Stress is our internal reaction to outside stimuli. Literally hundreds of factors can cause stress–from noise to resentment, from lack of sleep to poor diet, from fatigue to emotionally upsetting events. Through my experience as a psychotherapist/hypnotherapist, I understand the great importance of shifting out of the stress response as soon as possible. This is due to the fact that when stressed, the nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones including adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine through activating what is known as the HPA axis. This a complex set of relationships and signals that exist between the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenals. Prolonged stress overwhelms the adrenal glands and causes other negative effects on the body such as reduced immunity, headaches, digestive issues among other effect which interferes with the perfect healthy programming of the body. I would like to offer some ways to help relax the body and mind when experiencing stress.
So the first step is relaxing the body, there are many ways we can do this. I believe one of the most effective ways is to begin breathing in deeply and slowly , as you feel the lower belly rise and then exhaling slowly. Doing this five times will help the nervous system to shut down the flood of stress hormones in the body.
Then begin to move up the body and relax the shoulders, feel them slump and relax. Slowly moving up to the lower jaw, where many us hold tension. Feeling those jaw muscles relax as you begin to move up to the eyes, allowing all those tiny muscles and tissues in and all around the yes to become very relaxed . Then moving up to the forehead, feeling those muscles become loose and relaxed.
As the body relaxes, we can then calm the mind. Begin by closing the eyes and taking a deep breath. Imagine there is a room in your mind with a dimmer switch, this switch can slow down or turn off your thoughts. Locating the switch and when you are ready, turn the switch down or off completely. Knowing that you and you alone have control over the switch and can turn it back on whenever you wish. As you feel calmer, imagine that you have a calm, still lake in the center of your body. A peaceful , clear lake filled with fresh, still water. Let yourself feel as calm and still as this lake. Pause for as long as you like. When you are ready to return, simply turn your switch back on and slowly open your eyes.
Learning self hypnosis is a another great way to reduce stress. Self hypnosis is a centering and grounding technique. It also increases the production of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which releases chemicals that are calming to our minds and bodies. Just fifteen minutes of self hypnosis not only releases serotonin, is centering and grounding but also is equivalent to one hour of deep restful sleep. Suggestions given in self hypnosis begin to take root in the unconscious mind permanently replacing past negative messages. So we begin to take back control of our lives, learning how to relax our minds and bodies when we begin to feel any fear, stress or anxiety.
Please visit my site: www.womenstherapeutic.com
for a free mp3 stress reduction download, a pdf on further stress reduction techniques and also information on learning self hypnosis.