Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on
So what's stress?
Stress is caused by two things. Primarily it is down to whether you think situations around you are worthy of anxiety. And then it’s down to how your body reacts to your thought processes. This instinctive stress response to unexpected events is known as ‘fight or flight’. It is a hard-wired reaction to perceived threats to our survival.
How Do We ‛Do’ Stress?
Unpacking the sequence leading to stress can give us a useful answer. There are four steps involved.
Stress Activating Event + Thoughts/Perceptions/Beliefs + Interpretation of event =
Stress Response (positive challenge stress or distress)
How we create (dis) stress for ourselves:
We are exposed to a ‘stress activating’ event + We evaluate the experience using our thoughts, perceptions and beliefs + We interpret the event, applying meaning to it and assessing our ability to respond effectively = How we interpret the event triggers our stress response.
Creating Positive Challenge Stress
When we believe we have the resources to respond effectively:
Our interpretation of the event and stress response are positive.
We are open to change and responsive to the needs of others.
We have the ability to learn from the experience and may even call it exciting, challenging and stimulating and fun!
What Happens Too Often
When the event is interpreted as unfair, unreasonable or beyond our ability to respond effectively, we have a negative stress response.
We resist change and become less responsive the needs of others.
Over time anxiety can cripple our productivity and ability to learn new job skills …
and this is over and above the health issues associated with negative stress!
The good news is that you’re in control. In other words stress is an inside job
The critical difference is in how we interpret the event. It isn’t life’s events but our interpretation of those events based on our perceptions and beliefs that determines whether we experience positive challenge, stress or distress.
Even after traumatic events our long-term recovery will depend on the beliefs and perceptions we have about our ability to respond effectively.
More good news — stress without distress
While we can’t always control our exposure to ‘stress activating’ events:
We can control our response.
We can change the way we interpret events by changing our perceptions and beliefs and by acquiring new skills.
With the resources to respond more effectively distress becomes positive challenge stress.
Anxiety is a learnt behaviour. The brain does not differentiate between a wanted or unwanted behaviour. It just does things to get results. So, where you have learnt to feel anxious in a situation, you can unlearn that too.
You can also learn positive behaviours instantly. If you change your hair style and everyone tells you how great it looks, you automatically style it that way more often.
Every time you have a moment of realisation like this, your brain makes a new connection and you are learning.
And it is in this ability to use Hypnosis & NLP techniques to unlearn unwanted behaviour, and learn desired behaviour, that one solution to anxiety lays.