Stress Management

These days it is very common to hear the term ‘stress’ in relation to a human in any circumstance. Be it a student, housewife, corporate executive, government employee or even a pensioned person.

Before we look at ‘how we can handle stress in a very simple manner’, without the use of ‘chemical medicines’, let us first recognise the below given symptoms and then fully understand ‘what is meant by stress’.

  1. Symptoms: What does a person feel physically, emotionally and/or mentally when s/he feels stressed? You may feel the below given symptoms in a unique combination for yourself:
    1. Physical
      • Pain of any kind
      • Heart disease
      • Digestive problems
      • Sleep problems
      • Depression
      • Obesity
      • Autoimmune diseases
      • Skin conditions, such as eczema
      • Increased or excessive drinking of alcohol
      • Loss of appetite or anorexia
      • If you smoke - you'll smoke more
      • Increased coffee consumption
      • Substance Abuse
      • Nail biting
      • Muscle tension
    2. Emotional
      • Excessive and continuing irritability with other people
      • Unable to concentrate - (common symptom of stress)
      • Increased and suppressed anger
      • Loss of your sense of humour
    3. Mental
      • Paranoia
      • You can't make decisions, large or small.
      • Not be able to cope with life, feeling out of control
      • Jump from one job to another without finishing things
      • Excessive emotion & crying at small irritations
      • Lack of interest in anything other than work
      • Permanently tired even after sleep - (another very common symptom of stress)
      • Decreased sex drive / libido
  2. Explaining stress

    In the following paragraphs I shall make an attempt to explain the term ‘stress’, so that we can understand “why do we feel ‘we are under stress’?”

    In engineering during the analysis of steel/concrete/wooden structures, we were introduced to the term ‘STRESS’, in relation to the properties of materials.

    ‘Stress’ is an internal resistive/restorative force that gets generated in the material of a structure, when an external force is applied to a component, say a rod, an angle, channel, tube, etc. of a structure, made of any material. As long as the external force is applied-‘stress’ is a resistive force, which balances the external force and maintains the material in a stable state. When the external force is removed ‘stress’ force brings the material back to the normal state, and the ‘stress’ becomes ‘zero’.

    So, while designing a structure/component, the following is done before construction/manufacturing:

    1. Estimation of external force(s) that the element/structure will be subjected to, e.g. weight/load, wind, side thrust, rotating elements, etc. or the combined effect of all of them.
    2. Selection of a material that will best bear the estimated external forces, without failure, under the circumstances of use, i.e. having best internal strength/properties of materials.
    3. Size, shape and aesthetics desired to meet the requirement.
    4. Environmental influence that the component has to bear, e.g. moisture, etc. which can influence the strength.
    5. The additional safety factor to be given to cater for any eventuality, to make it completely safe.

    The main focus being that the structure should not fail under any known conditions of use.

    When failure takes place, we know the ‘stress’ was higher than its designed capability, indicating that the external loading (which generated the ‘stress’) was higher than what the material was designed for/could bear.

    When an analysis of failure is done, it is found that the failure takes place due to one or more of the following reasons:

    • Circumstances under which the component/member is required to function were not determined correctly, or
    • The component was made to function beyond its designed limits/envelope of use.
    • Types and/or intensity of forces operating under the given circumstances of use were not evaluated correctly.
    • Material and/or size of member and/or composite selected was not correct or calculated correctly to withstand the estimated forces.
    • The fatigue element (number of times the load would reverse and the frequency) was estimated wrongly.
    • The stress within the material is not released by keeping the item in a no load condition for a period of designed time for the cycle of reuse.

    Though this is not supposed to be a lesson in engineering design, let us understand the above concept of ‘stress’ as applied to a human.

    In various situations we humans also experience various external forces which are mental/emotional/energy related/physical in nature or a combination of all of them, for example:

    1. Dead Lines of time for completion of:
      1. Defined work,
      2. School admissions,
      3. Studies/preparation for exams
      4. Arrangement for marriage function
      5. Arrangements for events, product launches, press insertions, ad releases, etc. etc.
      6. Sales targets,
      7. Production targets,
      8. Project completion,
      9. House construction,
      10. Completion of syllabus, homework, project, etc.
      11. Etc. Etc. The list can go on and on…
    2. Illnesses of self and near and dear ones, death of a family member, etc.
    3. Crisis situations, for example:
      1. Road/Rail accidents<
      2. Floods
      3. Natural calamities
      4. Failure of crops
      5. War
      6. Etc.
    4. Emotional stresses generated by
      1. Bad/unexpected unacceptable behaviour of people near and dear to you (these are unique for every individual).
      2. Relationship issues within family, friends, office personnel, etc.
    5. Etc.

    There could be umpteen situations in life where we experience such external forces; these could be experienced individually or in a multiple combination of them.

    As all external forces cause ‘internal stress’, it is natural to experience some        form of internal ‘stress’ by the individual.

    Then what is this ‘stress’ that is getting talked about, in everyday situations, by people?

    When an individual talks of being under ‘tension’ or ‘stress’, what s/he is expressing is his/her inability to bear/respond ‘effectively’/cope with/or handle/ manage that external force(s), in that particular external situation placing demands on him/her, or in a continuation of multiple situations, in which s/he finds herself/himself, because of any of the reasons given below:

    • The individual is not capable/competent to ‘respond’ to the requirement of the circumstances, to execute the requirement or to bring it under control,
    • or
    • The individual is being made to function beyond his learning and/or belief system, and competence/capability and capacity, required for that situation,
    • or
    • Types and/or intensity of forces/tasks which s/he is being exposed to, was not evaluated for him/her, with respect to his/her given competence/ capability and capacity and/or his/her likes and dislikes,
    • or
    • The mental, emotional and/or physical strength possessed by the individual were not assessed vis-à-vis the requirements in the situation/job/position in organisation/family,
    • or
    • S/he has been kept at the situation for a long period of time continuously, which generated fatigue and had not been given adequate rest to get over the fatigue,
    • or
    • A combination of any two or more of the above factors.

    The above can occur in any of the following life situations:

    • A family,
    • Office/professional
    • Any individual/personal relationship

    My experience is that in a human being, ‘stress’ is an internal energy which gets generated and/or accumulated, for the reasons mentioned above, these block the flow of energies in the physical/energy system, that need to be released, to bring the ‘stressed person’ to the ‘normal state’, even though the external forces are not removed, for him/her to feel comfortable.

    Other aspects in addition to the ones given above, which enhance and/or cause stress is presence of some human qualities/habits (i.e. properties of the human) in that individual, as given below:

    • Procrastination
    • Stubbornness
    • Non acceptance of other people as they are
    • Not willing to listen to other people’s point of view
    • Inability to adapt to changed circumstances/people
    • Impatience
    • Arrogance
    • Thinking he/she is only right
    • Etc.

    The prime questions for therapists of any discipline are:

    1. ‘How do we help a person to release ‘stress’, already being felt by him/her? And
    2. How do we help an individual not to feel stressed and face the situation in life that cause ‘stress’?

    How can/does a Hypnotherapist help?

    1. As ‘stress’ is ‘internal energy’, the hypnotherapist helps the client release the stress, under a simple process when the client is under a state of ‘Hypnosis’.
    2. Each situation giving the person ‘stress’ can be addressed using hypnosis, to make him/her feel comfortable in that situation.
    3. After releasing the current stress level under Hypnosis, the individual is taught a technique to ‘remain relaxed’ and/or release the stress energy, any time he/she feels it.
    4. By embedding this technique in the sub-conscious mind when the person is under hypnosis, s/he can use the technique in any situation in the normal waking state, by using a given trigger consciously and become relaxed.
    5. Now, as the person is able to relax/remains relaxed in the same or similar situation, s/he can plan to augment his/her knowledge/skill set to become capable to address the situation which gave him/her the stress. If required, hypnotherapy can be used to motivate him/her to acquire the capability.
    6. Being relaxed also helps the person to talk to the superior or anybody to clarify the issues which produced the stress (e.g. over loading), in order to sort them out.
    7. The therapist can also help the individual to change/release some habits and/or human qualities which cause/augment stress, as identified by the individual while interacting with the therapist. These are done in the sub-conscious while the individual is in a state of hypnotic trance.

    I have had the experience of people who learned the technique to remain relaxed even in situations in which they used to get into a panic attack.

    The process has been found to be extremely useful and has helped number of my clients.

    It is said if you know how to remain relaxed, you can do/manage twice the work/situation in life. Who does not want to be in a relaxed state always? Relaxation is the only way to remain calm also.

    If we remain relaxed and calm most of our physical illnesses also do not occur.

    Who would not want to remain relaxed, calm and free from illness, and free from the cost of medication and unproductive time?

    Also, who does not prefer to have a person on the team (family/profession), who remains relaxed, calm to be able to perform the functions of the requirement smoothly without causing any disturbance in the environment and achieving the objectives of the task at hand!!

    May you rise to the relaxed, calm, healthy and hap py state of being!!

    Real Case

    A working lady was having one child. But the mother in law wanted her to have another child. She did not want to have the second child. The mother in law kept pressurising her. She was in great ‘stress’, and very disturbed emotionally. She also did not have the courage to tell her mother in law that she doesn’t want the second child.

    She started having cyst in the ovaries. She now went to doctors and gynaecologists. Her going to doctors for her gynae condition made the mother in law to stop pestering the daughter-in-law.

    When she came to me, after hearing her, she was advised to go to the mother-in-law and tell her that she did not want the second child. She was supported and strengthened to say this using hypnosis.

    She did it and the problem vanished!!

    Her stress and her physical solution by the subconscious would have given her a very bad physical state.