The symptoms of negative stress are well known to us, and include:
- Increased irritability
- Heightened sensitivity to criticism
- Signs of tension, such as nail-biting
- Difficulty getting to sleep and early morning waking
- Drinking and smoking more
- Loss of concentration
As James Tighe of BBC Health points out:
“Stress in itself isn’t necessarily harmful. Everyone needs goals and challenges. But too much can be damaging. In our current society, people are increasingly experiencing too much stress, or what could be called ‘negative’ stress. This is the type of stress that can make you feel overwhelmed and jittery. Stress is a well-known trigger for depression and it can also affect your physical health.”
Stress has always been a part of our daily lives, beginning with the fight or flight response we inherited from our early ancestors. Many of our stresses are natural everyday responses to situations where are bodies react in a somewhat stimulated way. This type of stress could be viewed as “positive” or “necessary” stress because without it we would probably lead quite inactive, dull, and directionless lives.
There are a limitless number of triggers for stress, however the following are some of the top causes: any sort of loss, bereavement, divorce and separation, a child leaving home, long-term illness and disability, marriage, moving to a new house, beginning a new job, the holiday season, and work.
We all have a level of stress, including negative stress, which is manageable for us. This level will vary from person to person and is dependent upon a number of factors like self confidence and esteem, stability of lifestyle and relationships, and unresolved issues from our past. So as long as we keep our stress levels below our individual limit, we are likely to be able to function effectively.
However, if we are operating at our individual limit all the time, any additional stress (even something very small) may tip the balance and move us from a position of experiencing a manageable level of stress, to a situation where we are feeling completely overloaded or out of control. What is important when thinking about our stress levels is whether our response to it is appropriate. Equally important to consider is the degree to which stress is beginning to seep into all aspects of our lives.
How Hypnotherapy Can Help
If you are suffering with stress that is related to a specific event like making a long journey or being particularly busy, then hypnosis and suggestion therapy could enable you to reduce your worry or anxiety and let you feel more in control. Hypnosis can provide you with a greater sense of self, boost self confidence and esteem, and help you build on your belief in yourself. From hypnosis, you can create a strong visual image of yourself being calm and self-assured. Hypnosis is well documented as being wonderfully relaxing and effective at reducing stress levels. IAPH therapists have substantial experience of helping people to reduce their worries and stress in relation to specific events, and you could need just one session a week or two before the event in question
Stress Management & Stress Busters
Get Your Zzz’s!
You’ll be well equipped to handle the holiday chaos if you’re well-rested, and you’ll be irritable and anxious if you’re not. It’s a myth that people require less sleep as they grow older.
“Sleep is a personal thing. Some people require more than others,” Dr. Rosenberg says.
Look back over your life history to see what your sleep pattern is, suggests Rosenberg, and stick to what makes you feel best — six to eight hours nightly keeps most adults refreshed and alert. If you or your grandchild can’t unwind after a hectic day, “try a bowl of oatmeal,” says Rosenberg. “It will help you feel tired.” Still feeling sleep-deprived and frazzled by mid-afternoon? Slip into your bedroom for a 30-minute nap and hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. A study from the National Institute of Mental Health found that sleepers who anticipate a disturbance don’t release prolactin, which is associated with deep relaxation.