Stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands. It has been known for years that elevated cortisol levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, cause weight gain, increase blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce libido, and cause heart disease. Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase the risk of depression and mental illness and lower life expectancy. (For more info on the stress effects on the body: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-body.aspx)
Different occupations are more demanding than others, and in work, stress is recognised to be one of the main causes of sickness absence from work. Research suggests that about half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress that they believe is making them ill.
So how do you combat stress?
There are options, such as exercising more, avoiding caffeine, drinking less and eating a good diet. But the mental health side is quite often neglected – the “keep calm and carry on” attitude can only get you so far.
Hypnotherapy can help address your stress and anxiety levels. With the help of a hypnotherapist, you may be able to identify the true causes of your stress. After discovering the root of the problem, you can then agree upon a goal, which could include how you would like to feel and what you would like to do in life without the stress holding you back. Your hypnotherapist will then work with you to achieve that goal using a variety of different techniques.
On a less analytical level, visualization and imagery techniques offer another avenue for stress reduction. These techniques involve the systematic practice of creating a detailed mental image of an attractive and peaceful setting or environment. When guided imagery is paired with physical relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, the aim is to associate the sensations of relaxation with the peaceful visual image.