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Stress and Anxiety and its effect on our physical and mental health

The best way to handle stress is in the moment it’s happening. Of course, most of the time we tend to put it off believing we can wait until later before we deal with it. Unfortunately, by doing this, what we’re actually doing is activating the stress response throughout the entire body, and this is when our health really begins to suffer. So instead of waiting until we’ve finished work, started our exercise class or just chilling out before we do something about it, it really is important to handle it as and when it arises.

It may sound difficult but we really can learn to control our responses to stress – and the more we practice cultivating a quick response, the easier it becomes. Learning to tie our shoelaces wasn’t automatic the first time we tried, not for the majority of us anyway! The same applies when learning to nip the stress response in the bud. If you find it hard to practice techniques and there are many self-help techniques out there for you to try, then you could try the therapeutic route. More about that later.

One of the problems with the stress response is that it can make us do really dumb things! Stress causes the brain to go into what’s known as ‘Cortical Inhibition’ and it can literally limit everything from the way a person moves, to how we see, feel and hear. In a nutshell, this comes about by the stress inhibiting a small part of the brain by blocking the actions from the cerebellar cortexes (cerebral). In other words, when we are calm and relaxed, we can feel and think rationally and coherently. But, when we’re stressed we can say and do dumb things, functioning from the state of Cortical Inhibition….or confusion to you and me!

Ideally, we all want to be able to operate from a place of emotional calm and heightened clarity of thought, with our brains, body and nervous system all working in harmony. Unfortunately, people can actually become anaesthetized to their stress. We can be experiencing the physical symptoms of stress yet be totally numb to it, this is because we’ve experienced it so often we’ve literally become desensitised to it. Daily frustrations, pressures and minor irritations can begin to feel normal. Before we know it those small stresses accrue quickly and the next thing we know (or don’t know) is that they’re affecting our emotional and mental well-being as well as clarity of thought and general health. This only becomes obvious when we react excessively to something, make a bad decision, or even worse when it’s too late and we receive an unwelcome diagnosis from the doctor.

It doesn’t matter how huge, overwhelming or even small the anxiety is, stress is still stress. There are approximately 1,400 biochemical actions that happen each time the stress reaction occurs and this happens to all of us many times a day. That’s 1,400 proteins, enzymes, hormones and pheromones all controlling the stream of information by signalling the flow of energy through our metabolism, phew. If not dealt with, this can cause impaired cognitive function, lack of energy, clarity of thought, premature ageing and our overall effectiveness with our actions.

There are scientifically proven therapies that can rewire the brain, so that before your conscious mind can even think about it, you will be able to counteract the stress response as it occurs. This is where the beauty of therapies such as Hypnotherapy and BrainWorking Recursive Therapy (BWRT) come into the fore, we can use them to literally rewire our brains. You may or may not have heard of our brains neuroplasticity, which put simply means our brains have the ability to change throughout our life by reorganising itself and forming new connections between neurones (brain cells). BWRT, in particular, uses this process and our own individual subconscious processes to dissolve unwanted patterns of behaviour or beliefs and does so quickly.

Thank you to Debbie of Debbie Stanton Coaching and Hypnotherapy for this article. You can read more about the benefits of coaching and hypnotherapy here.

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