Stress has been called a disease of cultural sophistication. Our distant ancestors didn’t know stress as we understand it today. Their less complex environment, while certainly more dangerous than ours, and lacking in modern conveniences and comforts, was more suited to a “flight or fight” response, which offered them the opportunity to act on their impulses in a way which we deny ourselves, by virtue of our many cultural inhibitions.
Primitive peoples, when confronted with threats to their physical safety, had the choice of fighting or running away; both actions were fueled by, and consumed, body/brain chemicals, so that either choice guaranteed the dissipation of any long-term accumulation of these. Biologically, we and our earlier ancestors are much alike, and the “flight or fight” response is still very much a part of our natural rhythms. However the threats we face today are not usually immanent threats to our physical safety, but more likely to our dignity—our sense of ego—and since our cultural bias precludes the options of either fighting or fleeing, we are left with an overload of body/brain chemicals and no way to dissipate them. Essentially, this is the origin of the “new disease” of stress.
A stranger jostles us rudely on the street. Less than 100 years ago, this slight to our sense of self would have been settled with a heated verbal exchange, a fist fight, or perhaps even a shootout, thereby resolving the issue immediately. Today, given the same situation, we are more than likely to feel a jolt of righteous indignation followed swiftly by a searing rush of adrenaline—and then our cultural prohibitions cut in to remind us that we have no recourse, we actually have no socially acceptable option but to pretend to ignore the slight and act as though nothing had happened. Here we are, primed by our nature for a confrontation, but prohibited from engaging in one. The result is stress, stress, and more stress.
Our employer promotes an obviously inferior co-worker to a position of prominence. Some fool in an SUV the size of an earthmover cuts us off in traffic. One too many telemarketers calls while we’re trying to watch our favorite TV show. The brother-in-law from Hell asks to borrow money. You get the picture. One event after another annoying, frustrating, infuriating us . . . and there’s nothing we can do to purge the toxic accumulation of body/brain chemicals. Stress, stress, and more stress.
But the picture isn’t all bleak. Hypnosis is the antithesis of stress. That “fight or flight” response—engagement of the sympathetic nervous system—has a natural counter: the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as “rest and digest.” Interestingly, virtually every single one of us is familiar with “fight or flight” but rarely does the everyday person have knowledge of “rest and digest.” Hypnosis is the key to tapping the benefits of the parasympathetic nervous system—our mind/body’s inherent, yet virtually ignored or forgotten, rejuvenation system. Not only can hypnosis provide immediate stress relief by triggering rejuvenation in this manner, it actually encourages the mind and body to relax completely, actually to FOCUS attention on the act of relaxation by repetition of calming, soothing suggestions. And, through even deeper suggestion work at the subconscious level, hypnosis can promote dramatic changes in the way we interpret our environment, eliminating many of our preconceptions about what we find frustrating, infuriating and, thus, stress producing.
Although we are capable of an infinite number of choices, most of us have unconsciously narrowed our options down to only a few; we have a “knee-jerk” reaction to people and situations in our environment and we have come to believe that these are unavoidable and inevitable. What hypnosis can do is to reacquaint us with our true nature as choice makers and remind us that we do not need to be bound to our old habit patterns and reactions, but are actually quite capable of choosing different, more helpful and life-affirming responses to the situations and people we encounter in our lives.
Many people would be skeptical if told that being cut off in traffic need not evoke a stress-producing reaction, but through hypnosis—and its amazing ability to allow us to “reprogram” ourselves at the subconscious level—not only is it possible to avoid experiencing stress in such a situation, we can actually teach ourselves to take such a situation and turn it to our benefit. Imagine for a moment how refreshing it would be if every person and situation in your environment to which you now react with anger, or some other unproductive, stress-producing emotion, suddenly became your personal trigger for a smile and a flood of calming, relaxing emotions.
If this sounds too good to be true, that’s only because you haven’t yet understood the amazing power of your own mind to transform your life in any way you desire and intend. Stress-free living can be a reality for you. With hypnosis, it’s all within your power to achieve.