Dental Fear and Anxiety - Tip 2: Swish

The Swish technique
As well as Dental fear and phobia this is used for a great many purposes by successful people all over the world. It is particularly suitable to help you deal with 'one-off' situations where you need a confidence boost, although there are many other times when it may be useful.
To use it successfully, you need to be wide awake and in a place where you will not be disturbed.
1. Create the CUE picture. Close your eyes. Steady your breathing and relax your body as much as you can for a minute or two. Now create, in your mind's eye, a projector screen, and on it get an image of you what you see when you become frightened of a dental visit. It must be as vivid and sharp as you can make it, filling your whole vision, the colours bright and alive, with you looking just as uncomfortable as you can possibly imagine. Make it seem like an enormous colour slide being projected in your mind, and include anything that will make it more lifelike; other people around you, their expressions, the scenery, listen out for sounds, notice the smells, experience what you are ‘touching’, feel the emotions. When you have that picture vivid enough that it actually makes you squirm, then you've got it right. For now, clear your screen.
2. Create the DESIRED picture. Imagine what you would look like when you have overcome your fear of the dentist, how will you be? Really see a picture of you of how you want to be. Check your facial expression, notice the rhythm of your breathing. You should be looking absolutely as if you truly have just been incredibly successful at your appointment – feeling the feelings really intensely, seeing what you can see, hearing the sounds and noticing any smells or textures. When you get it right, when it makes you feel good, allow yourself to enjoy it for a moment, then imagine it shrinking, becoming smaller and smaller, with the colours becoming less and less pronounced, until you are left with a small black-and-white picture the size of a postage stamp.
3. Pick up the CUE picture, and make sure it fills your entire vision, just as sharp, just as lifelike, just as 'squirm-making' as it was before, but with an important addition. The small, black-and-white SUCCESS picture is tucked into the bottom left-hand corner.
4. When you have that image clearly in your mind, just say to yourself:
'S-W-I-S-H', at the same time changing the pictures over in your mind so that the 'moment of achievement' becomes the large colour picture and the 'moment of anxiety' shrinks to the size of a postage stamp tucked into the bottom left-hand corner, becoming black-and-white as it does so. Speed is important! Change the pictures as quickly as you say ‘S-W-I-S-H’.
5. Enjoy the success picture for a few moments.
6. Think of a pink elephant – actually it doesn’t have to be a pink elephant but you do need to get an unrelated picture in your mind and this usually does the trick.
7. Now get the CUE picture back on your screen and repeat steps 3-6. After three or four attempts the cue picture will begin to fade or break up or have ragged edges. Repeat the sequence until the you simply cannot produce the moment of anxiety picture at all.

When that happens, you have programmed yourself for success, rather than failure. You will find that when you actually get to the event you have been working on, you will feel confident and easy, and able to give of your best as a result. It might all sound rather complicated at first, but you soon get used to it and it is worth persevering with. It is one of the most powerful 'quick-fix' methods in existence.
It is possible to work on this on your own but sometimes it is more effective when working with a trained practitioner.
This can used in other situations too. For an example, driving test fear. The moment of anxiety would be, perhaps, sitting in the car; looking very anxious, perhaps having trouble with the seat belt, the examiner looking stern. The feeling of 'nerves' could be included, too. The moment of achievement could be tearing up the 'L' plates, big smile on the face, congratulations from the examiner, a feeling of excitement and jubilation. Maybe even a congratulatory pat on the back from a friend. In these images, anything goes, as long as they give you absolutely the right feeling, both the anxiety and the jubilation.
The 'swish' technique can help you to excel in exams and other test situations; public speaking; sports performance; other games performance like snooker, darts, bowls, etc.. It can, in fact, help you deal with anything where you can create those two pictures.


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