Since the dawn of mankind, stress has had a very significant effect on how we react in any given situation. Our early ancestors faced very real hazards on a daily basis resulting in the development of stress responses to enable our survival against predators and aggressors. We are hard-wired to respond to perceived threats, and we do this through the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
In reality, we rarely face life-threatening situations, but we still have the in-built automatic response which activates when our minds perceive we are in danger, regardless of whether the threat is ‘real’.
Local hypnotherapist Liane Ulbricht-Kazan wishes to highlight the dangers of prolonged stress on our psychological and physical well-being. Hypnotherapists often see clients who are exhibiting the stress response as a result of a heavy workload, fast-paced lifestyle, financial pressures, worst case scenario thinking or relationship issues.
Liane explains “In this sense, we’re not that far removed from cavemen. We are using the same part of the brain to react to perceived danger as they did and even though a company restructure, divorce or exams are not life-threatening, they are the kind of situations that will cause people to become stressed in the same way and intensity as a cavemen being attacked by a big wild animal.”
When we’re under threat, we secrete adrenaline and cortisol, which have a profound effect on our bodies. Adrenaline increases the heart rate and raises blood pressure. Cortisol increases sugar levels in the blood. It also suppresses the functioning of internal systems, such as our immune response, digestion and reproductive system. And our moods are also affected, impacting on motivation and generating fear.
Prolonged stress can even effect our short-term memory. In a recent study, researchers from the University of Iowa found a link between high levels of cortisol and the gradual loss of synapses in the part of the brain that processes short-term memory. Synapses are connections that process, store, and recall information. Repeated and long-term exposure to cortisol can cause them to shrink and disappear, potentially contributing to mental decline and memory loss as we age.
Liane’s clients report a wide range of stress-related conditions, including anxiety, digestive problems, high blood pressure, sleep problems, weight gain, concentration problems and decision-making impairment.
The Hypnotherapy she offers can help clients lower their stress levels by helping them to relax, giving their mind and body respite from the hormonal onslaught. Then, by using solution focused therapy techniques, she supports them to respond to their situation week by week in an ever more constructive way.
“Part of my job is to help clients recognise that they have a choice about how they structure their lives. If they feel stuck or trapped, I can help them to identify options and help them take the steps necessary to implement the changes needed.” comments Liane.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy teaches you to move out into this expansiveness and helps you understand that you are not your primitive mind, but you are actually your intellectual mind. That part of your mind that knows calm, knows clarity, knows happiness and knows creativity.