Sources of stress are all around us and therefore are unavoidable. We can become stressed by other people, happenings in our personal lives, pressure we put on ourselves, and events in the world at large over which we have no control. Some people are stressed by not having enough to eat, and others are stressed because they eat too much. Some people are stressed by having too much work to accomplish, while others are stressed because they do not have enough to do. Some people are stressed when they do not have control of a situation, while others are stressed because they are responsible for running the show.
Unfortunately, sometimes measures people take to cope with stress end up causing more stress. Examples of such behavior includes overeating for comfort, using nicotine, weed, or drugs as coping mechanisms, engaging in self-harm, and lashing out in anger or frustration.
Even though stress is something we perceive and process through our minds, it can affect both our minds and bodies. Stress can cause anxiety, depression, fatigue, high blood pressure headaches, stomachaches, muscle aches, flare-up of skin conditions such as eczema, and can affect our ability to function well such as during competitions or during school tests. Too much stress can even cause heart attacks, strokes, and disruptions in the immune system that can lead to auto-immune disease such as lupus and even cancer.
The good news is that since stress first affects us through our thoughts, we can take control of how we think, and this will help reduce our reaction to stress. In other words, exposure to stress is unavoidable but we have the ability to control the degree to which it affects us.
How to Deal Better with Stress through Counseling
The first step is to identify whether the cause of our stress is within our control. If so, sometimes it is possible to change our circumstances so that we are not as stressed. For example, if stress is the result of an argument with a friend, talking things through can help relieve the stress. If stress is the result of an impossible work situation, changing jobs can help. If you are feeling overwhelmed because of too much work, taking things one at a time can help. On the other hand, if stress occurs because of a world event such as climate change, there may not be much that we can do. In such a situation it is worthwhile to recall the Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to tell the difference.
Another way of dealing with stress is to learn to look at stressful life events in a positive manner. For example, rather than thinking of an illness as an unfortunate situation that sets us back, an illness can provide us with the time to reflect on what is important to us in life, and perhaps how we might recalibrate our future plans to better align with our long-term goals. In addition to mourning the death of a loved one, we can also recall how enriched we were to have that person in our lives.
To help counter the physical changes that can be associated with stress, we can practice good life habits including getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, maintaining a good weight, and exercising regularly. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs often is helpful. Not surprisingly, these good habits reduce the risk of many stress-related illnesses such as heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes.
Other measures to help with stress include using deep breathing, meditation, listening to music, relaxing the muscles, and taking time out to take a bath or even spend time in nature. Engaging in creative activities also helps decrease stress such as painting, journaling, crocheting or making music.
Hypnosis for Stress
Since hypnosis can help change our mind-set it is an excellent tool to improve our reactions to stress. Hypnosis can be used to help people remain calm in the face of stressful events,
Through hypnotic interactions with their subconscious, people can learn to identify their stressors and how to better cope with these.
As described previously within these blogs, hypnosis can also help improve conditions that worsen our reactions to stress such as anxiety, depression insomnia, and obesity.
Take Home Message
Use of hypnosis and counseling can help greatly improve our control of our stress reactions.
About Center Point Medicine
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