Anxiety disorders are very common and prevalence rates are on the rise. One survey in the UK found 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form of ‘neurotic health problem’ in the previous week.

Therefore it’s a great pleasure to be juicing with the amazing Chloe Brotheridge, hypnotherapist, anxiety expert and author of The Anxiety Solution: a Quieter Mind, a Calmer You. You can also get a FREE relaxation MP3 when you visit www.calmer-you.com/free.

We’re chatting about the difference between normal anxiety with a little ‘a’ and Anxiety the mental health issues with a capital ‘A’, anxieties around food, hypnotherapy and advice Chloe might have given to her former self.

 

So Chloe, I always start off with this question, you can invite 4 other people to dinner and they can be real, fictional, dead or alive, who would they be?

Nice question! I would go for two of my favourite spiritual teachers, Byron Katie and Wayne Dyer, the poet Rumi and my Nana.

Chloe, you specialise in help for anxiety something that I don’t think any of us are immune from. As the expert, do you think anxiety has always been around or that it’s just become more acceptable to talk about?

Anxiety is a normal human emotion. It’s normal to feel anxious if a loved one is critically unwell, or before a job interview. However, it’s not normal to be worried about everything or to find it impossible to relax and switch off.

I feel like while lots of us have anxiety about certain things, there’s a broad spectrum between everyday worries and more serious anxiety attacks. Do you think the term has been co-opted in anyway?

Anxiety is a mental disorder that should be diagnosed by a doctor. It’s normal to feel worried or nervous from time to time, but a more serious anxiety disorder could mean that you worry most days, struggle to sleep, have stomach issues or your heart frequently races for no reason. It’s the difference between normal anxiety with a little ‘a’ and Anxiety the mental health issues with a capital ‘A’. I don’t think it’s been co-opted, but it’s good to know the distinction.

What do you think are the biggest causes of anxiety in our day and age?

Anxiety is caused by a number of factors, such as your genetics, your upbringing and whether you’ve experienced traumatic events in your life. These things are compounded by the stresses and pressures of modern life; we don’t often switch off, we expect ourselves to be able to do it all (and look good doing it), and resting isn’t valued as highly as being productive. When we push ourselves too hard and don’t take care of ourselves, we are more prone to anxiety.

I talk a lot about eating disorders of which food anxiety is a big component. I was just wondering if you had any tips for people whom are perhaps in recovery for how to deal with this type of anxiety around eating?

Firstly get some professional help to address this; you don’t have to struggle alone. I aim to tell my clients to ‘eat like you love yourself’. That might mean eating a brownie on one day, or a salad the next but it’s about trying to treat your body with as much love as you can, being kind to yourself and aiming to eat slowly and mindfully. I follow the work of Mel Wells and Laura Thomas Phd for advice on this.

Having overcome your own anxiety, what advice would you give to your former self?

Oh, lots! I’d reassure her that everything was going to be just fine and that she can trust herself and not worry so much. I’d also tell her that she has nothing to be ashamed of, she’s totally ‘normal’, and anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of.

I’m super interested in hypnotherapy. How did you get into this method of therapy?

I met a hypnotherapist when I was 13, and it struck me as an interesting job. I listened to some hypnotherapy MP3’s for anxiety and confidence in my early 20’s and found them very effective. Previously, I was working as a nutritionist in the NHS, but I wanted to help people with their stress and self-esteem issues as it seemed to underpin a lot of the issues I was seeing as a nutritionist. I love my job and feel so lucky to be able to do the work I do.

What kind of conditions is hypnotherapy helpful for?

It can help for almost anything to do with how you think, feel and behave. There’s also interesting evidence that it can aid things like wound healing and nausea! However, I just see clients for anxiety, self-esteem and public speaking.

What kinds of things to you include in your daily routine to promote calm and for your mental and physical health?

I work for myself, so I always try and get out and about every day, rather than just sitting alone at home at my laptop in my PJs! I start every day with 20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation, I lift weights with a trainer and if I’m feeling overwhelmed I’ll write down my thoughts and feelings and it always helps.

Lastly, what would be your last meal on earth?

Pasta Pomodoro followed by Tiramisu – preferably in Tuscany!

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