Defeating the siege mentality
I was Reading over the New Year holiday how the business community are describing a new ‘siege’ mentality in consumers, cowering behind their walls and not engaging, experiencing or spending. I reflected on how this is playing out in my Melbourne Hypnotherapy practice, and it reminds me when you scare people enough, they learn fear.
What do I mean by this?
Considering the stories in the news every day, is it any wonder we have a heightened sense of ‘fear’ and intolerance for ‘risk’? Our brains are not designed to process the almost intangible magnitudes of risk we are presented with every day: what is the difference between 36 in 10,000 chance of something happening and a 30% increase in risk from something with a 250 in a million chance in happening? It is not realistic to calculate such risks, so we lump them all as ‘risky’. This means we take stories in the news about highly improbable, highly impactful events and magnify our perception of them.
Day after day our brains receive stories about extremely rare events from around the world – and little about the true risks in our own neighbourhood. We discount the familiar risks of speeding, crossing a road, working with tools, yet we magnify the minimal risk if sharks, snakes and terrorism.
Is it any wonder I see so much underlying anxiety in my Melbourne Hypnotherapy clinic? Clients are ‘taught’ fear every day. They create a view of the future in which intangible risks are made and held as real. Their worst fears are projected into the future and held as true, so that somehow they can ‘prepare’ themselves for the worst.
No one can control or predict the future. Projecting a strong negative expectancy and hopeless, stable future orientation leads to a ‘siege’ mentality. Huddling in the present, projecting our worst fears into the future and protecting ourselves from the improbable….doesn’t really sound like living well, does it?
So, how do we ‘break the siege’? In clinical hypnotherapy, I would utilise a highly personalised approach, but some ‘common themes’ for dealing with this underlying anxiety may include to invite you to consider the future as something which is not fixed. I might test how often your negative projections come true. I may get you to really, logically examine the risks that lie ahead and what you would do about them. I would consider connecting you with all of your successes in navigating life, risks and challenges. I would consider building optimistic, realistic goals and a sense of positive striving.
I may even ask you to turn off the TV, and not read the newspaper. Connect with your local community and see the world outside your front door, rather than the world from 50,000 metres.
As Abraham Lincoln once said: “The best way to predict the future is to create it”.