Tips for Reducing Stress (Part 2) - Your Stress Response and How You Can Manage It
Updated: Sep 13
"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another"
~ William James
Welcome to the second part of my blog on tips for reducing stress. This time around I am going to discuss the principle of one of my favourite books 'Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers' (The Acclaimed Guide To Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and coping') by Robert Sapolsky. This will give you an understanding of stress and what you what you can do about it.
The main concept of the book is that us humans are more likely to get ulcers than Zebras. Why? Because for animals like Zebras, the most upsetting things in life are 'acute physical crises'. An example would be when the Zebra gets chased down by a Lion - endangering its life. This is an extremely stressful event, that requires immediate physiological adaptations if the Zebra is going to live. That the human body's responses are brilliantly adapted for handling this sort of an emergency. However every day worries emotional problems and social disruptions, e.g. a row with a family member, losing a parking spot, paying the mortgage, etc., can lead to sustained psychological stress. And if you spend months on having anxiety over some emotional problem (most of which will most likely never happen) this might very well lead to illness. When we sit around and worry about stressful things, we turn on the same physiological responses as that Zebra running for it's life - but they are potentially a disaster when provoked chronically.(1)
A large body of evidence suggests that stress related disease emerges out of the fact that we over activate our 'physiological system' that was meant to function and respond to 'acute physical emergencies', rather than worrying about mortgages, bills, promotions, etc. In the 1930s scientist Hans Salye observed that his lab test rats had peptic ulcers, enlarged adrenal glands and shrunken immune tissues, caused by, he found out, by just chasing the rats in order to inject them. He basically discovered that if stressors go on too long they can make you sick, or at least have the potential to do so. (1) The stress response (the 'flight or fight response' described in part 1 of this series) is activated, not only in response to emergencies but in expectation of them. In other words constant anxiety, worrying and ruminating over ones problems = Chronic Stress.
It is also important to understand the concept of 'Homeostasis' - the body has an ideal level of oxygen, acidity and temperature that it needs; and when something in the outside world (a 'Stressor') knocks you out of that homeostatic balance, the stress response is what your body does to reestablish that 'homeostatic balance'. Activated long term, the 'stress response' can be more damaging than the stressor itself and lead to the stress related diseases and complaints (described in part one of this blog series).
Okay so this is all very interesting I hear you ask, but what can I do about it? The answer is lots! Equipped with the proper knowledge and tools, you can cope with and manage both the 'Stressors' and your 'Stress Response'.
There is hope! We can start by changing the way we cope with and manage the 'stressors' and our own 'stress responses'. Once we do this we empower ourselves in so many ways. Studies have shown that having more responsibility, a different perspective, and control in your life helps. The good news is that my Reduce Stress Hypnotherapy program covers all aspects of reducing and managing stress :)
Many people are struggling in their lives because they are so focused on the 'effect' and as a result they continue to place responsibility outside themselves, instead of taking responsibility for their thoughts, emotions and behaviours as the actual cause. You can reclaim responsibility for your life and once you take ownership of the fact that you are responsible for where you are now and where you go from here, the sky's the limit. This change of mindset is highly empowering because then you know you can create a new effect, that can take your life in a positive direction. If you really want to change, the mere act of booking my hypnosis program will do wonders. This is because the change has become important enough to you that you are already half way there! You have taken responsibility for your success!
A Different Perspective
It is important to find ways to view even the most stressful of situations as holding the promise of improvement. Stand back from your problems and see the bigger picture. We all can make mountains out of molehills. A change of perspective can make a big difference, and hypnosis is a great tool to help one change perspective. Hypnosis can provide a platform for that change of perspective. Soon you will be looking at problems instead as challenges, highly motivated to find solutions for each.
People who cope with stress successfully tend to seek control when it comes to current stressors, but do not try to control future events that are uncontrollable and do not try to fix things that are not broken, or control things that have already some to pass. You can do this too by controlling your thoughts and emotions. Hypnosis will communicate your subconscious mind, which can help to create new neural pathways to positive states and feelings of being calm, relaxed and in control, all of which will help you to cope and manage each and every 'stressor' in your life.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog and have learned a little more about Stress and Stress Management. Please join me next time for my part 3 of my series on 'Tips for Reducing Stress' when I will be going into detail of the different techniques, such as a 'Simple Breathing Exercise', 'Mindfulness', 'Self Hypnosis' and 'Anchoring', that I use as part of my hypnotherapy program, to put YOU in control of not only your 'Stressors', but your 'Stress Response'.
Sapolsky, Robert M.., Why Zebras Donlt Get Ulcers' (The Acclaimed Guide To Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and coping') THIRD EDICTION (2004), St. Martins Griffin Publishers
© Trevor Eivers 2021
My name is Trevor Eivers and I am based in Waterford, Ireland. I am a Certified Consulting Hypnotist (since 2010) with the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH), which is the largest hypnosis body in the world with over 14,000 members in 83 different countries worldwide. I am also a Certified NLP practitioner. I love my job in which I help everyday people with everyday issues. Contact me at 086-8211677 or check me out online at waterford-hypnosis.com or Facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trevor-Eivers-Hypnosis/177881245578285