We all suffer from stress, and in some instances it can be beneficial. Some experts believe that in small doses, it can actually enhance and improve cognitive brain function. Continued stress, however, can put a drain on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Over time, it can contribute to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, as well as mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Here are five strategies that could help you regain control and let go of unwanted stress:
1. Acknowledge your feelings
When you suppress your anxiety, it has the unfortunate ability to find other ways to manifest itself. In my practice I treat people for a variety of stress-related symptoms: eczema, hair pulling, OCD, depression, over-eating and substance abuse. Stress is a symptom and it serves the purpose of warning you that something needs to change. Much like if you touch something hot: you feel pain and your immediate reaction is to pull your hand away. And you don't want to put your hand back to receive more pain. Emotional and mental distress should be addressed in the way you respond to physical hurt. It's important to listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
2. Understand your triggers
Take time to consider why things are getting on top of you. It's not just major life events that can trigger a symptom, and stress can build up over a long period of time. Do you feel underappreciated at home or at work? Do you have too many responsibilities to possibly cope with? Are you struggling to manage your time or finances? Once you've honed in on what exacerbates your stress, you can then look to finding solutions.
3. Find the root cause
Eliminating triggers can certainly help you to manage your stress, but much like pulling the trigger of a gun that's not loaded, these pressures won't affect you in this way if the root cause has been resolved. So in effect, you need to 'unload the gun'. If you find yourself becoming more anxious, think about which other emotions coincide with that. Maybe inadequacy or insecurity could be pointing to an underlying issue with self-esteem. Or anger could be a response to an unresolved injustice in your past. It's not, however, always obvious what these underlying causes may be, which is where hypnotherapy can be helpful. If the root cause is irrational, then your subconscious needs help to identify and correct the misinformation that's causing it to sabotage you.
4. Ask for help
You're human and limited by your time and capabilities as to how much you can do. There's no strength in suffering in silence. The fear of burdening your partner benefits no one. Sharing your problems helps to build trust and closeness in a relationship. Most of us are so consumed with our own lives that we're oblivious to how much those around us are struggling. Sometimes just having someone to listen to you and acknowledge how hard things have become can be enough to find the calm you need to resolve your own dilemma. You don't always need someone to fix things for you. Equally, if you're concerned about going to your boss with your concerns, consider offering them a solution to your stress at the same time as explaining how difficult things have become. They are far more likely to be open for negotiating if you present them with options and not just problems.
5. Learn to say no
Your mental health is important and it's time you prioritised your own wellbeing. Learning to say no doesn't come easily to those who fear rejection or worry about letting people down. Consider whether your need to say yes to everything is coming from a place of insecurity; an inner need to please people and keep others happy. If so, remind yourself that in the long-run, no one benefits from an overworked, overly anxious and stressed employee, partner or parent.
Susannah helps people to change negative behaviours, thoughts and feelings. As a full-time Hypnotherapist in London, she specialises in resolving the root cause behind issues of anxiety, stress and low self esteem. If you would like more information on how hypnotherapy can help you achieve calm and contentment in your life, contact Susannah at the City Hypnotherapy Centre.