In a recent initiative, the Prince and Princess of Wales, alongside The Royal Foundation, have taken significant strides to champion mental health support, particularly focusing on the younger generation. The call for “concrete action” echoes a collective need for a transformative approach to mental health, a subject that took centre stage during a forum hosted in Birmingham as part of the World Mental Health Day commemoration.
Kate expressed the ultimate goal of shaping societies that are fairer, safer, kinder, and more equal. She highlighted the contemporary challenges posed by a rapidly evolving world, where factors such as social media, concerns about conflicts, pandemics, climate change, and the cost of living contribute to the intricate landscape of emotional well-being.
Stress has solidified its position as the third most significant health issue according to Ipsos Global Health Service Monitor. In the wake of World Mental Health Day, it is more important than ever to investigate the ongoing impact of stress on people’s lives.
The global report reveals alarming statistics; over 62% of individuals across 31 countries have experienced stress to the point where it influenced their daily lives at least once in the past year. Moreover, 34% admitted that this occurred several times. An equally concerning 31% felt so overwhelmed by stress that they struggled to cope or manage their responsibilities on several occasions within the last 12 months. The costs of chronic stress extend to the workplace, with 39% taking time off due to stress, and 18% facing recurrent instances of such leave.
Gender differences in stress perception are evident, with 36% of women stating that stress has impacted their daily lives multiple times in the past year, compared to 26% of men. Women also report higher instances of feeling depressed, emphasising the intricate interplay between stress and mental health. Strikingly, 78% of respondents globally believe that mental health is as crucial as physical health, yet only 34% feel their country’s healthcare system treats them equally.
The Ipsos World Mental Health Day survey, drawing on three years of trend data, underscores the evolving landscape of mental health perceptions. Key findings reveal a stark contrast between the perceived importance of mental health (78%) and the acknowledgment of its equal treatment in healthcare systems (34%).
What emerges is a complex tapestry where people are more likely to contemplate their physical health (71%) compared to mental well-being (58%). However, in Latin America, particularly South Africa and Brazil, 75% of individuals express frequent thoughts about their mental health. Conversely, South Korea stands out as a unique case where 61% claim to think about their mental well-being ‘not very much/never.’
The report indicates a paradigm shift as mental health surpasses other health concerns, including cancer, reflecting a growing awareness of its significance. Stress, a pervasive element of modern life, becomes a focal point, impacting daily routines, workplace dynamics, and overall mental well-being.
Discerning the subtle signals of stress serves as the key to effective management; too often we throw our hands up and declare that there’s nothing we can do except allow the tides of life to pull us this way and that.
Emotionally, stress can manifest as a sense of agitation, feeling overwhelmed, or experiencing irritability, often coupled with a dip in self-esteem. These emotional states intricately influence our behaviour and interactions within our social sphere.
On a cognitive level, stress initiates a whirlwind of thoughts—swift decision-making becomes elusive, concentration wavers, and an undercurrent of persistent worry takes root. This mental turbulence, if left unchecked, can pave the way for profound mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Turning our attention to the physical, stress exacts a toll, inducing tension in muscles, triggering headaches, causing dizziness, disrupting sleep patterns, instigating fatigue, and influencing changes in appetite. Over time it leads to obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Amidst this complex landscape, a refined tool in stress management emerges—hypnotherapy. This is not a whimsical endeavor with a swinging pocket watch but a structured session, guided by a professional adept in navigating the depths of the subconscious. Through inducing a state of deep relaxation known as hypnosis, the therapist strategically influences the subconscious, rewiring responses to stress for a healthier outcome.
Outcomes from hypnotherapy sessions exhibit variability, with some experiencing transformative effects after a single session and others necessitating a series, contingent upon individual circumstances. Hypnotherapists often equip individuals with self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques for continued practice post-session.
Hypnotherapy shines particularly bright in addressing transient stressors, such as imminent exams or anxiety-inducing public speaking engagements. It serves as a tailored intervention, offering a refined makeover to one’s stress response, fostering a more composed demeanor.
As a long-term strategy, regular self-hypnosis proves invaluable in the battle against stress. The serene state induced by hypnosis not only becomes an antidote to stress but also evolves into a self-sustaining practice, embraced by many for its efficacy.
Beyond stress reduction, hypnotherapy plays a nuanced role in mental well-being. It serves as a catalyst for bolstering confidence and self-esteem, instilling the ability to assert boundaries and confidently articulate the occasional “no”—integral components of effective stress management.
As we navigate this stress storm, World Mental Health Day serves as a powerful reminder to explore innovative approaches. Hypnotherapy, with its holistic and individualised nature, emerges as a potential ally in alleviating stress and promoting mental resilience. To find a qualified and insured hypnotherapist near you, please use the National Council for Hypnotherapy’s Therapist Finder.