“You mean I can feel less stress in 3 minutes”, my client recently asked me incredulously. I actually had a breakthrough with this client, and was able to help him feel much less stress in 3 minutes. He found relief from some unwanted and acute stress very quickly.
My client said he is not getting his work done. When he is about to work at his computer, he gets triggered and goes into stress – he feels intense fear, is frozen, can’t think, feels numb, and often feels some panic.
This stress, he told me after our hypnosis session (more on this later), is from a memory when he was about 4 years old and he felt he would only be safe if he didn’t move. This memory is vague in detail and he is not sure what specifically triggers the stress, but it is a very powerful experience.
He described many of the signs of extreme stress and it was very clear that his fight or flight response mechanism had been activated. I said “what you are telling me sounds physical.” He said “it feels physical!”
His access to change and relief was available by working directly with the stress in his body, I realized, rather than the memory or his feelings or how he was experiencing the stress mentally.
I first explained to him what was happening in terms of his body’s stress response, which provided some immediate relief by helping him see that he was actually in control, even though it didn’t feel that way.
When we feel threatened or sense danger (real or imagined) our stress response mechanism puts our body into high alert mode and prepares us to deal with the threat.
I taught him diaphragmatic breathing which made a big difference very quickly, helping him calm down as we sat there and he practiced it. He actually felt significantly less stress in 3 minutes. He said he was surprised and grateful.
Next, I did a hypnosis session for him which had a further positive impact, helping him gain greater awareness of how his stress is triggered.
A sense of not being in control is one of the primary underlying factors in stress and many negative emotional states. The symptoms he experienced are a natural part of the body’s fight or flight mechanism, and they’re a direct result of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which are released when we perceive danger.
Diaphragmatic (or deep abdominal) breathing is a simple yet powerful technique that can help you move from acute stress to a relaxed and calm state within just a few minutes. It is then possible to focus on the task at hand, free of stress, anxiety, fear or anger. Diaphragmatic Breathing involves taking a series of slow breaths combined with calming statements which speak to the sub conscious directly and help us shift to a more positive emotional state.