Hypnotherapy for Stress

You can release and prevent stress in your life through Hypnotherapy. Stress deeply affects a person’s thinking, emotions, body processes and behaviour.

Stress affects everyone to different degrees. The effects of extreme stress can leave people with feelings of being unable to cope or function properly. Stress negatively affects both the mind and body.

By resolving the underlying thoughts / feelings causing the stress and releasing the emotion tied up, then the body and mind will return to homeostasis (balance).

There might be one cause or several. If one area of our life is out of kilter, it is likely to have a knock on effect on the others, including:

  • Relationships

  • Work

  • Play

  • Intellectual and Spiritual Growth


It is often the case that there is a predominant stressor, which affects all others. If the main stressor is dealt with, then often the other minor stressors resolve themselves.

Stress Introduction:


This information section gives a basic overview (not exhaustive) of the physical & psychological effects of stress as well as the common causes. There is a brief introduction to the key emotions, which contribute to stress and the interplay of these emotions with our central and autonomic nervous systems.


There are two key types of stress:


  • Eustress - Challenges

  • Distress - Problems


A little bit of stress “Eustress” is a good thing as it keeps us motivated. Distress is the negative form of stress, as we perceive something as a problem or a threat. Perception is incredibly important - depending on how we view something or our feelings about something (externally or ourselves) will dictate the type of energy we send into a situation, as well as the changes, which take place in our bodies. A question to ask yourself "Am I threatened or challenged?" - through hypnotherapy you can change your perception of a problem so that you are no longer threatened by a situation or perceive danger.

Physical effects of stress include:


  • Increased heart rate / heart problems / heart attack

  • Accelerated breathing / difficulty breathing / tight chest

  • Disruption of sleep patterns

  • Disruption of digestive / eliminative processes / sexual function

  • Sweating

  • Muscle tension

  • High blood pressure / raised blood pressure with acute stress

  • Weight problems

  • Skin conditions

  • Asthma

  • Ulcers

  • Headaches

Psychological / Behavioural effects of stress include:


  • Anxiety

  • Panic attacks

  • Irritability

  • Distorted perceptions – suspicion / apprehension

  • Cognitive deficits – attention / memory

  • Depression

  • Insomnia

  • Drug abuse / Addiction

  • Suicide

Common Stressors:


  • Changes in personal relationships, bereavement, separation

  • Financial situation – Money worries, taking on loans / unplanned expenses

  • Health of self or significant others

  • Workplace – mergers / redundancies / downsizing / bad working conditions / relationships

  • Taking on roles where responsibility exceeds common resources.

Hans Selye (1907 – 1982) – Stress Pioneer:


Hans Selye was the great pioneer of showing the effects of biological stress and came up with GAS – General Adaptation Syndrome.


GAS – General Adaptation Syndrome:


3 stages of coping:


  1. Shock / alarm – initial perception of threat

  2. Coping – activation of resources to deal with stressors

  3. Collapse:

  • Recovery from collapse requires high level of input

  • Important to manage resources to avoid collapse

  • Monitoring and development of self-awareness important


Stress needs to be caught early on to reverse the effects, as once collapse happens it is much harder to recover.


Stress & Emotions:


To better understand stress, we have to look at the direct correlation our emotions have with our bodies.


Peter Mutke M.D. suggested there are three key emotions we need to identify with: FEAR, ANGER & GUILT. Each emotion has several sub-emotions listed under it>

When we feel any feeling or associated feeling of Fear, Anger or Guilt, whether we are consciously aware of them or not, certain physical responses take place in our system.








Stress & Nervous System Response:


There are two nervous systems, which play a pivotal role in our physical and mental response to Fear, Anger and Guilt.


  1. Central Nervous system​

  2. Autonomic Nervous System:

  • Sympathetic

  • Parasympathetic


Central Nervous system:


The Central Nervous System deals with Conscious Assessment, Memory, Emotion and Voluntary Motor Activity (i.e. raising your arm to scratch your neck).


Whenever there is a perceived threat, our Autonomic Nervous System (see below) kicks in and our bodies automatically jump in to action firing off different signals, which our bodies react to accordingly by releasing chemicals including Adrenalin & Cortisol. The reason for this is the basic instinct of primitive man was survival. At that time, our conscious evaluation (part of the Central Nervous System) was not deemed developed enough to deal with “Life saving functions of fight or flight” (Mutke 1987).


Think back to a time when you were really frightened or worried, did your evaluation and decision making abilities go out window? Now a little bit of fear is no bad thing as it sharpens the senses and one's alertness, however it’s all about measure and balance (See Eustress & Distress).


Due to the development over time of our critical reasoning minds and emotions, as well as societal rules, expectations, values and demands, we now consciously and subconsciously suppress both our emotions (Anger, Fear, Guilt) and our autonomic nervous systems responses to those emotions. The result is living in a state of physical imbalance / stress with unresolved emotions, which we attempt to deny.


As well as emotional suppression, we are also in a society which medicates heavily making the emotional suppression easier e.g. pain killers, anti-depressants and alcohol each of which can have negative effects on the system. The more obvious one alcohol acts as a temporary analgesia (anaesthetic), the overuse of which can cause damage in our systems including impaired liver function and the body’s ability to repair itself.

Autonomic Nervous System:


There are two parts of the Autonomic Nervous System: the sympathetic and parasympathetic, which act in a balanced opposition to one another (Mutke 1987).


The autonomic nervous system controls / regulates all the muscles, organs and glands, which are independent of our will or under voluntary control – no conscious direction necessary.


  • Digestive System

  • Heart and Blood Vessels

  • Respiratory System

  • Gastrointestinal Tract

  • Genitourinary Tract


Our natural survival mechanism is governed by the Autonomic Nervous System.  Our ANS still reacts in the same way it did in early man. However due to the development of our critical reasoning mind (part of the Central Nervous System) and the development of our emotions (now more complex and intertwined with our thoughts) we have learned to suppress our Autonomic Nervous System response.


Fear, Anger and Guilt directly affects our Autonomic Nervous System and how it controls these natural functions by either altering or inhibiting their functions (e.g. raised heartbeat and suppressed digestive function).


If any feelings of Anger, Fear and Guilt persist by us either not expressing or releasing them, then catharsis does not take place and our bodies do not use up the hormones released in our system (e.g. adrenalin / cortisol). This means our system stays in a constant state of high alert and greatly interferes with our bodies natural processes governed by the autonomic nervous system.


Many people do not even acknowledge the feelings in the first place, which trigger our autonomic nervous system in to action. It is as if they become accustomed to high states of stress. In the worst case, they are not aware of the emotions or the physical affects taking place.



How can Hypnotherapy alleviate Stress?


If you have read the different sections in “About Hypnotherapy & Hypnosis”, you will have by now have a clear picture of what Hypnotherapy is and how it helps.


Directly relating it to stress, quite simply if you resolve the cause and release the emotion tied up, then the body and mind should return to homeostasis.


As previously mentioned there might be one cause or several. If one area of our life is out of kilter, it is likely to have a knock on effect on the others. Again, the four key areas of life beyond basic survival are:


  • Relationships

  • Work

  • Play

  • Intellectual and Spiritual Growth


It is often the case that there is a predominant stressor, which affects all others. If the main stressor is dealt with, then often the other minor stressors resolve themselves.


Beyond resolving the thought / emotion imbalance, there are several other key areas which might also need to be addressed:


  • Diet (both food and drink)

  • Exercise

  • Relaxation


As part of the hypnotherapy session work, these areas can be included and incorporated into the programming. So, on the one hand you will resolve the underlying feelings attributing to the stress and on the other programming through a guided recording will help will help implement the key behavioural life changes necessary to bring about your desired results. If you change the thoughts and pictures in your mind, it will change how you feel, if you change how you feel it will change how you behave which will bring about a different experience.

Session frequency will vary depending on the nature of the problem. In most instances two to three session will be sufficient. There is no definitive as every person is different.

Self-hypnosis training is also available for clients who find it very hard to consciously relax see Self-Hypnosis and Conscious Control. This will assist you in achieving immediate relaxation at any point in the day or night.  Byproducts of stress are tension & insomnia and the self-hypnosis taught will also be immensely beneficial for those with these symptoms.

If you are suffering from Stress & Anxiety have a look at the comprehensive 28 day Freedom from Anxiety Program.