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  • Rachel Crawford

Stress: Friend not Foe

Maintaining the delicate balance of stress v relaxation in this complex modern age requires the sort of maintenance that can be likened to fine tuning an instrument: too little tension leaves potential untapped, while excessive strain risks damaging the finely woven fibres of our being.

It is in navigating the visceral and emotional responses to challenge and then practising the response that is the most beneficial for us that we find the perfect balance between pressure and release, and where our resilience is forged and our capacity to thrive flourishes.

Learning this skill can be greatly helped by understanding perception, or our interpretation of events. In one research study, Keller, Litzelman, Wisk et al (2012) tracked the deaths of Americans over an 8-year period. They identified that 182,000 died not from stress itself, but the belief that stress is bad for you. The researchers suggested that individuals who had the perception that stress has a negative effect on their health, accompanied by a large volume of self-reported stress, had an increased risk of premature death.

Hypnotherapy can help us view those physiological changes in our body (racing heart, shallow breaths, "butterflies" in the stomach,) as us becoming energised, rather than fearful, excited not anxious. Reframing our responses in this way can preparing us to tackle the challenge head on, with a calmer, more controlled mental stance . By training ourselves to view stress responses as a positive, wherever possible, we can begin to feel more confident, happier and healthier.

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