International Stress Awareness Week (November 1st-5th) was created to raise awareness about stress prevention. All of us experience stress, to a greater or lesser degree. Stress is a normal and relatively healthy part of being human. Stress keeps us focused and on target, moving towards our goals.
However, for some people stress can become like an addiction and they end up in a pattern of interactions that ultimately leave them feeling trapped and powerless. Stress invokes a chemical response in the body. When we are stressed we pump out neurochemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and dopamine. Dopamine is one of our ‘reward’ chemicals, it helps us remain motivated and on task as well as making us feel good. It’s one of the chemicals that is released when people take drugs, gamble, and have sex; it’s a heady feeling that leaves many people wanting more. Even though the stressful event may be unpleasant, the reward that we get when it’s over and we experience the dopamine hit can set us up for wanting more.
If you’re caught up in the cycle of stress and reward it can be difficult to see a way out. Are you wondering if you could be a stress addict? Challenge yourself to take some downtime. Doing nothing can either feel great, or it can be disorienting and make us feel lazy and guilty. If you notice yourself feeling bad or negative self talk starting up, there’s a good chance that you might be caught in the stress cycle.
We need to cultivate skills to help us effectively deal with stressors. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) recognises that it is important to learn techniques to manage stress and balance our lives. Attending some sessions with a hypnotherapist can help you achieve a different perspective, changing the way you think about different events in your life which can help you to manage stressors more effectively.
Changing patterns can be difficult; having the support of a trained and supportive therapist can be helpful. Being aware that these are powerful mechanisms that developed in our bodies to drive us forward can help reduce the feelings of guilt ad increase our understanding of the drive to be rewarded. Rather than focusing on the payoff and reward for stressful activities, it’s possible to rewire our brains to seek out calmer and easier pastimes.
Mindfulness, relaxation techniques including self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy tools can help in this process. After a session the person being treated usually feels more relaxed, calm and confident. Often change is subtle, as the hypnotherapist will be working with the subconscious mind, and a very positive shift in feeling and reaction to certain previously stressful situations can be noticed. After working with a hypnotherapist you can expect to feel calmer and more confident, more resilient and better able to cope with whatever stress life throws at you.
You can find a hypnotherapist near you by using the NCH directory.