In hypnosis, clients often come to heal anxiety or depression stemming from a past traumatic incident, but how do we go about managing stress as it happens? It comes down to two basic principles – training your brain to overcome the stress response by raising your ability for calm; and releasing stress as it accumulates. This way, you maintain a level of control.
Inappropriate stress can lead to a weakened immune system and it can damage you emotionally, and physically. I’m sure you’ve heard of stress as the silent killer? This is no understatement. In a former life, I experienced years of relentlessly stressful events which eventually led me into hypnotherapy, but not before some major damage was done. I am still working on the physical impacts stemming from a dysfunctional immune system. Many of my symptoms are unlikely to ever disappear. The good news is that I can manage them with the help of hypnosis and strict attention to diet. If I had known about managing stress as it happens, back then, I would have been able to avert this situation.
Managing stress as it happens is less about exploring past trauma, unless of course the current stress is part of a pattern, created earlier. The more you ‘do’ stress, the better you get at it. It becomes almost automatic. It becomes a habit. Like any muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it is. So, your job now is to flex your muscle for calm, and to become really good at that. By focusing on raising your ability for calm, you are concurrently retraining your brain to create less stress, rather than more.
Three simple techniques for managing stress as it happens
- Scan your body and sense where the stress begins. It will usually be in the head, chest or stomach. Acknowledge that stress feeling. Say ‘yes’ to it. Own it! Now turn it into a coloured mist, so that you can see it. Say ‘yes’ to it again. Now place an open window over the source of that stress, and let just a little bit of it out. Scan the mass of mist that is left to notice what it feel like now that some of it has gone. Repeat this process a few times until all the mist has left out the window.
- Create a boundary around yourself to buffer you from the outside stressors. See this post for details
- Listen to a hypnosis recording or do a meditation every day/night for one month, and preferably ongoing, on a less rigid timetable. Through repetition, the unconscious mind will learn that you are practicing calm and focus instead of stress and loss of control.
Managing stress as it happens is a discipline. If the stress is part of a pattern then breaking that pattern will also be important and I strongly suggest you seek the guidance of an experienced hypnotherapist to help you with that.