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  • Robert Farago

How to Remove Anxiety with Hypnosis

What is anxiety? According to BardAI – itself the subject of considerable consternation – anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease.” Nope. Worry isn’t a feeling. Worry is the mental process that creates the feeling known as anxiety. Symptoms include:

Rapid heartbeat


Shaking (muscle fatigue)

Feeling weak or tired

Difficulty concentrating

Difficulty sleeping


What you’re looking at is nothing more or less than the fight or flight response. In other words, an autonomic reaction to perceived danger, preparing an individual for battle. Like, say, confronting a hungry lion.

A surge of adrenalin sharpens your senses. Your heart races, superheating your blood. It rushes out to your major muscles, tightening them for battle. Your blood vessels dilate, releasing heat, causing you to sweat. At the same time, adrenalin reduces blood flow to the skin (to reduce bleeding).

An extended fight or flight response creates the last four symptoms on the list. Too much adrenalin tires you out. You can’t concentrate of anything other than danger. Sleep equals death. Adrenalin reduces blood flow to your digestive system, causing stomach discomfort.

Hungry Lions Need Not Apply

Hang on, people suffering from anxiety aren’t facing hungry lions. Anxiety (a.k.a., the fight or flight response) is triggered by work deadlines, academic tests, traffic, dating, parents, being late to a meeting, public speaking – a whole host of non-life threatening challenges.

Actually, they are life threatening.

Humans are pack animals. We do everything in packs. Our status within a pack, within hundreds of packs, determines our ability to obtain the resources we need to survive and thrive. Our mate, children and relatives’ survival depends our status, too.

Yeah, it’s that important. And that powerful.

Unless you’re supremely relaxed about your romantic prospects, a part of your mind regards dating as life-threatening danger. Unless you’re supremely relaxed about your ability to make a presentation to a large group, a part of your mind regards public speaking as life-threatening danger.

Confidence is – and isn’t – the key

Notice I said, relaxed, not confident. I’ll get to that. But first know this: your subconscious controls your fight or flight response. It doesn’t think. It doesn’t reason. It reacts.

Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between “real” danger, like a hungry lion, and imaginary danger, like a scary movie. In fact, worry always means thinking negatively about an imaginary danger.

Anxious about anxiety?

Your nightmare could happen, but it hasn’t happened yet, has it?

Yes, but it could.

Yes, but it might not.

But it could.

OK, but why worry about it?

Because it could happen.

But if you worry too much, you won’t enjoy yourself if it doesn’t happen. You might even make it happen.

Thanks. Now I’m really worried.

This “conversation” raises a subtle but important point about “good” worry vs. “bad” worry. Anxiety vs.… what?

Let’s say a soldier is about to attack an enemy. To be fully prepared, he’s got to imagine some nasty outcomes. Is that worry? If his thoughts about as-yet-realized disaster trigger his fight or flight response, is he suffering from anxiety?

I say no. I define anxiety the same way I define a phobia. It’s an inappropriate fight or flight response. The challenge doesn’t merit a full-on fight or flight response.

A sufferer may not agree. They may not want their anxiety, but they may believe they need to think negatively. To thrive. To survive. Conversely, they may consider positive thoughts dangerous delusions.

The longest journey starts with a single step

Getting the sufferer to buy-in to change is the first step to treating anxiety. That may require reframing their condition.

They need to understand that it’s OK to think negatively. But they also have to counter those thoughts with positive thoughts. To the point where they don’t think anymore.

They contemplate both negative and positive possibilities, clear their mind, do their best and… see what happens.

That’s why I don’t use the word “confident” to describe the attitude needed to overcome anxiety. The operative goal: relaxed.

Without hypnosis, this methodology is called cognitive therapy. You learn to think your way out of the condition. To turn off the subconscious stimulus → response pattern.

Cognitive therapy can work, but its success is limited, for one simple reason: the subconscious is stronger than the conscious mind.

The subconscious is programmed to react to a mental stimulus with a fight or flight response. “Talking yourself out of it” doesn’t work. If it did, people would do it, and I wouldn’t be writing this post.

Curing anxiety

Let’s not worry how your subconscious mind was programmed to worry about shit you shouldn’t be anxious about. Let’s look at the two most effective ways you can reduce or eliminate anxiety: desensitization and hypnosis.


Fight enough lions and you won’t be anxious about fighting lions. OK, maybe not lions. But public speaking? Sure. It’s a slow process – often combined with cognitive therapy – but your subconscious will eventually get the message.

Desensitization can be effective, but it’s never pleasant. Very few people have the motivation, courage or stamina to confront their anxiety-producing stimulus enough times to conquer it - especially if there are multiple anxiety-producing stimuli. Avoidance is way easier.


So is hypnosis. That said, the technique isn’t for everyone; some people aren’t hypnotic. Luckily, testing someone’s hypnotizability is quick and easy (How to Hypnotize Someone With a Pocket Watch). If they’re not hypnotic, see above.

If they are, master your hypnotic voice (The Hypnotic Voice) and practice my hypnotic induction (Robert Farago's Full Hypnotic Script). That script has a hole in it (“therapy goes here”). Insert this script where indicated slowly:

Before you do, identify the anxiety-causing stimuli. Exactly what triggers it. What, where, when and how it’s experienced. You’ll use the intel below.

Don’t settle for “I feel anxious all the time.” (“Free floating anxiety” my ass.) If there are multiple stimuli, identify them all. Knock ‘em out one at a time.

Hypnotic script to reduce or eliminate anxiety

The key to your success is confidence… Confidence in the power of your own mind… The power of your own thoughts… Your thoughts determine how you feel. How you feel determines what you can and can not do. Your mind is powerful. There is nothing more powerful than your thoughts. You can see both the dangers and rewards of everything you do. You are in control of your thoughts. Of your own mind. From this moment on, you will use your mind in a new and more powerful way. You will see both the dangers and the rewards of whatever it is you do, whatever it is you don’t do. From this moment on, your mind will be aware of both the dangers and the rewards of whatever it is you do and whatever it is you don’t do. You will see the dangers and rewards clearly, without unnecessary anxiety. Without stress. Without fear. Because you are not in control of what happens. You are only in control of what you think about what happens. That is all. Nothing more. Nothing less. From this moment on, you will think about what you are going to do, do your best and see what happens. You will be able to XXXX feeling calm, confident and relaxed. Calm, confident and relaxed. Calm, confident and relaxed. You will be mentally prepared. You will accept, learn from and understand anything that happens as a result. You will be calm, confident and relaxed whenever you XXXX. No matter what. Before I count to five, imagine doing whatever it is you want to do, doing it as you are now, as you will be, calm, confident and relaxed. Imagine yourself doing it now.

Remain silent for at least one minute, then wake them up as per the induction script. Ask them to walk you through their imaginary experience. Ask lots of questions. What were you wearing? How did you look? Was anyone there? Who? How did it go? Be happy for them, as if it really happened.

If the “creative visualization” had a positive imaginary outcome – as it invariably will – great! Pause, silently, then back into hypnosis (just tell them to close their eyes). Read this script.

In a moment’s time, I’m going to ask you to imagine the same situation where you’re doing your best, feeling calm, confident and relaxed. This time I want you to imagine that the result is not what you want. See yourself dealing with the result in the same way. Calm confident and relaxed. Imagine it… now.

Again, debrief, this time briefly. “See? That wasn’t so bad. What did you learn from that experience?” Then ask them when they’re going to confront the anxiety-producing stimuli. Tell them to text you with the result. Wash, rinse and repeat if necessary.

Final Thoughts

In Dune, Frank Herbert tells us “fear is the mind killer.” Close! Worry is the mind killer.

Worry creates fear. Worry makes it difficult if not impossible to perform at your best. It can lead to analysis paralysis. It can destroy mental and physical heath. It can make someone suicidal. And it can be cured.

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