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Hypnotherapy and Stress Management

Gavin Blackman

With the run-up to Christmas, people start to feel stressed about a number of issues, for example, seeing relatives, managing finances, and so on. This can have repercussions in the New Year.

What is Stress?

There is no medical definition of stress and healthcare professionals often dis-agree over whether stress is the cause of problems or the result of them. Stress is something everyone feels at times and there are all sorts of stressful situations that form part of everyday Life; stress is basically where the demands placed on you be that at work, in your home life, personal relationships etc exceed your capacity to cope.

The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to help you manage your stress and whatever your personal definition of stress is, it’s likely you can learn to manage your stress better by:

  • Managing external pressures so stressful situations don’t seem to happen to you so often
  • Developing your emotional resilience so you are better at dealing with tough situations when they do happen and you don’t feel quite so stressed – this is where hypnotherapy can help you.

What is the difference between Acute and Chronic stress?

Before looking at how hypnotherapy can help you manage your stress, it is important to distinguish between Acute and Chronic Stress.

Acute stress

I am sure you have experienced a situation where you have had to give a presentation to a public audience or have had to brake quickly in your car or are are just about to sit an exam.  In all those situations it is common for people to feel stressed and for their adrenalin to rise which helps them to focus on the immediate task in hand; this “on the spot” stress type of stress can be good for you because the stress hormones released help your mind and your body deal with the immediate situation.

This reaction stems from our ancestors who when presented with an imminent threat , for example, a charging Mammoth, they needed to decide pretty quickly whether they stay and fight or run away – this is known as the “Flight/Fight” mechanism where your body would immediately make changes to your physiological state to enable you to fight or run away.

When you are in a state of “Acute Stress” you typically feel your heart beat and your breathing becoming quicker, you are  more aware of things around you, you may sweat more and your face may flush.

So let’s compare this short, sharp experience of “Acute Stress” that is an enabler, with that of “Chronic Stress” which is a serious impediment to people leading normal, healthy Lives and where Hypnotherapy can help.

Chronic stress

This is stress resulting from repeated exposure to situations that lead to the release of stress hormones. Your body experiences stressors with such intensity or frequency that your autonomic nervous system does not have sufficient time to to activate your relaxation response on a regular basis.  This means your body remains in a constants state of physiological arousal. This affects virtually all the systems in your body either directly and indirectly and therefore can cause wear and tear on your body. In the example above,  if you brake sharply occasionally eg if an animal unexpectedly runs in front of you, you can typically deal with the short-term stress that you experience….you have that short-term heightened physiological state and then you return to normal. 

However, if you are a bus driver for example, who encounters daily traffic jams, poor drivers etc and the bus driver is constantly braking sharply, this constant daily experience of short-term acute stress can quickly mount-up and multiply and turn into chronic stress. Many scientists think that our stress response system was not designed to be constantly activated. This overuse may contribute to the breakdown of many bodily systems. In fact chronic stress has been linked to: heart disease; height blood pressure; type 2diabetes; high cholesterol; depression.

Symptoms of chronic stress can vary in their severity from one person to the next; however, some common signs are: Constant headaches; trouble sleeping; fatigue; feeling a loss of control; irritability; nervousness; stomach aches; trouble concentrating.

How can Hypnotherapy help?

I will work with you to first understand what exactly you are stressed about and agree with you what positive outcome(s) you want  from working with me using hypnotherapy – please go here to understand how hypnotherapy works.

I can then explain the relevant techniques that will suit you best and we can agree on the way forward ie to agree:

  • The number of sessions you may need or we can just proceed one session at a time – it is entirely up to you
  • Whether or not some self-hypnosis between sessions and/or after the sessions have ended would be beneficial for you
  • Whether or not some additional work between sessions that you can do yourself would help your progress in dealing with your issue(s)
  • Any goals that you would like to set yourself to help you monitor your progress.

Rest assured that by collaborating and working together, we can achieve the positive changes you are looking for.

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