This blog looks at how stress works at a subconscious level. So you can decide to program your mind to have the appropriate amount of stress, at the appropriate times. And then have the ability to switch off excess stress, and switch on relaxation.
Stress and Your Subconscious Mind
Stress and relaxation are a natural part of the cycle of life, run by our subconscious mind. Just as our circadian rhythm runs the cycles of sleep and wakefulness during waking life, we also have cycles of stress and relaxation.
This recording focuses on situations when you know, “I don’t need stress in that situation, or for that duration” but your conscious realisation doesn’t stop excess stress.
Helpful and Unhelpful Stress
Stress can be helpful and appropriate, called eustress.
Our stress response turns on to energise, motivate and focus us for a specific event. We have the right amount of stress response for the right amount of time. Then we switch off the stress response and switch on the relaxation response.
Stress can be unhelpful and inappropriate, becoming excess stress.
When we have too much stress, it becomes counter-productive. We freeze up, get demotivated, or lack clarity so act inefficiently. We can have the stress for too long, so it becomes a near constant background factor in our lives.
Our Stress Goal - The Right Amount At The Right Time
It’s important to start by setting the goal skilfully and clearly. We are not trying to get rid of stress, or never have stress. That is not possible or desirable. We are deciding to have the right amount of stress, for the right amount of time. And the right amount of relaxation, for the right amount of time. We need stress to deal with specific situations efficiently. Once the situation is over, we need relaxation for long term general efficiency. So we can leave behind the significant consequences of excess stress.
Effects Of Stress - Physical
So why manage stress, and balance stress and relaxation?
Excess stress creates wear, tear and strain on the body.
Stress can block the body's natural ability to rest, rejuvenate and heal itself.
The immune system is weakened so we’re vulnerable to get colds, fatigue, headaches, aches and pains, and disturbed sexual desire and sleep.
Studies have linked stress as a contributing factor in many diseases from IBS and high blood pressure to heart disease.
Excess stress is a lack of ease, that over time can create disease.
Relaxation is a necessary rejuvenating state of being at ease.
Stress is connected with our subconscious fight or flight mechanism. You don’t have to consciously analyze, decide and motivate yourselves to deal with a threat. Stress hormones automatically release into the body, raising focus, strength, and stamina. Your heart rate, breathing and nervous system all speed up, while lower priority subconscious functions like digestion are shut down. For millennia this involved escaping from physical danger like predators or warriors. We released this energy as we fought or ran for our lives.
Effects Of Stress - Mental & Emotional
In the modern world threats are now more psychological than physical, more of a threat to our ego than our body, to our livelihood than our lives.
Even if we’re just verbally attacked, the body gets a shot of the stress hormones. But it’s not socially acceptable to respond directly with the fighting or running that we were designed for. So the stress isn’t released or used, but stays with us. It can become frustration and irritation, which is a form of repressed fight. Or anxiety and depression, which is a form of repressed flight.
Studies have linked stress as a contributing factor to anger, anxiety and depression. Excess stress creates wear and tear on the mind and emotions.
The Relaxation Response
The antidote to the stress response is the relaxation response. Yet many popular ways of dealing with stress only create the illusion of relaxation. Much of what we think of as a way to manage stress actually just leads to different form of stress. Excess alcohol, drugs and food can seem to reduce stress, but just weaken and create even more wear and tear on the body and mind.
Much of what we think of as relaxation is actually stimulation.
TV, movies, and computer games. Sports, work-outs or social interaction. They can be sources of positive stress, and lead to relaxation, but they are more stimulation than pure relaxation.
Motivation For Less Stress And More Relaxation
I meet a lot of people who are suffer from excess stress, yet they see stress as vital to their professional success. They tell me that they would rather stay stressed, than risk being more relaxed and less successful.
Or they would rather continue with their personal positive stress activities. They prefer constant stimulation to doing any genuine relaxation.
Many people also belief that they are not good at relaxing - and this can be a firm limiting belief. It is very easy for people to sell counterfeit relaxation, because there is so much demand for it. At certain times, we need to take the mentality of;
”don’t just sit there, do something”,
and turn it around to
“don’t just do something, sit there.”
Just enough to get the balance of the stress and relaxation response, for the long term highest good.
Consequences of Excess Stress
Now is the time to convince yourself that you have decided to manage stress because you authentically must.
What are your compelling reasons for less stress and more real relaxation?
As we go through these questions you can pause to think it through. And you can think of more and deeper reasons after this is finished.
What are the three worst things about excess stress for you?
1) Does it effect you more personally, impacting on the quality of your relationships?
2) Does it effect you more professionally, impacting on your work success and enjoyment?
3) Does it effect you more physically, impacting on your health and longevity?
Does it wear you down?
Do you find it tiring, get worn out, and eventually burn out?
Do you get de-energized, demotivated and lead to backing away from or avoiding things?
Do you perform below your ability, and get into a downward spiral, and feel low?
All this can be a form of the flight mechanism, where we internally run away.
Does it fire you up?
Do you find things irritating, frustrating, and have anger that you keep inside or express?
Does this create an inconsistency, so a lot of good work can be undone by a moment when you act out of stress?
All this can be a form of the fight mechanism. We may get away with 'fired up' behavior, even profit from it, but it can end costing us all that we gained and more.
Be specific, and recall three examples that fit for you. The worst things about stress that impact you now, or could impact you in future. So you remind yourself of why you’re reading now. And convince yourself to reprogram your mind for less excess stress and more real relaxation. It’s in your power to build up a clear intent to be free of excess stress, and say enough is enough to those old stressed out habits.
What Will Be The Three Best Things About Less Excess Stress And More Real Relaxation For You?
Are they personal, professional or social?
Better relationships with others, and yourself?
Energy. Health. Lightness. Strength.
What do you really want?
What will less stress and more relaxation give you?
Once you have thought about your relationship with stress, and decided to choose to have excess less stress, you can listen to the hypnosis recordings in the Less Stress Hypnosis Program, which include the individual hypnosis downloads; 1) Less Stress Now 2) Get Past Stress and 3) Relaxation.
You can also check out these free downloads, especially Relaxation Inspiration, Future Self Hypnosis, Hypnosis for Flow States, and Progressive Muscle Relaxation, which are complementary to stress reduction.