‘It’s Amazon’s world, we just live in it’. This was the title of a piece on the CNN website in October 2018 by Lydia DePillis.

It talked about how Amazon grew its retail reach by dominating various markets by out-pricing smaller competitors until they folded and were ripe for take-over. Of course, the retail giant can afford to make a loss – a massive loss – for much longer than those competitors can hold out. Undercutting the opposition is an old free market story but the phenomenon of doing it with virtually every commodity you can imagine and doing it globally, is quite new.

Whether you see the global domination of Amazon as a social evil or just an evolutionary consequence of e-commerce in a more integrated world, it seems Amazon and their like are here to stay.

So what does any of that have to do with hypnotherapy, or with the mind-body-spirit relationship? Apart from the therapy-worthy strain it must put on those individuals working in the smaller competitors, there is a lesson to be learned here about adaptation.

Perhaps part of the lesson is that we adapt as people remarkably well, much better than a global retailer even. In fact we adapt so well that our minds as well as our bodies learn to cope with immense change and challenge, especially over the last century.

Have you ever been asked ‘what did we do before mobile phones or computers or the ATM, the internet, satellite navigation or even e-commerce’?’ Life has moved fast in our lifetime and it is not set to slow down. Being creatures of habit and change being the only constant makes for a hostile environment. The mind has a way of focusing on the things we need in order to survive in that world.

Survival can sometimes mean we focus on some things to the exclusion of others: we compartmentalise. As a consequence, and without even noticing, we repress, exaggerate, forget, substitute and ultimately cope. Our subconscious mind takes over to protect us and it does a great job on the whole. Often we cope for a very long time, many years.

However, living in a hostile changing world for so long ultimately creates a creeping ‘battle fatigue’ that we do not even notice because we are such experts at adapting to even those feelings. It is usually when we notice other things not working the way they should, perhaps physically or mentally that the mind starts to cope less efficiently.

Stress leading to overeating, addiction to cigarettes, sugar, alcohol, drugs is a big warning sign that those things the subconscious mind had put into boxes and put to one side are still there and somehow need to be reintroduced to the conscious mind. Perhaps a ‘box’ of loss when we moved school or when someone died in our younger years, we put away to deal with later. As loss becomes a part of adult life – redundancy, divorce, moving home – we might be distracted from it by food or alcohol for example. We form habits around these comforts to compensate for the lack of continuity in our lives: the loss; the change.

When loss and change are so constant, our habits struggle to keep up and eventually create their own changes: put on confidence-sapping levels of weight or drink to the point of losing our friends family and job. These new losses and changes create a vicious cycle until we stop coping altogether.

The way we break that cycle is to thank our subconscious mind for protecting us all those years but to introduce the conscious mind to a new programme of thinking and being. When the world, work, home, family are constantly moving on, we still have an inherent and boundless capacity to adapt and move on with them. If only we knew someone who could help us do that…