What are the symptoms of stress?
We all feel stressed from time to time. A little stress can be a constructive motivational factor. We call this challenge stress. Imagine an athlete about to compete. He feels a sense of stress about the competition. This stress will motivate him to do his very best. Spur him on to exceed his expectations.
But let’s imagine he has additional sources of stress in his life: family, work or other issues. Now the added stress of the competition overwhelms him. Challenge stress turns into defeat stress. Rather than spurring him on, this overload of stress actively inhibits his performance both in body and mind. He is now unable to do his best.
Stress affects us, mentally and physically. As a consequence, stress affects how we behave, too.
So how do we know if we’re overloaded with stress? How can we tell if our behaviour and feelings are stress-related?
Physical signs you are suffering from stress
- Pain or tension in your muscles
- Rapid heartbeat
- Upset stomach
- Poor digestion
- Chest pains
- Sexual dysfunction
Mental signs you are suffering from stress
- Poor concentration
- Feeling indecisive
- A sense of being overwhelmed
- Persistent worry
Behavioural signs you are suffering from stress
- A sense of aggravation: snapping at people and feeling irritable
- Changes in your sleep pattern: oversleeping or insomnia
- Over or undereating
- Avoidance behaviour: staying away from particular people or places
- Drinking more alcohol
- Smoking more cigarettes or re-starting smoking
How hypnotherapy can help stress
Hypnotherapy is a combination of psychotherapy and hypnosis. It reduces stress and calms the mind. In solution-focused hypnotherapy, we liken the accumulation of stress to a bucket catching drips of water until it eventually overflows. We experience that overflow as the stress-symptoms outlined above.
Deep relaxation and guided imagery relax the amygdala, the part of our brain most responsive to stressful thoughts and events. This hypnotic process helps you make positive changes in the way you think and is highly effective in relieving the physical, mental and behavioural symptoms of stress.
Jon Creffield (HPD, DSFH, DHP, MNCH (Reg.) AfSFH) is a member of the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the Association For Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council. He is also an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. Jon provides sessions of solution-focused hypnotherapy by telephone, video-link or at therapy centres in Bristol.