Reducing stress: by Dublin based hypnotherapist Ailish McGrath.
Does this sound familiar?
- You wake up at 6 a.m. to get all of the children dressed, pack their lunches and then load everyone into the car. You buckle safety belts; drop your 8 year old to primary school, and the little one to the crèche.
- You get stuck in a major traffic jam and are late for work. After a telling off from the boss, you get a call to say your child has been sick and needs to be collected.
- How would you like to be able to handle all your everyday stresses with ease?…. Interested?…..then read on..
The evolutionary reason for stress and how Hypnotherapy can help.
The stress response is associated with ingrained and immediate reactions of which we have no control that were originally designed to be beneficial, such as:
- Heart rate and blood pressure soar to increase the flow of blood to the brain in order to improve decision-making
- Blood sugar rises to furnish more fuel for energy (to run away or fight) as the result of the breakdown of glycogen, fat, and protein stores
- Blood is shunted away from the gut, where it is not immediately needed for purposes of digestion, to the large muscles of the arms and legs to provide more strength in combat or greater speed in getting away from a scene of potential pearl
- Clotting occurs more quickly to prevent blood loss from lacerations or internal haemorrhage
These and a myriad of other immediate and automatic responses have been exquisitely honed over the lengthy course of human evolution as life-saving measures to facilitate primitive man’s ability to deal with physical challenges.
The effects of chronic stress in modern times…
You are more than aware of how stress feels, but do you know how astoundingly destructive chronic stress is to your health?
According to studies at the National Institutes of Health approximately 90% of all illnesses – mental and physical – are caused or aggravated by stress.
Contemporary stress tends to be more pervasive, persistent and insidious because it stems primarily from psychological rather than physical threats.
The nature of stress for a modern man is not an occasional confrontation with an animal or a hostile warrior, but rather a host of emotional threats like getting stuck in traffic and fights with customers, co-workers and family members that often occur several times a day.
Unfortunately, our bodies still react with the same archaic fight or flight response that is now potentially damaging and deadly. Repeatedly invoked it contributes to hypertension, strokes, heart disease, diabetes, ulcers, neck and low back pain and other ‘diseases of civilisation’.
Dr Hans Seyle, a pioneering stress researcher, defines stress as a psycho-physiological i.e mind-body event that takes place when our system is overwhelmed by an experience: physical, mental or emotional.
Stress is not something out there. Stress is a phenomenon that is completely internal – it is simply a reaction by mind and body to an event. It is based on how we see and interpret events.
How do our bodies respond to stress?
Cortisol is the chief culprit when it comes to stress-related maladies. Cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, otherwise known as the stress hormones are instantly launched into production by the adrenal glands.
The pituitary gland response by pumping out other hormones and the sympathetic branch of our autonomic nervous system revs up. This response is known as ‘fight or flight’.
The problem is that every day non life threatening events can trigger a full-blown stress response. For most everyday situations the fight or flight response isn’t necessary or appropriate.
Over time, the continual stress response, leaves us continually with chronic excess cortisol levels. This causes high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety , depression, frustration, anger, tension, depresses the immune system and increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stomach ulcers. Recent research has discovered cortisol can even cause waistlines to become bigger.
Stress is an inside job and how Hypnotherapy resolves it.
We all know people who thrive in certain circumstances that would push someone else into extreme stress. To a person who loves public speaking, talking in front of a group of people is enjoyable. To a person who fears the judgement of others (social phobia), the very same event, will result in high degrees of stress, and all the damage that causes.
Some parents are wonderfully calm and happy with very boisterous, enthusiastic children. Yet there are other parents who would find this situation stressful.
In other words, stress is an inside job.
So the question becomes if stress is not caused by external events but by our response to external events, how can we re-set out internal stress dial so that we have the resourcefulness inside ourselves to deal with everyday stresses, without going into alarm.
Why is it, two people, faced with the exact same event, have two totally separate experiences?
The answer is, one person is not pushed over the edge by the experience, but rather is stimulated by it. While the second person finds it stressful.
What is happening is that the two people, are not starting with the same baseline level of subconscious stress. So the amount of stress, intrinsic to this particular situation, leaves the first person still within a comfortable level while it’s sending the second person into alarm.
What determines your baseline level of stress is the amount of sub-conscious bottled up emotion left over from growing up and some other difficulties in life along with your everyday thinking styles. This will be different for each person.
So while there are good techniques like exercise, creative activities, relaxation, herbs etc that are effective with helping you manage the stress you know about, it is really the sub-conscious stress that is currently outside your awareness that is causing the problem.
You see, now that you are an adult, with the resourcefulness of an adult, if the only things you had to deal with were everyday stresses you would be well within your comfort zone and would not go into alarm.
The problem is that these known stresses are being added to the left over subconscious stress and that is what is making it too much to handle and setting off the alarm.
Using hypnotherapy the subconscious stress is released from your system, bringing your baseline level of stress right down, and as a result you are much better able to manage everyday experience.
Excessive Stress CAN Be Helped!
As the level of stress you experience is caused by your internal response to a situation, techniques that teach you resourceful ways of perceiving and responding serve you well in handling (or not creating in the first place) stress.
When we release limiting beliefs and bottled up emotions, the baseline level of internal stress is re-set to a very low level and as a result you are well able to deal with everyday stresses.