Most of us will suffer from stress at some point in our lives, where feel unable to cope with the pressures that daily life places upon us. This is perfectly normal, and is usually a warning that we need to address the balance in our lives. When left unaddressed, however, stress can become a chronic condition leading to further complications including sleep disorder, low mood, anxiety and loss of appetite.
In biological terms all organisms aim to be in a state of balance, or equilibrium known as homeostasis. For example, as warm-blooded mammals, our bodies try to maintain a steady temperature of 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit. When environmental factors, such as excessive heat, or cold, cause that to vary our bodies trigger responses to restore balance – sweating to reduce heat and shivering to maintain and increase temperature.
So our bodies have a self-regulating mechanism which aims to maintain harmony and when this harmony is disturbed it acts to protect itself. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat or cold will ultimately prove fatal for us, hence the body’s reaction! This suggests that there is an intelligence, or drive, behind the body’s response to imbalance and that is self-preservation. When the body attempts to restore balance it consumes resources and expends energy to do so and it is these physiological changes in the body that we experience as the symptoms of stress – raised heart-rate, rapid breathing, churning stomach, tingling in the hands and feet and impaired thinking.
Causes of stress
Due to a variety of socio-economic reasons stress has become more and more widely recognized by both individuals and employers. Companies are now employing experts to help their staff to deal with stress more efficiently.
Broadly speaking, the causes of stress fall into two categories, or triggers – external and internal.
Major life events such as the death of a close family member, losing your job or even being promoted. Daily life pressures like traffic jams, and the demands of juggling the work-life balance. Then there is our physical environment, noise, bright lights, and confined spaces in addition to the social stressors – other people’s behaviour, queuing in the supermarket, cramped public transport etc.
Lifestyle choices such as having too much work, not getting enough sleep, drinking to much caffeine or alcohol and not taking exercise all contribute raising our stress levels. Sometimes we can over analyze and become self critical, have unrealistic expectations of ourselves or are inflexible to life’s challenges. Left unchecked these can become habitual sources of stress in our lives.
How Hypnotherapy can help deal with stress
Our approach is tailored to each client in order to address both the presenting symptoms and also the triggers for stress. We take the opportunity to review both the external and internal factors that are perpetuating stress.
We have found it beneficial to teach relaxation techniques, including deep (abdominal) breathing and self-hypnosis in addition to developing a positive frame of mind and addressing lifestyle issues. We also use hypnotherapy to reinforce the motivation to change and to develop the relaxation response.
Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that you develop the insight to recognise the signs of stress and its triggers and to have the tools to be able to address these in your daily life.
The typical lifestyle issues that we find are most frequently implicated in stress are:
- Poor dietary regime – excess caffeine or alcohol
- Lack of exercise or activity
- Irregular sleep patterns
- An inability to take time out and relax
- Unhelpful thinking styles – always expecting the worst
These are all things that we have control over and, with persistence, can change for the better.
Try our Learn to Relax Audio Programme: