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Writer-s-Bloc

Stress, the silent threat

By Michael van Soest

We all experience stress and we all experience it differently.

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences — from every-day responsibilities such as work and family to serious life events.

When a stressful event or situation occurs, hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released, which gets our heart to beat faster, our breath to quicken and our muscles to tense. This put us in the fight-or-flight mode, giving our mind the enhanced awareness and our body, the physical edge needed to either run away or take it head on.

Yet, if your stress response keeps firing, stress levels will stay elevated far longer than it is necessary for survival. This can eventually can take are serious toll on your health.

Usually, the sensation of stress will pass, but most often, in today’s world, we do not allow for the necessary time for a deep enough relaxation to completely unwind.

Studies have shown that one to three adults suffer from the effects of unmanaged stress. Many of us don’t even realize how stressed we actually are; often becoming accustomed to being tense, so we think of it as normal.

It damages our health, our work, our relationships. It destroys families, businesses, and lives. It costs companies staggering amounts every year in health costs, absenteeism, and poor performance.

In fact, stress built up over a long period can reduce our ability to regenerate, which means less energy and tolerance to combat daily stress.

This is the serious, silent threat.

Just because you wind down to go to sleep does not mean you are able to reach a regenerative state of being. Most people have difficulties sleeping due to a high level of unrealized stress.

  • Do you wake up feeling tired?
  • Are your sleep cycles shallow?
  • Do you wake up in the middle of the night feeling stressed?

If you answered yes to any of these three questions, your nervous system is highly engaged with stress. Research shows that stress, most often, leads to health implications which includes:

  • Difficulty with thinking or concentrating
  • Higher levels of anxiety
  • Poor performance
  • Digestive problems
  • Waking up tired
  • High blood pressure
  • Lowers immunity
  • Slow the body’s recovery time
  • Higher risk of catching a cold.

Sheldon Cohen, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has been researching stress since the 1990s, showed that chronic stress lasting more than a month, but less than six months doubled a person's risk of catching a cold.

Stress can affect us in various different ways, often as emotional, mental and physical symptoms.

Understanding what your particular symptoms are is one of the best tools for stress management.

Getting to know these will help you become more aware of when you are stressed, so you can take action and do what you can to reduce it before it becomes a serious health concern.

Here are some tools and techniques to help you manage stress better:

  • Increasing your communication skills and being more assertive (learn to say no when your schedule
    is already full).
  • Using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, clinical hypnotherapy, or yin yoga.
  • Exercising frequently will help to decrease stress and promote relaxation.
  • Making time for self-care will help you develop emotional resilience. 
  • Making time for hobbies and fun activities will help to alleviate stress.
  • Assessing your diet and reducing the amount of sugar and caffeine.
  • Having a daily gratitude practice will help to shift your mind and body to promote relaxation.

If stress is impacting your life, you may need further support. Hypnotherapy is becoming well-recognized and growing in popularity. 

Hypnotherapy is perhaps one of the least understood therapeutic tools. While most people think of hypnosis as taking the power away from the individual and getting them to quack like a duck or bark like a dog, scientifically speaking, this is untrue.

The person stays conscious while in trance, no matter what is claimed. Nobody can hypnotize you without your consent or awareness.

In a hypnotherapy session the client may feel a sense of ease, calm and very relaxed. This includes reduced muscular tension, lowered blood pressure, and comfortable breathing.

Deep regenerative relaxation hypnotherapy is highly effective. Reversing built up stresses and tensions that are normally unrealized.

This relaxation therapy is comfortable, safe, and considered to be a highly liberating experience. It’s beneficial for both the mind and the body, easily diminishing common health concerns.

The key benefits from this type of deep relaxation are:

  • Improving concentration and mood
  • Boosting confidence to handle problems
  • Improving sleep quality as much as 80%.
  • Reducing activity of stress hormones
  • Reducing muscle tension, pain, headaches & migraines
  • Increasing blood flow to the brain & major muscles
  • Greatly lowering fatigue
  • Help to restore and strengthen the immune system
  • Lowering of blood pressure
  • Stress relief and the lessening of chronic pain, tension
  • Diminish any emotional upsets

?Hypnotherapy is often used to help increase your confidence and self-esteem making you feel more comfortable with the ability of setting healthy boundaries and saying no to people. These are essential tools for managing stress.

Michael van Soest is a Kelowna hypnotherapist. Visit: https://consciousharmonics.ca or email [email protected] 

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Welcome to Writer’s Bloc, an opinion column for guest writers to share their experiences and viewpoints with our readers.

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