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‘I was terrified to leave the house’: How Aberdeen woman took control of anxiety

Rachael Morrice took matters into her own hands after her anxiety left her confined within her home. Now she helps others in similar situations.

Rachael Morrice found a path to peace after suffering from crippling anxiety.
Rachael Morrice has suffered from crippling anxiety for most of her life but says Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) changed her life. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Too terrified to leave the house, Rachael Morrice knew that if she didn’t take control of her crippling anxiety, it would take over her life.

Never without a beaming smile and a wicked sense of humour, nobody would ever of known that for years Rachael had been experiencing low moods, depressive episodes, overwhelming stress and anxiety.

It was during the coronavirus lockdown when it all came to a head for the 30-year-old from Aberdeen.

Rachael Morrice holds relaxation classes at Breathing Space in Aberdeen’s Huntly Street. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

“My negative thoughts were getting out of control,” says Rachael.

“I would have one negative thought and then that would create another negative thought and another until I had all these thoughts circling around my head.

“At one point I was terrified to leave the house.

“I just thought I can’t keep going like this.”

Wellbeing tools that changed Rachael’s life

Taking matters into her own hands, Rachael started to look for things that eased the way she was feeling, listening to mindful podcasts, meditations and signing herself up for an online event run by the American motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

“I found various things that helped me such as a podcast on the law of attraction and I also did a Tony Robbins online virtual event which helped me to take control of my thoughts and my feelings,” says Rachael.

But it was a course on Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy that changed Rachael’s life.

Rachael Morrice now helps other people who are struggling with stress, anxiety, overwhelm and other mental health issues. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

“NLP looks at our thoughts, how we’re using our thoughts and how these thoughts create feelings in our body,” explains Rachael.

“So if we’re having all these negative thoughts then it’s going to create a negative feeling in the body and that will determine how we’re behaving.

“For example if we’re feeling anxious then we might hide away from people and become a bit disconnected but if we can change the thoughts we can alleviate some of that anxiety and people can start becoming more confident and doing the things they enjoy and not letting anxiety take control.”

Techniques to cope with anxiety, stress and overwhelm

Equipped with new tools to deal with negative thoughts and feelings, life suddenly felt a lot lighter and brighter for Rachael.

“Thanks to the NLP course, I’ve been able to work on myself and find things that help me,” says Rachael.

“For me it’s not about being perfect, it’s not about having perfect mental health because I just think that’s unobtainable.

“It’s about finding tools and techniques to navigate your way through life because there will always be things that come up that make you feel a bit anxious but it’s about finding things that help you deal with those situations.”

Rachael loves helping people to feel relaxed and calmer in what is a chaotic world.  Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

So profound was the impact on Rachael’s life, that she’s now supporting other people who are experiencing anxiety, stress, overwhelm, low self-esteem and lack of motivation.

“I’ve been through times where I’ve felt depressed or anxious so when I’m working with someone I feel I can sympathise with them because I know what it feels like,” says Rachael.

“To work with somebody and give them these tools so they can go on and use them on their own is really nice.

“There’s not really a better feeling than to see them start off anxious and finish as a happier and calmer person, there’s no better feeling than that.”

Hypnosis isn’t like what you see on TV

As well as being an NLP practioner, Rachael also offers hypnosis sessions.

“When you say hypnosis to people, because of what they see on TV and entertainment, they can be quite daunted,” says Rachael.

“But hypnosis is actually just a really natural and relaxed state to be in.

“We all go into hypnotic trances every day, whether that’s driving the same route to work and you don’t really need to think about it or if you’re engrossed in a TV programme and you don’t notice anything around you.

“Hypnosis is the same thing, it’s just a natural state that your mind goes into when it’s relaxed.”

Rachael loves seeing people’s confidence grow. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Eye movement therapy

Anxiety, stress and negative feelings can also be eased by Integral Eye Movement Therapy (IEMT), another technique that Rachael uses.

“It can be used for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” says Rachael.

“It’s a process where the eyes are moved in a certain way and the feeling shifts from that person.

“For example a memory that might be really upsetting for someone when they think about it, we would move the eyes on that memory and they would find that it’s not as painful.”

Determined to help as many people as she can with stress, anxiety and other mental health issues, Rachael also holds a relaxation class at the Breathing Space Studio in Aberdeen’s Huntly Street.

Confidence building workshops

Looking to the near future, Rachael has plans to host confidence building workshops.

“I would like to do more confidence building classes,” says Rachael.

“Growing up I really had no confidence in myself and I found that I would really struggle with things like presentations at college.

“It was only until I started doing NLP and I started using those tools that I became so much more confident so I’d like to share that.”

Wellbeing diary with Rachael Morrice

Rachael plans to host confidence building workshops in the near future. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

What are your top three tips for mental wellbeing? 

1: Surround yourself with people who make you feel good.

2: Only focus on improving one area of your life at any one time to see the best results and avoid overwhelm.

3: Remember you are going at your own pace and that’s okay, don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy.

We’re all leading busy lives, any advice on how we can all slow down? 

Sometimes it’s a case of literally scheduling in time for relaxing in your diary like you would a cinema date! Try new classes, find nice walks, discover new books until you find something that brings you peace.

Are there any other ways you like to switch off and de-stress? 

For me I love being next to water, whether it’s watching the sea from the car with a coffee or finding a nice walk beside a loch, water makes me feel calm.

What wellbeing tools have made the biggest impact on your life and why? 

*Listening to meditation or hypnosis as I fall asleep each night.

*Grounding exercise to bring my mind back into the present – take a moment to notice everything you can hear, see and feel in the present moment.

*Installing a positive inner voice

Can you recommend any wellbeing books/podcasts/apps? 
Book – The Anxiety Antidote by Kamran Bedi.
App – Calm app
Podcast – Law of attraction changed my life.
For more information on Rachael, check out her Instagram page @rachaelmorricecoaching