambling sites, staying up late and sleeping half the day away. Whatever way you have chosen to reduce your stress, boredom or anxiety during the lockdowns, now it’s time to get rid of these destructive habits and start to get your life back on track.
You know that these bad habits aren’t healthy and can only lead to even more stress and anxiety, but sometimes it’s hard to let go. They have kept you sane during the lockdowns, so how can you give them up now?
What you need to remember is that many people have actually adopted good habits during the lockdowns, improving their diet, exercising, not drinking and not going to clubs or the pokies. You can achieve these same results if you take back control of your life and learn more suitable coping mechanisms.
What are habits?
Habits are behaviours that are regularly repeated and usually occur subconsciously. In fact, you might not be aware of many of your habits, such as scratching an ear when stressed, biting your nails when nervous, chewing the end of a pencil, twisting your hair or licking your lips.
Habits have a specific trigger, such as an emotional state, location, specific thought or behaviour that triggers an automatic and subconscious response. Often, the result of your habit is a feeling of relaxation or reduction in stress, which is why you repeat the action when the trigger occurs.
There are good habits and damaging habits, but it’s the latter that you want to change because they jeopardise your health, wellbeing, mental state, even your financial status, work-life, relationships and much more. Unhealthy habits waste your time and energy but can be difficult to curtail. In fact, your bad habits help you deal with difficult situations, so if you eliminate them – how will you cope?
Negative habits provide some type of benefit to you, so eliminating these habits without replacing them with something better generally doesn’t work. For example, few smokers can go cold turkey and stop smoking overnight. They smoke for a reason and it’s usually to deal with stress, so stopping smoking without providing another workable solution for dealing with this stress isn’t often successful.
This is where hypnotherapy comes into the picture because hypnosis can help you change your life and adopt healthy habits rather than unhealthy habits that negatively impact your future. You need to replace damaging habits with positive habits because trying to eliminate them without providing a better alternative often leads to failure.
How can hypnotherapy banish bad habits?
Hypnotherapy is a safe and proven therapy for ridding yourself of bad habits. It’s ideal for helping you get your life back on track after the COVID-19 lockdowns and turning all the negatives back into positives.
Whether you want help with weight loss and improving your diet, controlling your intake of alcohol, eliminating your gambling habit or you just want help with managing your anxieties – hypnosis can help with motivation and goal setting, as well as life coaching assistance for a healthy lifestyle.
Your unhealthy habits have formed to help you manage the stresses in your life, overcome your anxieties and help you relax. Poor eating habits, comfort eating, smoking, gambling and even the abuse of drugs are all strategies people use to relax and reduce their stress. The addition of lockdowns has not only exacerbated these stresses but also pushed many people into a more sedentary lifestyle with little or no exercise.
If you are someone who needs to push yourself to exercise and eat properly, then the lockdowns may have taken away your routines and led you down a slippery path towards boredom, inactivity and idleness. Additional time on your hands along with boredom might have led you to gamble or spend too much time on social media. Hypnosis can be used to reset your goals, motivate you and take back control of your life by directly speaking to your subconscious, bypassing your conscious mind.
It’s your conscious mind that decides to take an action, even if it’s the wrong thing to do (such as avoiding exercise, gambling or eating all the donuts in a pack of six) despite knowing that the actions are harmful in some way. Using hypnosis, we can bypass your conscious mind and give you more control over your bad habits. With the help of your subconscious mind, you can develop better habits and coping mechanisms to deal with your stress or anxieties.
Developing better-coping strategies
It’s all about developing positive coping strategies by providing your subconscious mind with alternative behaviours, instead of the negative habits that have taken root. Hypnotherapy is a highly successful tool for breaking bad habits and helping you deal with stress in a more productive way.
The key is to replace negative habits with good habits, but that’s often easier said than done, particularly for many people. It’s easy to tell someone to avoid situations that trigger negative habits or to simply substitute them with good habits, but without any other help, this approach isn’t often successful.
That’s where hypnotherapy can help because it addresses the underlying problems, rather than the habits themselves. So we work from the ground up, rather than the top down. This means that we help you replace unhealthy habits with good habits by influencing your subconscious mind to prompt better responses to the underlying triggers.
We all know that the mind is a powerful tool, but sometimes it can get us into an awful lot of trouble! To break free of your bad habits you need to change your subconscious mind’s response to specific triggers, it’s only then that you will feel more in control of your life.
For more information on using hypnotherapy to help banish your bad habits or to make an appointment for a consultation, call Skye now on 0402 006 985 today.