Stress can be defined as the experience of unpleasant over or under stimulation that can lead to ill-health, depending on the level of stress being experienced. No human being can function without stimulation and challenge; it is part of life and provides excitement, impetus and motivation. However, stress can also cause distress and anxiety. As long as a person feels in control, challenge can be invigorating. However, with some of the challenges that we meet, the more disabling feelings and actions associated with stress can take hold.
Stress is the result of a mismatch between the challenge being experienced and the belief in an ability to cope sufficiently. Challenges may come from external sources, e.g. a demanding boss, and may be the result of too much or too little pressure. Boredom in itself can cause stress to an individual who is used to, and enjoys being kept busy.
Anxiety is experienced persistently. Symptoms experienced include motor tension, which is manifested as muscle tension, trembling, restlessness and chronic fatigue. Hyperactivity is manifested as shortness of breath, rapid heart beat, dry mouth, cold hands, and dizziness. Vigilance and scanning, feeling 'keyed up' all the time, having difficulty concentrating, startling easily, experiencing problems with sleeping or irritability, are all symptoms of anxiety.
Basic fears that lead to anxiety include fear of losing control, being unable to cope, feeling a failure, being rejected, or abandoned and, finally, fear of disease and death. Panic disorder is characterised by sudden episodes of acute apprehension or intense fear that occurs 'out of the blue' and without any apparent cause. Intense panic usually lasts no more than a few minutes, but often can return in waves for a period of up to two hours.
A hypnotherapist will discuss with you how you experience anxiety, including the cause or triggers. I will then ask how the person wishes to feel and what life will be like without it. I will then work with the client to reduce the symptoms by using a range of different techniques. I will use some techniques to find out the root cause of your stress and anxiety, so we can work together to change the behaviours in an attempt to reduce your stress and anxiety, or get you in a position where you can take back control. After sessions with a hypnotherapist the client may feel more confident and relaxed in situations that had been challenging previously. Many people report that they feel calmer and have more clarity of thought after hypnotherapy and are therefore able to make decisions more easily. Those who have experienced manifestations of anxiety such as disturbed sleep often find that they sleep better after hypnosis sessions and as a result are able to work more effectively.