Discuss the relationship between stress, anxiety, habits and phobias and describe how you would treat these issues with hypnotherapy.
The above all form part of the human experience and are linked to one another by conditions that come down to what our minds are capable of doing to us, especially when it might involve losing our sense of reason.
Our primal instinct provides us with a ‘fight or flight’ reaction, the outcome being dependent on the actual situation but nonetheless critical to our survival. Some situations we accept as being only superficially harmful to our well-being, especially when we have experienced a similar scenario before, our memories (and therefore our unconscious mind) permitting us to take on board mildly threatening predicaments. However, when we are in a new environment and facing an ‘unknown’ we have to react as only we know how – usually with very little time for consideration of the way we go about this or not knowing what the outcome will be.
The relationship between these four neurotic conditions is undeniable. Our bodies can undergo physical changes (muscles tensing, butterflies in our tummies, heartbeat rising, sweating, increased awareness, senses heightened) as well as psychological ones (becoming focused, fast thinking, emotionally stretched). These changes tend to kick in very fast but disappear once the ‘threat’ has diminished. However, in some instances, there can be a tendency to become caught in a downward spiral, where the physical and psychological modifications produce further upset and worry that can then increase out of control. Even worse, a compounded fear, that of the present fear, would make the symptoms even more difficult to regulate with potential dire consequences.
We all undergo some form of stress and anxiety, in our work environment and even with friends and family. We also like to push our boundaries with visits to fun fairs and horror films. But these are typically acceptable forms that can occur quite frequently (having to meet a deadline at work, having an argument) and allow us to get used to having moments of increased pressure on our psyche.
But the problems increase when our anxieties become more severe and develop into phobias and negative habits. I shall now look at the four prime conditions.
Life without stress would mean we would probably be standing still in terms of human development in many ways, civilisation, culture. There would be little or no motivation to move forward and progress. We all need it to some degree in our lives, but some people certainly thrive on it more than others! The way we respond to it can in some ways be linked back to our parentage and the environment in which we were brought up in. Responses to everyday stress situations are quite normal and can be life-saving. The danger lies when stress becomes a long-term issue, with a cyclical effect playing havoc with our sense of reason causing a deterioration in our capability to function in a positive and effective way; this means danger to our health in both the short term and possibly the long term. This makes it a perfect scenario for the stress-distress cycle to emerge.
Stress can be broken down into distinct types – Hypostress, a lack of motivation, an unchallenging life, a boring existence. Eustress, nominal stress, short-term but useful as it enables us to perform in a motivated way in our everyday lives. Acute stress, we associate this with ‘Stress’; can be treated within 6 weeks. Episodic acute stress, more severe version, taking 6 months to treat with hypertension, strokes, heart attacks and worse being the symptoms. Chronic stress, very serious state with little or no immunity to illnesses and more serious diseases, and possibly taking years to cure. Traumatic stress, sometimes a cumulative version of acute stress, with an added variety in the form of Post Traumatic stress.