These days there is no shortage of people telling you just how they feel stress and anxiety on an almost daily basis . Life seems to have increased in pace considerably over the last decade and the perceived causes for this vary from mobile telecommunications, the boom in tablet computers and laptops, the recession and the internet.
It seems to have been accepted as a fact that stress is a real thing that comes from external sources. How often have you heard someone say “They’re putting me under a lot of stress at work” or “He always stresses me out when we meet each other”.
What if I was to tell you that stress does not exist?
You might think I’m mad to say that in the face of so much evidence that stress is out there and exists but I’m being serious.
Stress does not exist. Well, to be more accurate, it is not inflicted on you from an external source. The ‘stress’ you experience comes from inside you, inside your own mind. You imagine the stress and then allow yourself to experience it and then allow that experience to affect you physically and emotionally.
The proof that stress comes from within you can be seen in high intensity workplaces across the country. Think of stocks and shares traders as a real life example. In that kind of environment there are individuals who seen to revel in the intensity and pressure. They rise to the challenge and thrive. There can also be individuals who crumble. They feel overwhelmed, incapable of keeping up and stressed. Both individuals are doing the same job in the same place but one loves it and the other can’t handle the stress.
The difference is not the job, it’s the individual and their perception of the job. The stress doesn’t come from the work, it comes from inside.
How can you reduce your experience of stress?
Changing your experience of stress can be as easy as ABCD. The first step is A which stands for Adversity. What is the adversity that you are facing? Write it down in a sentence using straight forward language. For example, “The adversity I am facing is that my boss is putting too much on my plate.”
B stands for belief. What is the belief you attach to the adversity? For example “I believe that the work situation is beyond what I can cope with.”
C stands for consequence. what is the consequence of your belief about the adversity? For example, “The consequence of my belief is that I am feeling stressed and and I’m not sleeping well.”
D stands for dispute. Dispute your belief. For example, “I’m not incapable of handling this because I have dealt with worse in the past.”
This technique can be great at getting a more accurate take on the situation that you are in and it can help you reduce the emotional of the situation which can lead to solutions being more easily identified.
A second technique that can help you beat stressful thoughts is to breathe properly. I know that you are probably thinking that you breathe already so how can you be getting it wrong?
Well the truth is that many people don’t breathe fully and deeply. People who are stressed are more likely to breathe shallow breaths from the tops of their lungs. This can lead to an increase in physical stress on the body which can contriblute to mental stress.
The process of breathing deeply is in itself relaxing. It oxygenates your blood which allows your brain to feel more focused and clear.
This technique has five steps. First is to sit somewhere comfortable where you won’t be disturbed and to close your eyes. Second, breathe in fully, fill your lungs to the top. Third is to breathe out fully. Fourth, on the breaths in imagine you are breathing in the word “calm”. Fifth, on the breaths out imagine that you are breathing out stresses, tensions and unwanted thoughts.
Practice these five steps for five minutes a day for two weeks and there is a great chance that you will be feeling better. This technique enables you to be more focused on the moment while you are in the moment. When in this frame of mind you are less able or inclined to think about the past or worry about the future.
By practising techniques like this you can help yourself to change those old thought patterns and shift into a new phase.
This article is written by Richard Hennessy from Focused Hypnosis the Sheffield hypnotherapy practice. Focused Hypnosis was established in 2008 and have helped hundreds of people to think, act and feel better about their lives.