Stress is a normal part of life. We all experience it at some point when we are unable to cope with all the different roles or activities that are required of us at the time. While we all experience this phenomena the symptoms can be very different from person to person. What is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another.
Stress is generally caused by a build up of small events or stressors. They may be monetary or work related. As you collect any number of different stressful events and activities, your chronic stress continues to grow. The longer you remain stressed the more severe the symptoms and the more it affects your life.
Different events and situations can cause stress and often it’s a build-up of small, subtle stressors like work-related stress or financial worries that lead to ongoing (or chronic) stress. Feeling stressed for long periods of time takes its toll on both our mental and physical health.
While we can’t always control what causes us to stress out, we can control the reactions we have to those stimuli. But to do that, we first have to understand exactly how stress works. We also have to understand how it affects our body and our mind.
Why are you so stressed?
Back in the stone ages, we had a lot of threats to our lives. On a daily basis we were worried about basic survival. No one wants to die. Over time and through evolution, our brains learned how to identify threats and would fire off hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. This causes our hearts to beat faster and our muscles to tense. It puts us in a fight or flight mode while either allows us to run or to fight more fervently. It gives us an edge.
While we don’t live in a time of constant threats to our life, our brains have retained this survival feature. And today it is even harder to determine what an actual threat is in a world of deadlines, headlines, and anxiety. One person may view an email or something someone says as a stressors while another person may ignore it. Our brains have not evolved enough to not excite this negative feedback loop during these non life threatening situations. Nor do we know if we ever will.
This however, does not stop the hormones coursing through our veins. Nor does it stop you from feeling stressed. While the sensation will eventually pass, as we encounter more and more stressors in our life, we can feel like we live in a constant state of over stimulation. Not to mention the toll and damage those hormones can do to your body, your emotions, and your mental capacities.
Symptoms of Stress
The first step to overcoming the negative effect of your stress is to identify your symptoms. How it affects our emotions. Our body. Our minds. Stress can have both physical and psychological effects. Below are just a few of the options in each category.
Physical Symtoms of Stress
- Low energy
- Gastrointestinal Distress: diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
- Aches and pains
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire/ability
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Cognitive Symptoms of Stress
- Constant worrying
- Racing thoughts
- Inability to focus
- Poor judgment
Behavioral Symptoms of Stress
- Changes in appetite — Leading to weight loss or gain.
- Procrastination & Avoiding Responsibilities
- Increased sense of addiction to drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.
- Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing
Emotional Symptoms of Stress
- Becoming easily moody
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Difficulty relaxing
- Low Self-esteem
- Social Avoidance
Stress: What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
It is no big deal to have stress every once in a while. But science and research tell us that long term stress is very unhealthy. It can cause a number of health problems including, but not limited to:
- Depression and Anxiety
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Eating Disorders
- Menstrual Problems
- Sexual Dysfuntion
- Hair Loss
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- And many more….
How Can Hypnosis Help?
But no worries, there are many coping skills, including hypnosis, that are available to combat stress. It is a natural part of our lives. What matters is how we cope and handle it. The first thing you need to do is realize how it is affecting your life and what symptoms you exhibit.
Many times stress is caused by the way we think about or frame a situation. With hypnosis you can change the thought patterns that keep you stuck in that negative feedback loop of emotions and hormones. In addition to helping you change the way you think about stress, we can also help you identify new coping mechanisms so that you can better control or eliminate your symptoms.
Stress has become a daily part of our lives. It lives in everyone’s vocabulary. I doubt any of us know someone who isn’t stressed at all. If you don’t find a way to cope you eventually reach a breaking point. A point that can cause your body and your mind significant damage.