Stress management

This weeks blog is contributed by Monica Black, Breathe London’s hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner.

Over the next couple of weeks  I’ll be taking about stress , and the causes and symptoms related to Stress

The Dictionary of Nursing Oxford Reference 1992 says that:

“Any factor that threatens the health of the body or has an adverse effect on its functioning, such as injury, disease or worry.  Constant stress brings about changes in the balance of hormones in the body

Stress is a totally normal re-action.  We need stress and it is perfectly healthy in limited amounts, however it becomes a serious risk when it occurs too often.  The results of which may result in emotional and physical burnout.

However no two people will re-act to stress in the same way.  What may be a positive stressor for one person could be a negative stressor for another – or to quote an old adage “What’s one mans meat is another man’s poison”. Not only that but each individual’s reaction to stress can vary, depending on the state of health, circumstances etc at the time of the stress occurring.

We humans respond to stress in one of two ways – fight or flight – .  In primitive times there was really only a few things that “stressed us out”, for example finding food, fighting enemies such as maybe the saber toothed tiger – basic survival instinct stressors.  This was what we call a fight / flight response i.e. stay and fight the tiger or run for our lives.  The decision was a simple one and the stress was over in a few minutes so the body could return to normal.  Today, however this is not so true; we have far more stressors to contend with, for example noise, money, relationship problems, financial worries, a frightening experience, bad news the list goes on and on. Our general health depends mostly on how we are able to fight stress and disease and depending on our body type, personality and lifestyle stress can trigger a range of health problems.

“Although the exact role of stress in human diseases it is not known it is clear that stress can lead to certain diseases”.    (Tartora & Grabowski)

Stress related disorders can include such illnesses as gastric ulcerated colitis,  IBS, peptic ulcers, hypertension, asthma, rhymathoid arthritis, migraine, anxiety and depression.  It has also been shown that people under stress are at greater risk of developing chronic disease or dying prematurely.


To give you an idea of  what’s happening I’ll describe stress very simply.

The nervous system is divided into 2 – the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous system – (think of it as a see-saw with the sympathetic system being the up and the parasympathetic being the down.

The sympathetic system is when all the = adrelin, cortisol, noradrelin and other chemicals and hormones are whizzing around our body.  That’s when we are stressed  – flight or flight mode.   Naturally we need stress to keep us going, but when we get an overload of it, that’s when things start to go wrong, and we get various symptoms that stress brings.

The para-sympathic is when everything is running at an even keel. But if it was always the predominant one nothing would get done and we’d all be walking around as if drugged.  Stress is good for us but we do need to keep an even balance, and recognise when it is engulfing us, so we can control it.

To do that try the following, it should help:

  1. Lie down with your feet elevated above your head, maybe raised on cushions.

2        Turn off the phone.

3.       Get rid of pets, partners and any nuisances that may be around.


If you’re the sort of person who gets “ants in the pants” and can’t relax after 5 minutes – then do it for 5 minutes. If you can do it for longer then great.

If you want to play some soft soothing music that’s fine go ahead

Don’t fall asleep.


Everyone has a “favourite place” they can go to so take yourself off on a mental holiday.  You’ll be amazed how much better you feel.

Basically what is happening is that you are allowing the sympathetic to calm down and the para to take over. If you can do this on a daily basis that is tremendous.

But remember if you can’t don’t force it – ‘cos that will only make you more stressed and that that’s defeating the object.

The reason your feet are raised is that it gets the circulation going which will bring more oxygen to all parts and organs as well as the lymphatic system will get going which helps to get rid of toxins easing those aches and pains.


Slow down and breathe slowly and from you stomach

Next time we’ll  have a look at the various different causes of Stress, which in some form or other we have all experienced and can relate to and most definitely recognise.

Book a session with Monica at Breathe London in Waterloo



Posted on March 28, 2012, in Coaching, Meditation etc. and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. whether you are having challenges at work, because of divorce, with your spouse, with your kids leaving home or being at risk for using drugs, or even a combination of these, it is imperative that you take steps NOW to release stress from your body

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