Reducing Stress and Anxiety (Part 1)


The Origins of Stress and Anxiety

Before we look to reduce stress and anxiety, it's a good idea to understand their origins. Every human experiences stress, it is the body’s reaction to a change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses. Stress actually works with us, to enable us to deal with new situations to achieve a positive behaviour. For example if a car stops in front of you suddenly while driving, your body will force you to slam the brakes on in an attempt to avoid an accident.

However, negative stress can occur when someone is under an excess amount of emotional or mental pressure and there are a lot of demands placed on physical or mental energy. When an individual feels that they can’t cope, then that pressure turns into stress. Whether it’s work, relationship or money problems, whenever someone gets stressed it can stop the ability to deal with these issues or life in general. It can impact on how they think, behave, feel and can cause chemical reactions in the body which may result in insomnia, loss of appetite and other physiological problems. When under a lot of stress it can lead to a release of hormones in the body to enable you to deal with them, otherwise known as ‘fight or flight’ response. If the pressure passes or is dealt with then the hormone levels will often return to normal but if there is constant stress then the hormones can remain in the body and lead to other symptoms.

People can turn to alcohol, smoking or other substance abuses in order to cope with stress (I tried all 3 in my youth when I struggled with it!) and it can lead to these and other unhealthy habits developing. If the stress is not relieved it can lead to serious health issues, such as high blood pressure, headaches or migraines, chest pains, tiredness, insomnia and other physical conditions. Hypnotherapy can both help with the bad habits, and also dig deeper to deal with the underlying causes of the stress or anxiety.

Anxiety can become too much for some people causing panic attacks and the client can feel unable to deal with the higher levels of anxiety within them. This can result in physical manifestations, which can serve to give an excuse to seek the subconscious avoidance, such as -:

  • Trembling
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Nail-Biting
  • Picking etc

Some of these may be obvious, while other symptoms may not be. The anxious feelings in certain situations can make us worry even more about being in that particular situation in the future. The more we avoid it gives us the same feelings as if we were part of the thing we originally tried to avoid, so it’s important to try to break that cycle of fear.

The Relationship Between Stress And Anxiety

AnxietyBefore we can heal from negative stress and anxiety, we need to first understand the relationship between the two and discover where they stem from. People can be anxious for a number of reasons, it can be due to past events or a difficult childhood which can make the individual vulnerable to anxiety, some people may just be natural worriers and find it hard to cope with certain situations and sometimes it can simply be taking too much caffeine, sugar or substance abuse.

Mostly though, anxiety is brought on by stressful life events such as moving house, relationship problems such as ongoing arguments or divorce, a death in the family or of someone close to the individual, health problems, working too hard or in stressful situations, perhaps an upcoming exam or a public speaking engagement, the list is endless. Some people get very anxious in public and can have a social phobia where they find it difficult to mix and socialise with others and can experience anxiety when they have to interact with other people – this was something I personally struggled with for many years before finding help through Hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis and Mindfulness. Often the stress and anxiety can be inherited from the parents if they displayed an inability to cope with stress or difficult situations, or sometimes it can be environmental if we have been surrounded by influencers or people who were unable to stay positive in times of crisis.

Negative stress can become debilitating when it impacts on our responses to certain situations causing excessive anxiety and there are many different types of stress ranging from hypostress to traumatic stress. This can show up in many different ways, some of which are -:

  • Psychological changes i.e. Depression or acute anxiety where the root cause cannot always be identified
  • Sleep Disturbance i.e. Insomnia or unable to get back to sleep if woken
  • Sexual Dysfunction i.e. Loss of libido, impotence in men etc.

The Hypnotherapist must ascertain the Initial Sensitising Event (ISE) that has led to these heightened levels of stress and work on a screed and programme to help the client so that the level of stress are reduced and they are able to cope more effectively whenever similar situations occur in the future. The ISE is defined as the first time the client’s subconscious received information that a thing, person or situation was dangerous or undesirable. You can take a client back to that time where the subconscious has developed that limiting belief and re-program it accordingly to remove that negative association by adjusting that perception they felt at the time.

Tomorrow I'll focus on some of the techiques to help reduce Stress & Anxiety. If you do find yourself struggling with stress and anxiety in your life then do feel free to book an appointment below. I can help, whether in-person in Glasgow, or via a Skype/Facebook Video session from the comfort of your own home.

I am an Anxiety UK approved therapist and if you need some immediate help you can get in touch with them via their Infoline on 08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri 9:30am – 5.30pm) or via the Anxiety UK website.