Hypnosis and Stress
Stress is the external stimulus or the stressor that causes hardships and problems in our body / mind. The reaction and response of our system produces change called strain. Hans Selye, the man who coined the term stress talks about 2 different types of stress – distress which is destructive and characterized by anger, aggression and damages to health and and eustress which is positive, constructive and good for health. Stress and emotions are closely interrelated and there is never one without the other.
Psychological stress is caused by how a person views and evaluates what is happening around. Stress and emotion depend on this kind of assessment or appraisal of the individual. The individual’s assessment is based upon
1) Personal resources the person has – intelligence, money, skills, education, supportive family and friends, being healthy, being attractive, energy all are resources.
2) Beliefs of the person about himself or herself and of the world
3) Goals and the order of the goals of the person. The interest that a person has in achieving the goal ( called goal commitment ) is very important because if the person is NOT interested in achieving a goal why should it cause stress. When goal is viewed as unachievable or situations perceived as preventing one from reaching his/her goal stress level increases.
We saw how stress is the input and the reaction is the response or consequence of that. But we also saw that this reaction or consequence depends on how the individual views the stress.
Albert Ellis ( Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) talks about the ABC sequence. A= Activating Event B= Belief C = Consequence.
In our stress sequence this A is the Stressor. B is the Belief / View Point / Our perspective and C is the Consequent Reaction to the stressor.
It is the B that we modify with hypnosis. We can change the belief, the view point, how we assess the stress and how we appraise the situation. Also if we look at the factor of personal resources of a person – again what we think as our resource is also based on our belief. If you believe that you are smart then you have a resource. If you think that every human being is born with and also acquires a lot of resources just by the fact of living and experiencing life then that is also a resource. It is this resource that you have – the resources that YOU have acquired by learning to walk, to talk, to go to school and survive and thrive by dealing with your fellow human beings – that can still be used to overcome whatever you consider as your problem or stressor. This is the basis of our assumption that you can create your own reality. You construct your reality. And you might as well construct it the way that gives you a positive outlook and future.
So hypnosis can help you in acknowledging your resources that you have but have never considered as resources. Hypnosis can help you in changing your negative and destructive beliefs into positive ones. Hypnosis can also help you in making sure that your goals are in alignment and you have the right perspective about your goals that increases efficiency without causing you stress. And this perspective will come when you know your strengths.
Stressors can be
1) critical events with a defined onset and duration or
2) chronic stressors (chronic life difficulties) with vague onset and duration.
Chronic life difficulties are typically conditions that last for a lifetime or for very long periods such as long term illness, marriage problems etc. Sometimes what is a critical event like a tornado strike or tsunami induced stress can become extended as a chronic stress due to the stress caused in life style and finance by the natural disaster.
Hans Selye’s team came up with a wellness continuum that goes from the worst to the best:
Casualty of stress ( stress related disease- Sleep disorders, addictions, anxiety, panic-attacks, disrupted career and personal life)
Walking wounded ( constantly elevated levels of chronic stress with problems like fatigue, headache, muscle tension/spasm, sleep disturbance, generalized anxiety, difficulties or reduced satisfaction in relationships, depressed mood, motivation or enthusiasm, frequent and/or unusually prolonged minor illnesses, as well as stress worsening other problems like allergies, skin conditions etc)
Worried well (frequently recurring periods of high stress are interfering with health, or with satisfaction and participation in relationships, work / career, or personal life)
Wonderfully WelI all wellness related programs and protocols are followed then you become wonderfully well. This is an active rejuvenated wellness state with anti-aging benefits.
Hans Selye institute has a 5 point vital skills that would help alleviate stress in individual life and achieve a better quality of life:
1. Clarifying personal values, goals & satisfiers
2. Developing self-affirming relationships
3. Relax deeply, anytime, anywhere you choose
4. Personalized essential exercise
5. High performance nutrition
Hypnosis and relaxation training will help directly in the first 3 points. Hypnosis will also provide motivation to stick to a good exercise and nutrition plan. And so it will address all 5 points above that would help you stave off stress.