by Laura King
Did you know that stress has been shown to cause or contribute to several serious health risks? If you'd like to do something proactive to reduce the level of stress in your life - and hopefully improve your health - mind-numbing drugs or drastic lifestyle changes are not your only options. Many people have found a better way: The safe, natural, relaxing power of hypnosis and self-hypnosis.
Stress is widely believed to be a leading cause of heart disease. It can increase the pumping action of the heart (heart rate) and cause the arteries to constrict, impeding the flow of blood to the heart. Also, stress can often signal the body to release more fat into the bloodstream, thereby raising cholesterol levels. For women, chronic stress may reduce estrogen levels, a key factor in women's cardiac health. When stress levels are high, blood pressure also rises, causing more work for the heart muscle and leading to an increased risk of stroke. Finally, people coping with stress often turn to unhealthy habits such as eating foods high in fat and salt, tobacco use, and alcohol abuse, all of which detract from good cardiac health.
Pain is another common result of stress. Consider that stress causes our muscles to constrict and become tense, and that many people who are experiencing high stress levels often complain of chronic back pain. Tension headaches are another form of pain that many researchers have linked to stress. Some research indicates that victims of tension headaches might actually be biologically predisposed to translate stress into muscle contraction! Stress has also been suggested to be one of the causes of migraine headaches.
Studies have suggested that severe stress is associated with the onset of depression or anxiety. In fact, one study showed that people who experienced a stressful situation had nearly six times the risk of developing depression within that month. For sure, stress can diminish the quality of life, simply by reducing feelings of pleasure and accomplishment. Another demonstrated effect of stress is insomnia, which keeps people from getting the sleep they need, thereby often leading to a higher incidence of stress the following day. . .a viscous cycle.
Stress also has significant effects on the operations of the brain, specifically memory, learning and concentration. A typical sufferer of stress often experiences loss of concentration both at work and at home, frequently leading to unhealthy professional and personal relationships. Short-term memory loss has been linked in numerous studies to acute stress. Perhaps even more alarming, a 1999 study of middle school students showed that stress seriously inhibits learning.
Many people feel that the level of stress in their lives is having negative effects on their health or in their relationships. Stress can also make people lash out at those they care about. Many people turn to medication, which for some might provide a temporary solution, but in the long run does nothing to address the root causes of the stress they feel. On top of that, there is often a certain risk level attached with taking prescription medication, which includes the chance of side effects and the possibility of becoming dependent upon the drug.
The first step that most people take to combat stress is to use their logical mind to seek out sources of stress, and then attempt to remove them. Examples of this would be quitting a job that causes unhappiness, or ending a tempestuous relationship. These might be perfectly acceptable choices and could certainly go a long way toward easing stress, but again they are just a beginning. In order to affect long-term, lasting positive change in stress levels, people must look within themselves to improve the way their body and mind react to situations around them.
A safe, effective, and empowering way for people to take control of their lives and train the mind for positive change is through the use of hypnosis and self-hypnosis. Hypnosis is a proven and time-tested way to help people achieve their goals. Put simply, through hypnosis techniques, a person is relaxed to a point where their subconscious mind is far more open to positive suggestion than it is normally. In this highly receptive state, it's possible to "re-program" the way you react to stressful events and situations. In so doing, you can stop stress before it hits you, as opposed to trying to make it go away after the fact.
If you would like to experience the benefits of hypnosis, your doctor can probably recommend a qualified practitioner in your area. There are also several licensed hypnotists on the internet who offer audio programs that you can try in the privacy of your own home. Either way, it should be comforting to know that there is a safe and natural way to reduce stress. Here's to your health!
Laura King is the Founder and President of Summit Dynamics, LLC., a provider of self-hypnosis audio programs. She is a certified hypnotist and certified sports hypnotist, as well as a licensed NLP practitioner.