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WHAT IS STRESS?

Stress arises when individuals perceive that they cannot adequately cope with the demands being made on them or with threats to their well-being. Stress is a normal part of everyday life that can help us learn and grow. However, problems can occur when level of stress that an individual experiences becomes overwhelming or out of control. In this situation, the individual is unable to cope and does not to possess the necessary skills to combat their stress.

If stress is not managed efficiently performance at work will suffer and relationships may become strained. Prolonged unacceptable levels of stress can lead to serious illnesses and depression.

An estimated 80% of modern diseases originate from too much stress and costs the UK £11 billion annually. Forty million days are lost to British industry annually due to stress and coronary heart disease is now the biggest killer.

The first step to treating stress is to recognise the symptoms.

Symptoms: Common stress symptoms can be categorised as follows:

  • Inability to concentrate.
    This is one of the early symptoms of stress and can cause difficulties with organisation both at home and at work.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
    This can make life very difficult and unless the underlying stress is dealt with can undermine self confidence.
  • Feeling of being unable to cope.
    Many people trying to cope with stress find that they are overwhelmed by simple tasks that used to come easy to them. This can be very worrying to someone who was always used to coping.
  • Lack of self esteem.
    This can lead to difficulties with relationships and can lead to the avoidance of social situations.
  • Sleep disturbance or insomnia.
    Insomnia is a debilitating condition because in addition to causing anxiety and concern the sufferer finds it increasingly difficult to cope during the day.
  • High blood pressure.
    Stress management has been shown to be effective in reducing hypertension. Sufferers should have their blood pressure regularly checked by their doctor.
  • Nervous tics or muscle spasms
    Hypnotherapy and NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) have been shown to be helpful in overcoming these distressing conditions.
  • Headaches.
    Tension headaches are a common symptom of too much stress and these can be helped by the stress management sessions. It is important that people suffering from severe or continuous headaches have a check up with their doctor.
  • Indigestion and associated problems such as IBS.
    Hypnotherapy has been shown to be very effective in providing relief for these conditions. (Research by Prof. Whorwell, Manchester)
  • Breathlessness.
    Stress leads to anxiety states and one of the early symptoms is breathlessness. This is due to the body reacting to stress by raising adrenalin and cortisol levels. (Flight or Fight). Specific techniques can be taught which relieve this distressing condition.
  • Increased dependence on alcohol.
    Many people find that they drink alcohol more during times of stress. This can lead to more problems and eventually to an alcohol dependence. It is important to deal with the problem before it becomes a major concern. Whilst the stress management programme can help with the problem it is not the treatment of choice for alcoholism.
  • Binge eating or lack of appetite.
    It is a well known fact that stress can affect eating habits. Binge and comfort eating can lead to obesity. Dealing with stress can, in many cases, address these issues. On the other hand depression can suppress the appetite. Hypnotherapy is a safe and gentle approach to these problems.
  • Nail biting.
    Nail biting is often worse during times of stress and hypnotherapy combined with the stress management programme can be a fast way to cure the problem.
  • Avoidance of social situations.
    The lack of confidence and self esteem associated with stressful situations can lead to an avoidance of social situations. This in itself can lead to more stress as a person becomes more isolated.
Dealing with Stress

Barbara believes that Stress needs to be dealt with on three levels.

  1. The first is the primary level – how to help someone reduce their stress as quickly as possible as they are probably experiencing physical, emotional and/or mental symptoms. In addition to the symptoms above, stress can also cause anxiety, anger, panic attacks, muscle pain and mood swings.
  2. Once the initial symptoms are under control the secondary level is to help the person tackle the underlying reason for the problem. This can include helping them to look at things in a different way and communicating their problems. This dual approach has a lasting effect on improving health and well-being.
    • Stress may be caused by work pressure, relationship difficulties, bereavement or too many stressful events happening at the same time. Barbara’s approach is caring and efficient and leads to rapid improvement.
    • It is estimated that unacceptable levels of stress contribute to a large percentage of illnesses requiring drugs, absenteeism, hospitalisation and premature death.
  3. With corporate stress we need to look at ergonomics such as noise pollution in an open plan office, air and temperature quality, travel stress to and from work, angle of chair and desk and adequate lighting
Barbara has helped hundreds of people from all walks of life with their stress issues and in the corporate world has helped people whose stress has led to “burn out” recover and get back to work in a relatively short space of time.