We live in a world that can at times be unrelentingly busy and full of stressors. It is no wonder, then, that in the UK, 74% of adults report feeling at times ‘overwhelmed or unable to cope’ due to the levels of stress in their lives. (Source: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/news/stressed-nation-74-uk-overwhelmed-or-unable-cope-some-point-past-year)
Often, stress is our body and mind’s response to being overworked or under excessive pressure to meet targets or deadlines, or can occur due to events in our personal lives such as the illness of a loved one or an upcoming medical procedure that is causing us worry.
Why do we experience stress?
Stress is our body’s natural response to new and unknown situations. It causes a person to stay ultra alert, and can push their body to work harder in various ways. In certain situations, this can be incredibly beneficial, for instance in primitive times, stress would have allowed our ancestors to stay alert and focused on any impending danger, helping them to stay alive for longer. In the modern day, our body’s stress responses can also help us to remain focused on any external threats in high stakes situations, and can also help us to perform better when it comes to exams and demanding work tasks.
In the long term, however, stress can start to take its toll on our bodies and minds. Although it can work well as a short term response, over a longer period of time our bodies are often not able to cope with the tension and ultra-alertness that characterises stress.
How do I know if I am suffering from stress?
There are several symptoms that can indicate that you might be suffering from long term or chronic stress. Some of these symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- High Blood Pressure
- Sore muscles
- Low libido
- Digestive issues
- A weakened immune system
Stress can also be linked with anxiety and depression and can sometimes trigger a person to experience panic attacks. Like stress, anxiety and panic attacks are linked to the body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ response and are in themselves characterised by various symptoms.
How else can stress affect me?
Stress can often affect our personal lives and relationships with those closest to us. People who are feeling stressed are often less likely to spend quality time with their loved ones, or less likely to be present and in-the-moment when they do so. A decrease in libido as a result of stress can be an added strain on couples. People experiencing large amounts of stress are also likely to be more irritable and aggressive, can become agitated and annoyed at small and seemingly insignificant problems, and can feel that they are always rushed and in a hurry.
How can hypnotherapy help?
Hypnotherapy can be an effective method of helping people deal with stress. Stress is very often related to the way in which a person responds to certain things that happen to them. Our natural and instinctive responses are often difficult to change, and can be inextricably linked to our outlook on life. This, in turn, will often stem from experiences and events in our early lives that have shaped the way we behave in the present. In hypnotherapy, a hypnotherapist places a subject into a state of relaxation called ‘hypnosis’. In this state of relaxation, the client can revisit these early memories and reframe them in a new light, to help reshape their outlook on life and their responses to difficult and stressful events that occur in the present. A hypnotherapist might direct a client to delve into their mind to rediscover the first time they ever experienced feelings of stress, and then might help them to view this early experience in a new light. It is the ability of hypnotherapy to help clients get to the very root of what is causing them stress that can make it such an effective form of treatment. Hypnotherapy helps to find and combat all aspects of stress, which is usually entrenched in the mental, the physical and the emotional.
Hypnotherapy is also often used as a treatment to help manage stress and anxiety in people who are about to undergo a painful or frightening medical treatment.
An interesting study in 2020 also showed the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for treating stress in conjunction with mindfulness techniques. (Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200615184150.htm). This study showed that this ‘novel intervention’ resulted in high rates of satisfaction among subjects, as well as a large reduction in stress symptoms. You may wish to consider hypnotherapy in conjunction with mindfulness to help you feel better when you are struggling with stress.
Stress can cause problems in many aspects of our lives, and if you feel that you or someone you know is experiencing excessive long-term or chronic stress, it is always best to seek help. Stress can affect both your body and your mind, and hypnotherapy can be the perfect solution for many people. It is certainly worth considering this kind of treatment if you wish to find a method to help change your outlook around stressful situations and help improve the way you feel when stressful occasions arise.