A UK-wide stress survey has found that almost three quarters of adults (74%) have at some point over the past year felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
• In the USA 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year – American Psychological Association.
• In Australia 91% of adult Australians feel stress in at least one important area of their lives.
What Exactly is Stress?
Stress is blamed for many things, from weight gain and poor sleep to acne and digestive issues; from anxiety and fatigue to high blood pressure and poor immunity. It is a huge problem and is the root cause of many common ailments we experience today.
We know that too much stress is not good for us — but what exactly is stress?
Fight or flight:
The word ‘stress’ is defined as hardship, adversity, force, or pressure. When our body is faced with it, whether from internal or external sources, a vital response process kicks in. This is referred to as the fight-or-flight response. Millennia ago, the likely threat a human being would encounter to set off this response would be a wild animal, someone screaming at you, or weeks without food. It makes sense, then, that you’d need the strength to fight back or to run away fast.
When our body is in fight or flight mode, adrenaline and cortisol is released. The heart rate goes up and blood gets pumped to our limbs and away from our digestive and reproductive system. Pupils dilate to help us see and the mind becomes hyper-vigilant. Blood sugar levels go up, too.
In a healthy stress response, the cortisol level rises and falls quickly— as soon as the presumed threat is out of the way.
Cortisol: the stress hormone
Cortisol is often referred to as the stress hormone and is intended to protect us from danger, damage, and inflammation. It responds to light and dark and, when functioning normally, it follows nature’s rhythm. It is part of regulating our circadian rhythm — the levels
should be higher in the morning and then taper off throughout the day, so that by bedtime, when it’s dark outside, our cortisol level is low and we feel calm, relaxed, and ready for sleep.
Cortisol levels rise whenever our body notices a stressor – which could be an email from our boss, sleep deprivation, or our own to-do lists.
So what happens when the perceived threat is always there? When our phones are notifying us every minute, emails are streaming in nonstop, and the work/life balance is non-existent?
The cortisol level rises and then stays high! This chronic stress is a big issue in our modern society and can lead to weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, thyroid issues, fatigue, and even autoimmune conditions.
Let’s be clear: some stress is good and we need a healthy stress response! A little stress might make you perform better under pressure, increase your focus, and help you meet an important deadline.
It’s the chronic stress we need to combat and prevent.
It takes conscious effort in today’s busy go-go-go society to carve out the time to prioritise rest, sleep, and to generally slow down.
50% of doctors visits are stress related!
More people are missing work from stress related problems than ever before!
You can liken stress to “strain” on your bodies “alarm system”
Maintaining a diet that keeps blood sugar in check should also be considered for preventing stress from internal inflammation.
Sleep is crucial and fresh air and daylight helps regulate cortisol, too.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress:
Stress can cause many different symptoms. It might affect how someone feels physically, mentally and also how they behave. Here’s some examples of Physical, Mental and Behavioural Symptoms
• Headaches or dizziness
• Muscle tension or pain
• Stomach problems
• Chest pain or a faster heartbeat
• Sexual problems Mental Symptoms:
• Difficulty concentrating
• Struggling to make decisions
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Constantly worrying
• Being forgetful
• Low sense of personal accomplishment
• Emotional exhaustion
• Low sense of personal accomplishment
• Being irritable
• Sleeping too much or too little
• Eating too much or too little
• Avoiding certain people, places and situations
• Drinking smoking or using drugs more
Not all people dealing with stress will have every one of these symptoms, however they are likely to suffer with more than one.
How Hypnosis can help train the brain to manage stress and take control:
Therapy sessions are designed to bring about a gradual change to our mindset - to give us a set of “tools” that can help to recognise our stressors, enabling us to let go of the things that don’t matter, allow our mind and body recovery time, and focus our energies on what is really important in the present and future.
This is not just a short-term fix - this is creating skills for life. If we use these ‘tools’, we will develop lifetime habits enabling us to be calmer and much more resilient to life events.
What Happens When You Have Greater Control Over Stress?
The research is there - if you have greater control over the stress in your life, you will feel better and live longer!
• Your immune system will be stronger
• Your stamina will be increased
• You will make better decisions
When our body is in fight or flight mode, adrenaline and cortisol is released. The heart rate goes up and blood gets pumped to our limbs and away from our digestive and reproductive system. Pupils dilate to help us see and the mind becomes hyper-vigilant. Blood sugar levels go up, too
• Not just for those who feel like they are stressed but anyone who wants to be more relaxed and resilient
• You will experience less anger, less fear, less physical discomfort and a greater sense of background happiness and well-being
• You will achieve deep states of relaxation
• You will have more energy
• You will be more effective in your every-day life
• You will access your body’s natural ability for instant calm and deep relaxation
• You will change your response to stress and worry and stay at your best for longer
If you would like to know more about how hypnotherapy can help you stay calmer and cope better, get in touch.
Contact: Nicholas Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org