Stress. It’s everywhere and in our fast-paced, deadline-driven, competitive, achievement-oriented culture, it feels kind of normal. Sometimes (OK maybe most of the time) we aren’t even aware that we are stressed because everyone is stressed, and we think that this is just how it is. This is life.
Try something for me.
Take note of your body and your breathing in this moment (you may or may not be feeling stressed).
Take a deep breath into your belly.
Now breathe out.
Notice how that feels.
Relax the muscles in your neck and shoulders, your arms, your fingertips.
Do you feel different from before?
More than likely, before I asked you to breathe deeply and become aware of the sensations in your upper body, your muscles were tight and your breathing shallow.
When your mind told your body to release the tension in your muscles and just breathe, I bet you felt a physical and mental change.
Just think about how much of the day you are in a state of physical tension and aren’t even aware of it.
Your brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality and every stressful thought you have triggers anxiety in the brain and becomes tension stored in the body.
So, if your thoughts drift to all of those emails that are still sitting in your inbox, your lengthy to-do list, the traffic you are sitting in and wow you are so late picking the kids up from school, the brain will register these things as anxiety and stress, and this will get stored in your body.
And because “this is just life”, you might not even think that you feel stressed. But it is stress.
How can we manage it? The body naturally has a way to mitigate the stress response and that is through REM Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. However, (and oh, the irony) if we are stressed and we can’t sleep, we aren’t able to get adequate REM sleep to manage our stress.
What else can we do? Well, we can use wellness practices like exercise, meditation, and massage to help mitigate and manage our stress levels.
But there is another way you might not have thought about – Hypnotherapy.
Hypnosis is a natural state of the mind that produces measurable effects in the brain.
Without going too far into brain waves and brain science, I’m just going to link this article from Science Daily for you to reference should you like to go a little deeper down the rabbit hole.
In a nutshell, the brain has four different brain wave states: beta, alpha, theta, and delta.
The alpha state is a relaxed state. Theta occurs during REM Sleep.
But Theta also occurs during hypnosis and meditation.
Theta brain waves are what can be considered the subconscious and the delta state is the sleep state.
Here is where it gets interesting. The alpha and theta brain wave frequencies relieve stress and facilitate deep physical relaxation, promote euphoria (yes, please!), and stimulate the release of endorphins.
Hypnosis is quite similar to meditation but there are a few key differences.
Meditation trains you to train your awareness and become mindful while hypnosis encourages you to zone out and just let your mind wander. Trance is a completely natural state, and in this state of relaxed awareness, you can tap into the powers of your subconscious to soothe and direct your conscious mind. When the subconscious and the conscious parts of your brain come together you can facilitate lasting and positive changes
A relaxed brain under hypnosis it is open to new ideas and can turn ideas into habits.
Just as meditation can be used as a tool for relaxation and stress reduction, you can see how hypnosis and hypnotherapy can be even more powerful tools not just for relief but for lasting change.
If you would like to explore hypnotherapy to address stress in your life, or if you have specific changes in your life that you would like to make in the new year, I encourage you to speak to me and we can see how hypnotherapy can work for you.