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Stress and Hypnosis

By: Vicky Schleeter

Stress is highly subjective and; therefore, is often difficult to define. What is stressful for some people may not be stressful to others. Different events, situations, and interactions may have healthy or unhealthy effects physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and behaviorally.


The 7 top causes of stress indicated by the American Institute of Stress (New York) include:

1. Job Pressure (co-worker tension, bosses, work overload)

2. Money (loss of job, reduced retirement, medical expenses)

3. Health (health crisis, terminal or chronic illness)

4. Relationships (divorce, death of spouse, arguments with friends, loneliness)

5. Poor Nutrition (inadequate nutrition, caffeine, processed foods, refined sugars)

6. Media Overload (television, radio, internet, e-mail, social networking)

7. Sleep Deprivation (Inability to release adrenaline and other stress hormones)


Some stress, called eustress, may be beneficial. Adrenaline secretion increases with stress and provides motivation and energy. For example, when a big growling dog is approaching, adrenaline prepares the body for action, if needed. However, being stressed for long periods of time, called distress, may lead to the deterioration in health; such as, depression, cardiovascular issues, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, physical pain or death. According to Magowan (2007), “around 75% of health problems are due to psychological imbalances.”

Unresolved stress may also physically affect the body and result in various health problems which may include headache, migraine, fatigue, chest pain, sleep disturbances, anxiety, tension in the muscles, pain, heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, depression tummy issues, Alzheimer’s disease, premature death, and others.

In addition, unresolved stress has the potential to affect moods resulting in feeling anxious, restless, overwhelmed, irritable, sad, angry, depressed, lack of focus and/or lack of motivation.

Behavior changes; such as challenges with nutrition and weight management, outbursts in behavior, abuse of drugs and/or alcohol, tobacco use, lack of exercise, and becoming socially withdrawn may result if stress is not properly managed.


It is imperative for health and wellness to recognize stress symptoms before overwhelming issues occur. Learning how to cope with stress is important in understanding and recognizing when the coping skills being used are healthy or unhealthy.

There are many ways in learning how to manage stress, one of which is hypnosis.


The heart of the hypnosis approach to stress management is using imagery which stimulates the subconscious level in order to foster the healing process. The subconscious stores the root cause of issues or problems; Hypnosis assists in getting to the root cause of problems. Once the root problem is discovered and/or released, change may be created. Through hypnosis, a specific situation, physical or relationship issue or past experience that may be producing stress may be brought to the conscious level. Partnering with clients allows physical and psychological problems to be addressed. Through hypnosis, old beliefs that no longer serve a healthy purpose may be cleared and replaced with new healthier and happier beliefs and images that assist in moving clients toward their desires and goals. Most people feel more relaxed and confident in making decisions with previous stressful situations and events.

The hypnosis client is always in control! Clients will not do anything against their will.

Unlike medications, there are no long-lasting negative side effects of hypnosis. Using drugs for chronic pain management requires the progression of larger doses of medication due to the brain becoming accustomed to these drugs. Hypnosis works by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain which makes hypnosis an effective tool. When the body expresses pain and dis-ease due to prolonged stress or other conditions, this is an indicator that something physically or energetically is out of balance. Paying attention to the body symptoms is imperative. It is advisable and sometimes required to be evaluated by a medical professional for specific pains and illnesses before beginning hypnosis. Using hypnosis for sleep disorders, depression, grief and loss, overcoming unwanted habits, as well as many other issues and challenges may also be beneficial.


Often times, self-hypnosis may also benefit the client. Find a comfortable position in an undisturbed place (never while driving). In order to reduce stress, focus on positive calming statements. Slowly inhale and slowly exhale through the nose several times. Imagine or pretend while breathing in peace and calmness. Imagine or pretend while breathing out daily stress. Visualize a peaceful, pleasurable place of your choice (i.e. beach, mountains, forest). Breathe in and out slowly until relaxation occurs.


Stress occurs in every one. There are many causes of stress. Learning how to manage stress begins with awareness, understanding, and using effective stress management tools. Through hypnosis, clients learn effective and natural ways to change unwanted behaviors, intrusive thoughts and emotions that are no longer beneficial. The subconscious consists of everything that has been learned. Speaking to the subconscious may bring positive changes physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and behaviorally. This hypnosis approach to stress management requires a trusting partnership between both practitioner and client.

According to Dr. Pierre-Yves Rodondi (2016), hypnosis continues to be under used for medical purposes. He states: “If hypnosis were a medication it would already be in all hospitals, but it is an approach, and thus it must overcome cultural barriers.”


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