Reducing Stress Reactions

Everyone gets stressed from time to time, but if we remain in that state for too long, it can lead to all kinds of health problems.

The definition of a stress reaction is any time we consciously or unconsciously feel threatened in some way and don’t think we have the resources to cope.

This could be anything from ”I haven’t got time/ money/headspace” to deal with something, or of course, it could be more intense like coping with a major life event like an illness, death, divorce or even a marriage and birth”.

The fact is, it’s about what happens in our brains, and the the corresponding chain reaction. A stress reaction means that we are suddenly operating from the more primitive part of our brain which is designed to ensure our survival (fight, flight, freeze) but in today’s environment is often inappropriate and unnecessary.


There are lots of signs and symptoms of being too stressed out that it’s easy to ignore because we become so used to them. Have a look at this list and see how many of these you relate to:


• Your relationships are suffering because you are edgy, irritable, overly sensitive and don’t communicate well.
• Your work is suffering because you become forgetful, disorganised, confused and procrastinate.

• Your health is affected with frequent colds, infections, unexplained allergies, and digestive complaints like heartburn, irritable bowel, stomach pains and nausea.
• Your sleep is often disturbed, with nightmares or upsetting dreams, or insomnia.

• Your energy levels are low. You feel fatigued, exhausted and overwhelmed.
• You are physically tense - often getting headaches, body aches, jaw clenching and muscle spasms.

• You are emotionally tense from excessive worry, guilt and even panic attacks.
• You are vulnerable to drinking excessively, smoking or using drugs.


Luckily just as there are many sources of stress, there are also many ways you can learn to chill out, calm down and relax …

Meditation and Stress Management Techniques can help you to:
• Recognise what you need to change and how you can change.
• Reduce the intensity of your emotional reactions to stress.
• Learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress
• Identify how you can become more resilient to stress
• Clarify realistic goals for your life and work.


Some of the Tools I Use and Teach Are:

EMOTIONAL FREEDOM THERAPY (EFT)


This wonderful and easy to learn technique, often called “The Tapping Technique ” is growing in popularity with clinicians and the general public alike.
It’s easy to learn and curiously very effective for treating a number of issues, such as:

Stress
Anxiety
Worry
Unresolved trauma
Emotional and mental blocks

You can check it out yourself by watching Nick Ortner’s movie The Tapping Solution. There are also numerous demonstrations of varying quality on the internet. Like all tools, the quality is in the user, and how it is applied. I do not think it is a panacea for every ill, but I have witnessed many startling changes in my clients and myself, specifically in the areas of phobias, trauma, and anxiety. Most people report that they feel extremely calm after using the technique , and this is always a good thing.

What I really like about EFT is that you do not have to “go back to” , remember or share details of any trauma or issue if you don’t want to. You are free to express as much or as little as you are comfortable with, and that’s a great bonus.

Another very positive aspect of EFT is that you can use it on yourself safely at any time. Once you have learned it, it’s a tool for life.


CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPY

I have been practicing hypnotherapy for 15 years. Like many people, I was initially curious about whether it could help me achieve my goals. I was also nervous, because my only exposure to it had been in the movies and once, in my early twenties, as a stage hand, for a Hypnotists’ Stage Show. I watched, night after night for three weeks, people coming up on stage and doing extraordinary things, and I really thought that being hypnotised meant losing control, and having someone else take your mind over. Many years later, I was introduced to it as a psychotherapeutic tool, and, learning about how it really works opened my eyes to the real benefits of a very powerful tool for healing. Since then, I have studied extensively with some of the very best teachers in the world today and I love introducing people to it.


BRAINSPOTTING

…. is an exciting new brain based therapy which is used for rapid change and the treatment of stress, anxiety, addictions, chronic pain, trauma (PTSD) both chronic and acute.

Developed by David Grand PhD, a clinical social worker in New York, it is an evolution from EMDR, the popular brain based therapy used by clinicians all over the world to treat trauma and other mental and emotional difficulties.

What I like about Brainspotting is that it allows you to process in a private way. There is no requirement for you to reveal details of any distressing event or to talk about it in any way (unless you want to), thus avoiding the trap of re-traumatisation that can so easily happen in talk therapy. Many people find this a great relief.

I have completed both Phase 1 and Phase 2 training in Brainspotting here in Australia, and am very excited to be able to use it regularly and with the amazing results people are getting. I really think these Brain based therapies are the future.