How can Hypnosis Help with Stress?

Question

A lot of my friends are always complaining that they are “stressed out.”  Can hypnosis help?

Answer

Like everything else your response to stress is a learned behavior, a habit.  Some things that trigger stress begin in childhood and are related to specific things such as going to the doctor or a general pressure to be Number One.  Others are related to current pressures or fears.  Sometimes stress may not seem to be related to anything at all.  While some people think they strive on stress, they are all actually using the anxious energy to drive them forward in a way that will cause them to mentally – and possibly physically – collapse.  Through a few sessions of hypnosis you can always lighten one’s current stress level, but sometimes, that is not enough.

While it would be nice to get rid of stress by what causes it, that’s not always possible.  Everyone has to see a doctor at some time.  Life gives us difficult situations that can’t be resolved for a long period of time or you can’t always leave a job even though your co-workers, bosses, or responsibilities are overwhelming.  In these situations, dealing with the stress comes from two directions:  techniques that help the individual control the feelings of stress and suggestions that adjust their response to outside triggers.

The one technique that helps everyone is to get them deeply hypnotized and create a Special Place in their mind where they are absolutely calm, comfortable, and safe.  I work intensely with the imagery of the place, not just what you see, hear, and touch, but the more primitive smell and taste.  The trick is to have them feel so relaxed and secure that even the concept of anxiety can’t arise.  Then that feeling of calm is tied into an anchor, usually pressing together the thumb and first finger of the non-dominant hand.  The suggestion is given that whenever they press their anchor, the calm and safety of the Special Place will flow throughout their body, washing away all feelings of stress.  Or, they can close their eyes, press their anchor, and take a mini-vacation.  This quickly becomes a valuable tool a person can use for the rest of their lives.

While there are many things that people can do to take control of their stress they are all, of course, much more powerful if they have been instilled and reinforced in hypnosis.  I start with calming breathing techniques, teaching how to relax one’s body, and, finally, self-hypnosis.  I also use this, my favorite breathing technique, for sleep and anxiety.  All you need to do is take very deep breaths through your nose using your abdomen inhaling “CALM,” hold it for a moment, and then exhale through your mouth as though you had a straw there and exhale STRESS.  After you pause, then start again.  Imagine the Stress leaving your body never to return.  I generally recommend doing CALM and STRESS twice and then at least 2-3 repetitions using C-A-L-M and S-T-R-E-S-S.

Stress caused by job issues, relationship problems, problems stemming from childhood, and more, need to be addressed directly.  Very often the problem at work is with the boss or a co-worker.  I usually block the person to those people’s negativity.  Then I retrain so that instead of responding with stress, they remain extremely calm.  Relationship problems need similar treatment, but often you have to work on getting the strength to start directly addressing the problems with the other person.

Incidents that occurred in the past have to be attacked in many directions.  You have to give people general calming tools and block them to both external AND internal negativity.  But because the negative emotion causing the stress comes from the inside, you have to work with the memories of what initially caused the stress.  Sometimes you have to search for them before you can desensitize them.  Then you cut the emotional connections to the incident and the trigger.  Ironically, very often what triggers stress may not even resemble what originally caused it.

The other things that people can, and should, do on their own is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and make sure they get in approximately 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.  This not only keeps your body and mind healthy, but it releases endorphins, the brain peptides/neurotransmitters responsible for putting you in a positive mood.

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About Susan Franzblau, C.Ht.

A hypnotist since the age of twelve, Susan began by hypnotizing friends to relieve physical pain. She then used hypnosis to help people with anxiety and panic attacks. When she realized that hypnosis was her vocation, she decided to get a professional education in hypnosis and ultimately graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, the first nationally accredited college in hypnotherapy. After discovering that guided imagery is proven to be the most effective technique for helping people cope with stress, acute anxiety, and Post-Traumatic-Stress Syndrome, she has become a master level guided imagery therapist. Certified Pre- & Post- Surgery Hypnosis Certified Past Life Regression Advanced studies Post Traumatic Stress Disorders Smoking Cessation Weight Management/Healthy Living Pain Management Stress Control

Posted on July 25, 2012, in Basic Questions About Hynotherapy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. In general, I like the process you describe here. I am curious, however, about why you refer to taste and smell as more primitive senses.

    • Smell was the first sense developed in the brain and is located in the same place in the brain that works with emotions, memory,and creativity. Taste may have come a little later, but if you know anyone who’s lost their sense of smell will tell you food tastes bland and unremarkable. For a hypnotherapist, especially when evoking images, smell is essential. Think about the ocean. The sun, the sand, the water, the sound of the waves… Then think of the smell of salt water rising up from the waves on a breeze. Most people respond to this more strongly in that their noses will actual twitch sometimes.

      Personally, I don’t think I could write a good love-making scene without some good scents and heady aromas — the smell of passion, etc. The song “I Smell Sex and Candy” was cute, but would never have done so well without being so evocative.

      • Hmm, I didn’t know that smell developed before hearing in utero…Interesting. It’s odd, since I actually have an over-active sense of smell (so many people have told me), but I often don’t write about odors during sex scenes. Thinking of them makes it impossible to write them because so many do agree with me…

        But this isn’t about me. I can see how evoking all the senses helps one create an accurate and believable safe haven in the minds of patients. Sounds similar to the mind journeys we take during some of our rituals for the Pagan celebrations..

      • It’s not so much when it develops in utero it’s that it was the very first sense to develop period in any living thing which is why where it’s located is called “primitive.” Yes, brains are cool. What’s probably even more similar to Pagan mind journeys are the actual imagery journeys I do. There’s one whole series that’s metaphysical and another called mythological or, as we named it, “Who’s your Dragon?”

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