Out-of-control stress is the number one underlying factor to the onset of disease in the body. Aside from the emotional toll stress takes, it also affects our health, says Diane Robinson, PhD, of UF Health Center. Stress is not always bad; some of it is necessary to help us achieve our goals. But long term stress can, among other things, affect our immune system, compromise the digestive system, lead to depression and result in the general deterioration of health.
At this day and age, most of us are aware of the potentially damaging effects of chronic stress. We also know there are many things we can do to prevent, reduce and cope with stress, such as proper diet, exercise, rest and play time; practicing meditation and relaxation techniques such as yoga and breath work; etc. So why is it that most people don't practice stress management on a consistent basis, or at all?
One of the reasons is that, in our fast paced society, many of us learn to carry stress as a badge of honor, showing to the world (and ourselves) how productive and needed we are. On a physical level, we can also become addicted to the cortisol and adrenaline that get released into our system when we are in "fight or flight" mode. However, not only does the continuous release of these hormones wreak havoc in our bodies, it gets us hooked and looking for more. "Like a drug addict, you need a bigger fix all the time," says Debbie Mandel, a stress management specialist and author of Addicted to Stress.
In addition, the way we perceive and handle time can have a lot to do with how much stress we feel in our lives. According to Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, we need to make the switch from our Newtonian perception of time (which says that there's only a finite amount of time) to Einstein Time (in which time is relative, so we need to take charge of the amount of time we have and realize we are where time comes from). From that perspective, we can then figure out areas in our lives that we are trying to disown and take full ownership of it (in other words, become aware of the fact that our life circumstances stem from ourselves, and we can change them). According to Hendricks, "stress and conflict are caused by resisting acceptance and ownership," and the stress will disappear once we are able to accept and claim ownership of it.
Whichever the causes behind stress, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool for stress management. Through hypnotherapy we can tap into the subconscious and reprogram unwanted behavior via suggestions. In addition to performing hypnosis sessions for stress reduction, a hypnotherapist can also help the client determine the core issues behind the stress, as well as help break unhealthy habits and patterns. For these reasons, more and more people are seeking hypnotherapy as a safe, noninvasive therapeutic option.