How to relieve stress

Stress is on the increase, particularly in this current economic climate where the media create an atmosphere of fear.   From anxiety, depression, insomnia, IBS to performance on the pitch or in the office I’ve seen client’s stress behind their problem at my London hypnotherapy practice.

Most people are aware of the concept of ‘fight or flight’. This is when the brain dumps a load of chemicals (chiefly adrenaline) into the bloodstream in a situation where immediate action, strength and speed are required to save us from a perceived danger. This adrenal rush can either give you superhuman powers or simply paralyse you, depending on how you handle it.

Stress is one step down from ‘fight or flight’. The same caustic cocktail of chemicals is released, but in a smaller dose. This is done to alert you to a threat, and to protect you, and your body, from harm. It is perfectly natural. The problems arise because modern lifestyles give us lots of stressful situations, but very few releases. So your blood and your gut are full of this caustic cocktail and it gnaws away at your insides.

Two things are certain. One, you will have stress in your life, particularly in the London rat race. Two, this stress has to find an outlet – or it will seriously damage you. Your mind and your body knows this. When the pressure builds your mind seeks release wherever it sees an opportunity. If you try to suppress it, the pressure just builds and builds until the gasket blows. Often this leads to us ‘losing the head’ over seemingly minor things like someone taking our parking space; the child spilling juice; someone jumping the queue etc.

It is vital you find a way to relieve this pressure. Some do it energetically through sport, whether playing or watching; others gently, by walking, reading or fishing; some people meditate, some pray.  What do you find relaxing?  Start doing more of it from today.  We are fortunate in Cornwall to be immersed in beautiful countryside, you may find a walk helps you blow some of the stress away.

At my London hypnotherapy practice I meet people who find find stress relief in all sorts of behaviours such as through drink, or drugs (whether prescription and recreational) but this can also be a dangerous route, and can easily lead to dependency.

One way of releasing the anxiety and stress that builds up is an exercise called ‘7-11’ breathing and it is simply:

  1. Sit comfortably where you will not be disturbed.
  2. As you breathe in count to 1-7 in your head.
  3. As you breathe out count 1-11 in your head.  If you cannot breathe for that long hold your breathe for the remainder of the time.

That’s it!  Do this for 10-15 breathes concentrating on the counting and you may feel the stress subside and feel so much calmer.  If 7 and 11 are too big you could use 3 and 5 instead.  The longer out breathe instigates the body’s natural relaxation response.  The beauty of it is that no-one need know you are doing it so you can do it whenever and wherever you start to be aware of the stress building inside you.

Contact me if you would like help letting go of stress and finding peace and clarity of mind.

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