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How to manage stress in Singapore

Things aren't always what they seem

Stress changes lives.

If you are here because you are suffering from negative stress (distress) or if you simply wanted to know more about it, then I hope I can answer some of your concerns and questions. If, however, you need more specific information relating to your own particular issue, then please feel free to email me and I will do my best to address your question (email link at the bottom of the page).

The stress response (fight or flight) affects us in many ways and to complicate matters, there are different types of stress, for example, oxidative stress and psychological stress, which is experienced in the form of Eustress (positive stress) and Distress (negative stress). Oxidative stressors can be environmental, too hot, cold, noisy, crowded etc. or through things we eat, which can create free radicals, that is why we need to eat antioxidants etc. Psychological stress, however, is our response to danger, be it real or imagined and this is the form of stress that very often blights the quality of our life but if we have the added burden of a high ambient level of oxidative stress, well, need I say more? Truth be told though, we are not supposed to live in a perpetually stressful environment, be it oxidative or psychological and doing so will eventually impair the quality of our lives.

But this is nothing new, yet despite knowing this very little is being done (big picture) to combat the ravaging effects of these different types of stress. So, what can you do about it? Well, there are a number of things to take into consideration and it's certainly not as simple as just using hypnosis or thinking of solutions about the future, although they are of course important factors. First and foremost we need to address the fundamentals, it just makes everything you do a lot harder if you don't. So what are the fundamentals? Number 1 on the list, is, we have to learn to breathe properly (more about that here), we also have to keep well hydrated and we must feed our brain the 9 amino acids that it cannot synthesise itself and they can only come from what we ingest! Of course, we will manage to survive if we don't do these things but we want more than mere survival, we want to thrive and that's where my stress management programme can help you!

Everything you need to know about managing your stress is included in my programme and that includes an advanced hypnotherapy technique, which is an integral part of what you will experience in my therapy This method is tried and tested and it is much more effective than just focusing on the roots of the problem or focusing on the future. For sure the past likely played a part in creating the problem and the future will play a part too but life is a now, in the moment experience and that is an area I pay particular attention to. Life is a trilogy of the past, present and future and this means that learning to experience life as it is happening becomes imperative. The past merely guides us to where we need to go to understand the probable root causes and how it evolved over time. As we progress, becoming mindful of now, we begin to learn new ways of being and then to observe and experience life. This enhanced method of self-discovery and inner learning is what allows us to hone into the process of life as it is happening and from there a better future becomes a collateral effect of that process!

Because there are many ways to help people with distress (stress), you'll naturally want to know which is the best for you; won't you? Well, I can tell you from experience, as a client myself and as a therapist, now, that one of the most effective ways is by using hypnotherapy and here's why!

Stress is perhaps, the most pervasive feeling of the modern day lifestyle and yet, it is as old as life itself. Primarily stress is the brains response to sensory stimuli, (anything that is, or perceived as, dangerous or life-threatening), that occurs nonconsciously, i.e. outside of our conscious awareness. However, the 'feelings' we associate with stress, are something else entirely because they are actually a part of several separate brain systems and, collectively, these are fairly unique to humans. For us, this means that it is actually possible to be (dis)stressed without having any conscious awareness of it and often, that also means that we are unaware of the specific causes of our distress. This lack of conscious awareness can affect our behaviour in ways which may allow us to believe that others are the source of our problems (if it wasn't for you syndrome) when in reality, they may just be responding to what they see as our dysfunctional behaviour! Overreacting to events or responding in ways that are out of context or too severe, i.e. above and beyond what would be deemed a reasonable response etc. are also characteristic traits of a chronically stressed person. As is tardiness, making more mistakes than normal, poor judgments, bad decisions or irrational emotional responses etc.

Another aspect of what we call stress is anxiety, anxiety is the anticipation of danger or something fearful. But no matter whether we are suffering from stress (an actuality) or anxiety (a possibility), the system behind these experiences is the same, it's our fight or flight response and this is activated in the brain when the amygdala stimulates the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). It is also worth mentioning the Locus Coeruleus (LC), a small structure in the brain stem, which mediates the HPA axis and also plays a considerable role in mediating the way our body responds to stress, both emotionally and cognitively. This is important because the LC is the main producer of noradrenaline and this function is more or less disabled during REM sleep and REM sleep signals the start of PGO waves (more about that below)! The stress response (fight or flight) occurs in a few milliseconds and happens outside of and before we could possibly have any conscious awareness. However, it has to be said, that under normal circumstances, this system works extremely well to keep us safe and has no known long term effects, the caveat being; we are only supposed to experience it now and then, specifically, when we are in danger or under the threat of attack or if there is the potential for injury. But when we become chronically stressed (unless we are in a perpetually dangerous environment, e.g. somewhere like Iraq or Syria), the system is just not functioning normally and we become hyperaroused, overreactive and snap at the slightest thing!

Some examples of modern life stressors are:

  • you are in debt and interest rates rise, making an already bad situation worse
  • you're in your late 40's/50's etc. and get retrenched and feel threatened by younger people in the job market
  • you become obsessed with the amount of negative news you hear every day but look at the news sources even more (a confirmation bias)
  • you are in line for a promotion and a someone new, maybe a colleague, that everyone likes, including your boss, shows up and you feel threatened
  • you grow distant from your family and believe your spouse or partner may be cheating on you
  • you begin to get feelings of paranoia and believe people are out to get you
  • you start having some health issues, e.g. forgetfulness (which is a symptom of stress) and think you may have the onset of dementia
  • you seem to have more arguments than usual and people start avoiding you
  • you may have an undiagnosed condition or suspect you have one (hypochondria)
  • etc. etc. etc.

These are just a few of the many ways that modern life can affect our mental health but there are many more and the symptoms of stress are just as many and varied. This can be paradoxical because the stress response follows a known and predictable pathway (as mentioned above, the HPA axis), yet the way we each experience and respond to the stress response can take many forms and affects us in many different ways. To find out more about the symptoms of stress or anxiety, go here

Stress becomes a problem for us when things go awry or when we face problems or think we do! The brain begins to experience non-threats as threatening and what can make it worse still, is when there is no visible or practical prospect of an endpoint or outlet for the fight or flight response. For example, you work under a tyrannical boss, long hours, few breaks, impossible deadlines, toxic colleagues or managers, or just a downright unpleasant or maybe a dangerous environment. This is the stuff that chronic stress is made of. However, there are ways to change the reaction your brain and mind have to these circumstances and that comes under the banner of "Stress Management!" Managing your stress is imperative in reclaiming a normal life and, as you begin to change, the way others respond to you can also change, that has the potential to make people appear less hostile or less toxic!

Hypnotherapy is a method of communication with the brain's unique language, the subconscious mind, this happens primarily via the auditory cortex, which then activates many of the brains sensory systems. Once the transition from our wakened state to sleep states occur, the brain is then in specific brainwave phases and it is during these phasic states that I can then stimulate your imagination to simulate many different sensory scenarios, e.g. visual, kinaesthetic auditory, olfactory and gustatory. The degree to which I can align your issue, with the most prevalent sense(s) related to it, is the degree to which a resolution is achieved and habituation occurs! This can happen through suggestion or embedded command, directly or indirectly. Then, in your everyday life, a posthypnotic suggestion assists in the process of long-term potentiation (the stuff of habits) until the firm establishment of synaptic plasticity, new neural networks/connections, takes over. Essentially a new version of (mind/ brain) language directs your brain to respond differently, more normally, and appropriately, to everyday sensory stimuli. So, in order for real change to occur, it has to occur within the brain itself!

So, in this sense, the instrument of hypnotic change is derived via communication (my voice to the mind/brain), that then stimulates a process of electrochemical transmission that occurs within the brain. And what we term, the subconscious mind is slightly misleading because the place where all of our emotions, memories and behaviours live, is in the brain itself. Although thought can usefully be considered an aspect of the mind! The mind (brain language) is merely the communication system that alerts different brain systems to become active (excitatory) or inactive (inhibitory). What, I believe, makes us different from other mammals, is that we have a complex system of spoken language and this becomes an interface between the world we live in and how we process that in the brain. That is why nice pleasant and complimentary words generally make us feel good (although in some minds they can arouse suspicion) and harsh hurtful, derogatory ones make us feel bad, maybe angry too! In essence, the mind can omit, distort and/or generalise language at deeper levels, what John Grinder/Richard Bandler referred to as deep structure language. In essence, hypnotherapy rebalances the structure of our deeper, subconscious, language and that allows the mind to better communicate with its host, the brain!

To expand upon my theory of the mind, I have come to the point of separating what we call the subconscious mind from the brain. What we term, "the mind" is not an anatomical construct, it is merely a theory that explains something, somewhat beyond comprehension, that brings about action. Imagine you are at the scene of an accident, someone (brain region A) telephones the ambulance service (brain region B), which initiates an action being taken. The action being taken by regions A and B caused an outcome, the telephone call (the mind) that initiated both actions was the method of communication that made it happen yet it was not part of the physical action. So, in the case of stress, the main parts of the brain that are involved, are the amygdala, hypothalamus, pituitary gland and, in the body, the adrenal medulla (albeit there are other areas involved too). And when stress becomes a disorder, is when memory and sensory systems in the brain (real anatomical structures) become adversely affected and the mind (brain language) then communicates a message, across several regions, that elicits a feeling at a level perceived in consciousness, which can then perpetuate itself through memory and sensory stimulation (these conscious aspects, could be considered as our thoughts).

While we can't always choose our circumstances, and sometimes we can't change the ones we choose either, Trans4mational Therapy Centre's, brain stimulation, stress management programme can provide you with new ways to choose how you respond to the way your life unfolds. Because it's when we make better choices that life becomes more pleasant, more exciting and more fun! So, if you want to change the way your "inside", responds to your "outside," hypnotherapy is well worth a try; all you have to lose is "Your Stress!"

 

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