Stressed or anxious? Regain control over your life.
Updated: Sep 4, 2019
Stress and anxiety are prevalent in modern day society. Many of the clients who come to see a hypnotherapist will be suffering from one of these conditions and many can be helped.
Stress is a natural reaction to fear and in small doses, stress can help you to feel motivated and focussed. However, stress becomes problematic when there's too much. Stress that is too intense or prolonged, causes your body to release stress hormones over a long period. These stress hormones increase the risk of a range of physical health problems including headaches, stomach upsets and high blood pressure. It can even increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Commonly, stress leads to psychological problems. It can result in people feeling distrust, anger, anxiety and fear, which in turn can destroy relationships at home and at work. Stress also plays a key role in the development of anxiety disorders and depression. It has been shown that long term stress can have a detrimental effect on a person’s immune system.
Stress is caused by fear and when faced by fears, our subconscious is responsible for our survival. This triggers a fight or flight response in us. In a situation where we were faced with say a dog coming towards us growling, it would be easy to take the ‘flight’ response and get ourselves away from it. However, when faced with a problem in the workplace, it is not possible for us to just run away. In modern society we are faced with pressures and yet little time to relax or to take time out for ourselves. It is normally easy to pinpoint what is causing stress, however, with anxiety, it may not be as easy to be sure of where the cause lies as it may come from any situation in which you feel frustrated, angry or anxious.
There are 6 different categories of stress: Hypo stress is when a person or bored unchallenged and lacking in motivation. Eustress is a positive stress that increases our performance and is short term. Acute stress is felt through physical disturbances and tension and this is the category that we generally define as stress. Episodic acute stress can be damaging as its symptoms are associated with migraines, strokes, hypertension, heart attacks and gastrointestinal disorders. Chronic stress is a serious state that seems to have no end and results in tension and physical disturbances. Traumatic stress is the result of a massive acute stress.
Anxiety is an effect of stress and is also linked to fear, change, worry and apprehension. The way we respond to stress can be inherited from our parents and the type of environment we live in. Anxiety, or a tendency towards it is also inherited. Anxiety is stress that continues after the stressful situation has gone. A person’s subconscious mind stores information about a previous event or series of events that caused them fear. When that person is faced with other situations that produce similar feelings and fear, the subconscious automatically goes into survival mode. For many people, anxiety interferes with normal life. Long term anxiety can lead you to avoid situations that caused this initial feeling.
When treating a client for stress a therapist will first try to establish the cause of the stress. This may not always be possible, but if a client can express the times they feel the most pressure, it may be possible to reduce the things that are causing stress and changing the way the client reacts to these. The use of metaphors can be helpful when dealing with stress and anxiety. For example, the client imagines themselves weighed down by a rucksack which is heavy with stress. That rucksack is then placed into a hot air balloon and then is let go. Anchoring too can also be a useful tool. Many of the negative emotions a client is feeling can be replaced with positive ones. Also much of the treatment for stress will help the client learn how to relax. Clients suffering from stress and anxiety will often have muscle tension and a Progressive Muscle Relaxation can ease these symptoms. It is useful to teach the client relaxation techniques that they can employ themselves after the session has finished.
As stress and anxiety become serious problems in the 21st century, hypnotherapy can help by getting to the root of the cause(s). It will help a client to break free of negative thought patterns and help them to react more confidently and positively to situations that previously caused them stress or made them anxious.