Stress and anxiety are common issues that affect millions of people every day. While there are many therapy options available to help manage these conditions, hypnotherapy is a highly effective and often overlooked solution. In this blog, we'll discuss the benefits of hypnotherapy for managing stress and anxiety.
A little about the Science Behind Stress and Anxiety
When faced with a stressful or dangerous situation, our brains instinctively respond with a "fight, fright, or freeze" response. This automatic reaction prepares us to either defend ourselves, escape the situation, or stay frozen to avoid harm. While this response was once crucial for our survival, it can now cause significant stress and anxiety in our daily lives. When our brain encounters stimuli that it sees as a threat (whether real or imagined), our anxiety goes up, we lose control of our intellectual, rational mind (the pre-frontal cortex) and our instinctive limbic system takes over. To illustrate this concept, consider the following scenario:
You're walking down the street and suddenly hear a loud noise behind you. Your heart races, your palms start to sweat, and your mind immediately goes into "fight, flight or freeze" mode. This reaction, although automatic, can be overwhelming and exhausting, causing stress and anxiety.
Our brain recognises the danger and reacts accordingly.
A signal is sent within the limbic system to the amygdala (or fight, flight or freeze area), which refers to the hippocampus to see how we usually react to threat – in this case, with anxiety – and commands the hypothalamus to release the correct hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. This causes the heart rate to increase, the mouth to go dry, the stomach to churn and the palms to go sweaty and we flee – which are all classic stress responses.
We don't always react in exactly the same way, however. The amygdala is known as the 'flight, fight or freeze' part of the brain for precisely that reason; it will react by either running away, gearing up for attack or perhaps just freezing to the spot. It's important to remember that in some circumstances the freeze response would be the wisest - for example, if you were trying to avoid detection.
Our Survival instincts
Whichever reaction our amygdala chooses the stress response we exhibit nowadays relates directly to our primitive past but has been adapted to modern day life. This is because the limbic system (or primitive mind) has not evolved since then; the intellectual mind, or cerebellum, has evolved around it as we as humans have evolved. This primitive part of the brain is still vigilant, obsessional and negative – as it would have been in neanderthal times - and it has to be, to protect us from possible predators, as was the case all those years ago. The limbic system knew that it was wise not to rest or switch off completely, because danger lurked around every corner and we never knew when we would need our amygdala to respond.
In hypnosis may use the metaphor of a 'stress bucket'. When we have a negative thought, it converts into anxiety and adds to your stress bucket and, as it gets fuller we find our anxiety levels rising and our coping ability disappearing.
This can affect everything; our thoughts, our moods, our willingness to socialise, our memory, concentration, energy levels, motivation, the list may go on. We find we are short-tempered and can be irritable with people around us - especially those we are closest to.
When our stress bucket levels are lower, we are less likely to react with an unnecessary
stress response, as we operate more from our intellectual, logical brain.
When our stress buckets are overflowing and we are operating mainly from the primitive emotional limbic system, we may respond instead with an overreaction and/or exaggerated stress response.
This is often when we begin to feel overwhelmed, and the littlest things can set us off.
What can we do to manage this?
We need to lower the levels in our stress bucket and keep them low. We can do this by not piling so much in there in the first place.
Positive thinking helps low our stress levels - and by emptying our stress buckets to a more manageable level.
We naturally empty our stress buckets during our sleep cycle REM (Rapid Eye Movement).
When in REM, we process the events of the day, changing the contents of our stress bucket from emotional memories to emotionless narrative memories and removing them.
This process may not be enough if your stress bucket is too full or overflowing.
Hypnosis replicates the REM sleep process and, as such, lowers the levels of the stress bucket, helping us to cope better with any anxiety or challenges in our lives.
We can also learn coping mechanisms and techniques, so that when we do encounter a threat whether this is real or seemingly, our stress response won’t be as extreme as previously experienced.
The Benefits of Hypnotherapy for combating Stress and Anxiety
1. Promotes Relaxation and Reduces Stress
One of the most immediate benefits of hypnotherapy is its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress. During a hypnotherapy session, the hypnotherapist will guide you into a state of deep relaxation, where your mind and body can release tension and stress. This
can help to calm your mind, improve sleep quality, and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
2. Improves Sleep Quality
Stress and anxiety can make it difficult to get a good night's sleep, but hypnotherapy can help. By reducing stress and promoting relaxation, hypnotherapy can help to improve sleep quality and help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
3. Effective for Both Short-term and Long-term Stress and Anxiety
Hypnotherapy can be an effective solution for both short-term and long-term stress and
anxiety. While some therapy options may only provide temporary relief, hypnotherapy can help to address the root cause of stress and anxiety and provide lasting results.
4. Enhances Positive Thinking:
Hypnotherapy can also help individuals develop a more positive outlook on life, by focusing on the positive aspects of their experiences and reducing negative self-talk. This shift in perspective can have a profound impact on stress and anxiety levels, helping individuals feel more relaxed and at ease.
5. Improves Self-Confidence:
Hypnotherapy can also help individuals develop greater self-confidence and self-esteem, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle with anxiety and stress. By improving self-confidence, individuals are better equipped to tackle challenges, overcome obstacles, and feel more in control of their lives
6. Teaches Mindfulness and Stress-Relief Techniques
Hypnotherapy can also help to teach mindfulness and stress-relief techniques, which can be
useful in reducing stress and anxiety in the long-term. For example, during a session, the hypnotherapist may suggest visualization techniques, breathing exercises, or positive affirmations to help clients manage stress and anxiety in their daily lives.
7. Safe and Non-Invasive
Compared to some other forms of therapy, hypnotherapy is a safe and non-invasive option for managing stress and anxiety. There are no drugs or side effects associated with hypnotherapy, and it can be a gentle and effective way to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
8. Can be Done in Person or Online
Hypnotherapy can be done in person or online, making it an accessible option for individuals who may have difficulty attending in-person appointments. This means that even if you live far from a hypnotherapy clinic or are unable to travel due to health or other reasons, you can still access the benefits of hypnotherapy through online sessions.
Call to Action
If you are struggling with stress and anxiety, hypnotherapy may be just what you need to help you overcome these challenges and feel more relaxed and at peace.
At T'S Wellness, Teresa Saunders is a qualified hypnotherapist with a wealth of experience in helping individuals overcome stress and anxiety.
To make an appointment, please visit www.teresasaunders.com today.
Hypnotherapy is a powerful and effective solution for managing stress and anxiety. By inducing a state of deep relaxation and helping individuals develop positive thinking, self-confidence, and improved sleep, hypnotherapy can have a profound impact on stress and anxiety levels, helping individuals feel more relaxed and at peace.