How to deal with stress
Hypnotherapy is incredibly helpful if you're suffering from stress. Most of my clients are stressed to a certain degree because when we’re going through emotional pain and mental anguish, stress is undoubtedly going to be a bi-product! Hypnotherapy not only is great for de-stressing but it’s also a fantastic way to teach people how to relax. For those who genuinely don’t know how to relax, hypnotherapy can show you how by using a step-by-step technique that is easy to follow and to understand.
Stress is normal, everyone has the ability to feel stress because it’s linked to our “fight or flight” response that has been keeping us alive for thousands of years.
The ability to deal with stress is partly genetic and partly environmental. In some situations, stress can motivate us, eg: Eustress is short-term stress that motivates us and increases performance. A salesperson selling on deadline may book the best deal of their life under eustress. However, constant stress over a long period of time can lead to chronic stress, which is a very serious condition as it has physical symptoms as well as psychological ones, and it can lead to further physical problems. Stress can also lead to anxiety as anxiety can lead to stress because they are both connected to the fight or flight response that aims to ensure our safety.
Some of the physical symptoms of stress include headaches, nausea, aching muscles, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and high blood pressure. Emotional symptoms include moodiness, irritability or short temper, agitation, inability to relax, feeling overwhelmed, and general unhappiness. Cognitive symptoms include memory problems, worrying lots and an inability to concentrate. Behavioural symptoms include a change in sleeping pattern, developing a self-defeating behaviour like excessive drinking, procrastinating and nervous habits like nail biting or pacing. There are many, many more symptoms, too many to list here!
How can hypnotherapy help with stress?
In my opinion the best way to treat stress is to learn how to relax, however, there may be underlying issues as to what is causing the stress so I help my clients to deal with those in the long term. Being unable to relax could exacerbate the physical and mental symptoms of stress. Remember that whilst you may not be able to change your world, you can change your reaction to it. A relaxed person will respond to a stressful situation very differently to an already stressed person, and there will be more room in the calm person’s conscious to deal with the situation because they’re not already worrying about twenty other things at the same time!
Hypnotherapy is so effective at treating stress. When teaching relaxation it may include a PMR (progressive muscle relaxation – relaxing your body one part at a time) and then a deepener (to relax the mind, usually imagining going down some stairs into deep relaxation is an effective way of inducing a trance but more specific deepeners can be produced).
Here is an example of an exercise you can try at home if you're feeling stressed and want to learn to relax:
PMR: Imagine the top of your head, and then imagine a relaxing colour. This relaxing colour makes you feel so relaxed, so you can feel the top of your head relaxing. The top of your head feels different now because it's so relaxed. Now, imagine this relaxing colour spread down your face to your nose. As this relaxing colour moves down your face you can feel the muscles relaxing. I don't know what that relaxed sensation feels like to you, but you identify this feeling that your relaxing colour generates as being calm and relaxed.
Imagine this relaxing colour move down your body, as it reaches your neck, your shoulders, your arms, your torso, your back, your hips, your legs and your feet - each part of your body feels more and more relaxed. As as you are immersed in this relaxing colour, imagine you are absorbing this relaxing colour feeling more and more relaxed. The more you absorb your relaxing colour, the more calm and relaxed you feel. So you feel more calm and relaxed than you have ever felt before.
And whenever you remember this relaxing colour, you will remember this wonderful feeling of relaxation. And you can remember this colour whenever you need to. This colour generates this feeling of relaxation. This is your relaxing colour, and you can remember it and feel so calm and relaxed whenever you need to.
The results I’ve seen from using hypnotherapy to treat stress has been phenomenal. Just from having hypnotherapy sessions once per week where the client can completely relax and get away from any stress they may be feeling has resulted in clients feeling happier, more stable, able to cope better with life with a much more positive mindset and they’re a lot, lot calmer! Another feature of stress is that when we’re really feeling it everything can seem worse, like the world is against us, therefore dealing with stress really can make life seem much better!
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About Jenny Hartill
Jenny owns Cloud9 Therapy and Chelmsford Therapy Rooms and is based in Chelmsford, Essex. She's been in private practice for 8 years and can help with a variety of issues but specialises in self-esteem and anxiety. She offers a confidential, friendly, safe space for clients to explore and deal with their issues. Call or email with any questions!… Read more
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