Tag Archives: relaxation

The Stress Response

In these challenging times I have been able to work with several groups (online) and deliver workshops that explained the stress response and gave them tips and strategies for managing stress. After delivering these Stress Management presentations some participants have asked for copies of the slides. I have a conundrum…..to share or not to share – that is the question. There are polarizing views about this. One is if you have put up a presentation, then they are in the public domain and should be freely shared. At the other end of the spectrum the viewpoint is that the slides are secondary to the actual presentation.

Some participants are polite enough to ask if they can share with others the slides that they have saved by taking screen shots and I am grateful that they asked. With this in mind, I am going to share some of the graphics from a variety of recent presentations alongside some of the commentary I would have used.

Managing stressThe stress response is elicited when we realize that we can’t control events. When this happens, we can often start to feel anxious and this can lead to a cascade of other emotions or behaviours if we don’t have the appropriate tools and strategies to manage this response. Subconsciously our nervous system is on high alert as we look out for the risks in our environment.

Currently, many people are experiencing  fear regarding either their or a loved one’s health with the end result of the flight/fight or freeze stress response.

One of the first things I suggest is to develop a regular deep breathing session which helps to managing stressdampen down the effects of the stress response. The wearing of masks also anchors the emotion to the subconscious and it is important to spend a few moments in deep breathing after removing your mask. The next step is to acknowledge the problem and then to view it from a new perspective. By understanding the phases that we go through during times of change, we can come to a degree of acceptance. This is similar to the five stages of grief that Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote about in her groundbreaking work in 1969. Another helpful strategy is to use a Gratitude Journal. You can also follow my most recent 30 Days of Gratitude challenge on Facebook or LinkedIn – feel free to contribute what you are grateful for as well.

The stress response also causes various hormones to be released in our bodies. The most well known are adrenaline and cortisol and these are released in response to a fearful or dangerous situation. The effects of long term stress can impact upon your health – lowering your immunity, increasing blood pressure and having an impact on your digestive system.

This is why it is so important to have strategies that you can use automatically when faced with a stressful situation. Not all stress is bad. There is the flip side – eustress and when this is experienced, you get a flood of what I like to call “stress managementhappy hormones”.

By making sure you take time to look after yourself – remember when we could fly and the pre talk was about using the oxygen mask for yourself first? Meditation, being out in nature, exercise, eating healthy foods and love and laughter are all key elements how you can get these “happy hormones” and manage your stress response.

With Stage 4 restrictions still in place, Hypnotherapy and Coaching consultations are still by phone or online should you feel that you need some help in managing your stress. Reiki is also available and a distant/remote session is often useful in reducing stress.

The following form will need to be completed, along with an intake form if you are a new client and returned before your scheduled session. 2020 Teletherapy Informed Consent

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Work Experience

Planting seedsSetting up in a Hypnotherapy or Coaching practice takes time. Do the study, then some more and then a steep learning curve on how to market yourself and perhaps find a niche.

“Find a niche an inch wide and a mile deep” was a comment made in one lecture I attended.

All well and good, but a couple of years after graduating, I was still looking for that niche like the proverbial needle in a haystack. Around me were fellow students who seemed to have easily and effortlessly slipped into their niches …Past Life Regressions, Lives between Lives, Style Coaching, Relationship Coaching, Business Coaching, Weight Loss, Stop Smoking… and the list goes on.

The bookshelves are groaning with the weight of recommended reading. The printer spits out marketing letters on a regular basis. I have sat down and written about my ideal client so many times I feel like we are conjoined twins…..

Yes, the clients are coming, but for a variety of reasons.

Mostly for weight with an underlying theme of stress.

Now that’s something I understand!

Perhaps I have stumbled upon my niche, except it doesn’t look an inch wide… more like a mile wide and a bottomless chasm deep.

The interest in stress started when I was still teaching. I noticed that if I kept an appearance of calm, then the students seemed to respond better. Combining a teaching job and parenting 2 young children meant that my meditation practice was made up of incidental moments rather than a half hour session at any one time. Breathing at the traffic lights, mindfulness when on yard duty – appreciating the moments of nature… a leaf…. an interesting cloud….

Leaving teaching for a couple of years, I went to a job where I was able to observe how people with learning difficulties reacted to stress. An interest in how the mind adapts to stress grew from here and CBT based Adolescent Counseling beckoned. Back to teaching and full-time for three years. This time the universe threw me a curved ball. Being back in the classroom with a different perspective on student learning was fabulous, but the staffroom was toxic and not entirely from the black mould growing around the school.

But that’s a whole different story to be told later…

I left.

I took time out.

I studied some more and graduated with a Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy and a Cert 4 in Training. I didn’t complete the Medical Intuitive course I thought was my next journey.

I went and sat in the Simpson Desert.

Then I went back to teaching part-time and a small client list part-time. Coaching studies to augment the Hypnotherapy and I was just muddling along. I didn’t have anything specifically wrong with my health, but just didn’t have the energy that I used to. Palpitations were becoming more frequent, but I dismissed them as a result of the coffee I was drinking. I didn’t notice that I wasn’t meditating any more. I was asked to speak about women and stress for a local council’s Women’s Network.  Scroll back through some of the older posts and you’ll find that speech somewhere and the events that transpired a few months later!

So now it seems that my niche found me, rather than the other way around.

How curious is that?

I’m presenting a workshop next month with the topic “From Stress to Strength – Building Resilience for the Small Business Owner”  and I’m preparing for that with a bit of work experience…

Yep!! I’m STRESSED!!

Just getting in a bit of practice….. some good stress involved this time with the imminent arrival of a grandson…some bad stress with a blind, diabetic aging dog that has to be let out to pee 2 -3 times a night.

Sleep deprivation is not good for stress management!

PastThe body mind connection is letting me know I need to manage the stress a bit better, so the emWave is getting a good workout several times a day.

Last night was a case in point. I dream. Colour. Action… always vivid. Sometimes so full of action I am tired when I wake up. Sometimes, not very often now, the events are too vivid & I have been known to wake with a blood curdling yell. That didn’t happen last night, but I woke as I threw off the covers and went to confront some intruders that weren’t there and who came through a doorway that wasn’t there….. it took quite some time to convince my conscious mind that they and the doorway didn’t exist.  This time the dog waking and going for a wander down the street at 2am was just what I needed as the activity in going looking for him helped to dissipate the stress hormones and I was able to get back to sleep relatively quickly.

A couple of emWave sessions before starting writing showed that I was entering into “Coherence” fairly easily. More sessions scheduled this morning before the afternoon clients.

It’s all about putting yourself first, to better serve clients.

It could be called Work Experience!

Monday Meditations

Yes, check the calendar, it’s Tuesday! The last 2 Monday evenings have been set aside for meditation and although the group is small, I am getting so much more than I thought possible from it.

I scheduled ten  sessions, each with a different topic and designed for both the regular meditator and the beginner.

Week one began with breath work, using different styles of breathing including counting the breath, and alternate nostril breathing. That one can be tricky if you have a cold or hay fever!

Week two was progressive muscle relaxation. We did going up the body from the feet to the head and then down again in a different style. There are as many variations on progressive relaxation as there are teachers, but I based the first on Ian Gawler’s interpretation and the second was what I use in some of my hypnotic inductions.

We had a short discussion whilst waiting to see if more people were to arrive about Chakras meditations, but we may not touch on this until the Mandala and meditation session in late November.

The mind is much clearer and the manual is on the way to being written. So many other books to read and reference from, but it seems that Mindfulness meditation is the path that I am most drawn to. It is a joy to sit a record the exercises, although there are a few “office noises” invariably just as the session is about to finish. It just means that I treat that as a rehearsal and do it again, and find that I relax more as I get into the flow of recording.

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Meditation

There are many forms of meditation around and there is sure to be one style that suits you. Make it a regular practice and you will enjoy the lasting health benefits too.

Four styles of meditation that I teach and practice are

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Focused
  3. Relaxation
  4. Visualization

Mindfulness Meditation is simply that. Being mindful of what you are doing now. I read recently that the future is only an illusion and it is important to be mindful of your actions and be fully present. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and the more you do it the sharper your focus becomes. For instance, I am typing now and mindful that as my thoughts come on this topic, my fingers move automatically over the keys. I am aware of the touch of the tips of my fingers on the keys and the difference in texture of the home keys under my index fingers. I am also aware of my eyes tracking the characters as they appear on the page and the cursor acts as a stop, thereby focusing my attention no further than the word being typed. I can then turn my attention to how I am sitting and the ambient air temperature – a chilly Melbourne morning! I am also aware of the sound of the keys as I quickly type this post and the gentle hum of the computer hard drive as it processes the information.

Focused meditation is just that. Focus. You can focus on anything you choose. Starting with the breath is just fine and creating an easy rhythm of in and out breath is very relaxing. Using a candle is another simple and accessible method. Light the candle and focus on the area between the flame and the wick – it’s usually a blue colour. Why focus here? The flame will move around with drafts and the process of burning  and that can cause your attention to wander. The centre of the flame is more likely to be still.

Relaxation meditation such as clenching various muscles & then relaxing them, from the top of the head down to the tips of the toes combined with breath awareness is a wonderful way of winding down after a busy day. Doing it with the eyes open or closed doesn’t matter, but if you have your eyes closed and then gently open them at the end of the relaxation, then you will notice that your perception of the light and surroundings will have changed. If you are doing this in a group, take a few moments to gather your thoughts and you may even notice how different other people look as well. The tension that was stored in the facial muscles has miraculously melted away.

Visualization meditation is only limited by your imagination.

Where do you want to be today?

In your mind’s eye, you can go anywhere, create anything. This form of meditation is often used as a guided meditation where the facilitator will take you on a tour using metaphor and your imagination provides the images. Not just for escape, as by using the creative power of your imagination, you can gain insight and clarity for problems that you previously thought were insurmountable.