How Do You Manage Stress?
According to the UN’s International Organization World Labor Report, “Stress has become one of the most serious health issues of the 20th century and a worldwide epidemic.” The picture is no brighter here in the U.S., where stress is the basic cause of roughly 60% of all human illness and disease, with workplace stress costing American businesses about $300 billion a year.
“Long-term stress can disrupt nearly all of the body’s processes,” said Coastal Hypnotherapy’s Nancy Rothner, who for 13 years has been dealing with stress-related and other issues as part of her highly successful practice in Lewes. “In fact, recent research indicates that stress accounts for anywhere between 60% and 90% of all visits to the doctor’s office. Now, it’s true that that’s a rather wide spread, but even with the most optimistic interpretation, that’s well over half of all doctors’ visits.”
Fortunately, there is a silver lining within the otherwise dark cloud of these statistics.
Unlike a genetic predisposition, freak accident or deleterious workplace condition, stress is largely self-imposed and therefore manageable. In the case of Rothner’s practice specifically, problems related to stress and stress management are not only among the most frequent she’s seen but also among the most treatable.
“One client came in seeking assistance with his work-related stress,” shared Rothner. “He spoke of feeling emotionally
exhausted and mentally drained. Following a series of three appointments, he was able to drastically reduce his work-
related-stress reaction and today reports feeling a sense of calm and ease that he hadn’t known before.”
Another case involved a client whose main cause of stress was her “racing mind.” “When we began, she was spending
up to 90% of her day going over the same stressful issues in her mind,” Rothner said. “We began a series of appointments that showed improvement after each. Ultimately, following a total of six appointments, her racing mind had abated, and she no longer spent her day replaying stressful issues.” Later, the client reported to Rothner that her overall level of stress was only one-fourth of what it had been.
Meanwhile, it seems like the ultimate cliché when people speak of the “tough times” that accompanied their particular generation or era, yet studies indicate that such claims would be especially true nowadays. The American Psychological Association reports that stress in the U.S. has increased 30% in the past three decades and that it has swept across all age groups in the process, including the young, a phenomenon that Rothner has herself observed in recent years.
“I had treated one young adult who had sought help because of anxiety related to academic stress,” Rothner explained. “This client had the frequent experience of feeling profound, almost paralyzing stress before, during and after exams. In this client’s case, however, the stress had a double impact because not only did he dread the exams themselves but perhaps even more the paralysis that came with them, as that paralysis signaled to him that he would fail academically and, therefore, fail at life itself because his education had been essential to his future career.
“Remarkably,” Rothner continued, “it required only three appointments to shift his thinking and concomitant feelings
so that he was able to let go of his prior destructive pattern. Today, he is no longer a ‘stressed-out student;’ he’s been
successful at staying relaxed and focused on his studies and has a much more optimistic outlook about his future overall.
“From all my years of working with clients, I’ve found stress to be a common thread that unites us,” Rothner observed. “Young, old and from all walks of life, stress is one feeling we all share, with each of us an expert on how to stress ourselves through our thoughts and perceptions. Fortunately, hypnotherapy has proved an effective way to overcome and even vanquish stress through the focused power of the same cognitive mechanism that gave rise to it in the first place.”