Before we can learn to cope with stress we must look at what it actually is. Broadly speaking stress is the result of any stimulus from the environment that disrupts the body’s balanced physical, chemical or mental functioning. This can be anything from a stubbed toe to a piece of bad news. When the brain is alerted by fear, the endocrine system is also alerted. Messages go to the hypothalamus deep in the brain and from there to the nearby pituitary, which triggers the adrenal glands to produce a hormone called adrenaline. This adrenaline can also be produced by excitement, pleasure and enjoyment. This acts on muscles, blood vessels, skin, sweat glands, the digestive system, almost every part of the complex human body.
Muscles tense, blood vessels constrict or relax, the heart beats faster, breathing becomes more rapid, the mouth may get dry, the skin sweat. The pancreas may pump out different levels of insulin. This at a more severe level is the “panic attack”, the “fight or flight” response from primitive times, where the body utilises its natural inbuilt defence mechanisms.
Some “stress” is beneficial and stimulating and different personality types have varying levels of ability to cope with their stress. Stress is rather like an electrical load on our circuit, some of us have 3 amp fuses, some a 13 amp and some even higher. Our “tolerance” is partly hereditary and partly environmental and self learned.
Excess stress can aggravate chronic health problems and lead to smoking, alcoholism, depression, migraine, asthma, ulcers – the list is endless.
Tranquillisers generally only remove or quieten the symptoms.
There are many techniques which have been developed to combat stress – including meditation, T.M., yoga and biofeedback, but here we are concerned with HYPNOSIS.
When used in stress control it is aimed at turning off the “fight or flight” response mechanism balancing the two branches of the autonomic nervous system – the sympathetic and the para-sympathetic – and at creating physical and mental relaxation combined with feelings of inner peace, harmony and well being.
So whilst not a panacea for all ills, once again hypnosis is a perfectly safe, effective and natural way to combat stress and to learn to RELAX.