Almost anyone can benefit from learning how to better manage their emotions. Sometimes this is an easy thing to recognize, but sometimes it takes an extra dose of perspective to bring it to light.
With that in mind, how do you help people you care about become aware of this important idea that can dramatically change their lives? The answer can involve a discussion of two ideas.
Idea 1: Chronic Symptoms Can Be Entangled with Our Emotions
Almost half of Americans have chronic physical symptoms. However, many of us are unaware of how our emotions play an important role in how these symptoms affect our lives. Consider these scenarios:
- The presence of chronic physical symptoms can cause stress that can lead to anxiety or depression. Such psychological disorders can lead to worsening of the symptoms. For example, a patient with inflammatory bowel disease might be afraid that they will develop a terrible stomachache and require many bathroom runs during a trip. This fear can cause them to develop worsening stomach pain, or even cause them to forgo the trip altogether.
- In some patients, stress, depression, or anxiety can lead to the development of physical symptoms. Any health care professional can attest that clinicians’ offices and emergency medical facilities frequently provide care for patients with stress-related extreme headaches, gripping chest pain, nausea, disruptive stomachaches, and many other physical symptoms.
Idea 2: Better Management of Our Emotions Can Be Healing
- Studies have shown that when patients learn to recognize their emotional response and can manage their stress through mental health techniques, including hypnosis, their symptoms usually improve, and sometimes even resolve (Anbar, 2014).
- When healthcare professionals do not address the potential impact of the psychological state on physical symptoms their patients’ recovery is hampered.
Learning to Better Manage Emotions
A question that naturally follows acceptance of these two ideas is: How easy is it to teach people to better manage their emotions? It’s as easy as learning how to use your imagination to help yourself. As described in my book, Changing Children’s Lives with Hypnosis: A Journey to the Center (Anbar, 2021), self-hypnosis can be used to harness the imagination such that some patients gain benefit in as few as 1-2 sessions. Most patients improve within several sessions.
There are many reasons that people may be unaware of or uninterested in learning about the potential benefits of hypnosis. Among them:
- The medical system is usually geared towards treatment of symptoms with pills, and thus many people expect prescriptions of medications for what ails them.
- Many of us do not realize how much the mind can affect the body – both in good and bad ways.
- Sometimes, we do not want to expend the effort to help ourselves by learning to think differently. It often appears easier to just take a pill.
- Hypnosis is a word that carries negative connotations, and thus is not easily considered as a therapeutic psychological tool with great potential to help change lives.
Call to Action
To spread the word about how use of hypnosis can help improve the lives of many individuals, I believe it is important for every provider who uses hypnosis to talk widely about its benefits.
In addition, I challenge every patient who has benefited from hypnosis to talk to their family, friends, teachers, students, physicians, and co-workers about how their health and life outlook improved after learning how to better manage their emotions.
Together, we can help bring about an important change in our society’s approach to health and healing.
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Anbar, Ran D (ed). 2014. “Functional Symptoms in Pediatric Disease: A Clinical Guide.” New York, NY: Springer.
Anbar, Ran D. 2021. “Changing Children’s Lives with Hypnosis: A Journey to the Center.” Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Ran D. Anbar, MD
Ran D. Anbar, MD, FAAP, is board certified in both pediatric pulmonology and general pediatrics, offering hypnosis and counseling services at Center Point Medicine in La Jolla, California, and Syracuse, New York. Dr. Anbar is also a fellow and approved consultant of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
Dr. Anbar is a leader in clinical hypnosis, and his 20 years of experience have allowed him to successfully treat over 5,000 children. He also served as a professor of pediatrics and medicine and the director of pediatric pulmonology at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, for 21 years.