Stress management is a central part of my practice. As human beings, we all have inherited a nervous system from our prehistoric ancestors, the cave people that predispose us to suffer the debilitating effects of stress. During the era of the cave people, they were subject to attacks by predatory animals around them. Those that could run fast and get very strong so as to fight and kill their attackers had a chance to survive. The rest perished. The survivors had nervous systems that responded very powerfully to danger, creating the “fight or flight” response. That arousal, controlled by our sympathetic nervous system, was the means of survival.
We have inherited that same nervous system and although we don’t have to fight off predatory animals our nervous system does react intensely to any stressful experience. Few if any people grow up without intensely stressful experiences, sometimes early in life, sometimes later. These experiences cumulate, and create wear and tear on our minds and body. Ultimately the stress can and does make us sick and aggravates whatever sickness we have whether mental or physical.
I have dedicated the last 40 years of my practice to helping people manage this debilitating stress through hypnotic and cognitive-behavioral approaches. When my patients incorporate what I teach them, they learn how to reduce and manage the sympathetic over arousal which is the basis for the debilitating stress they have experienced and created a sense of being trapped and unable to handle their lives adequately. Many have resorted to alcohol, drugs, or marijuana to reduce their stress. Sadly, they find that these substances aggravate their problems rather than correcting them. When they take the time to learn what I can teach them, and apply the learning as a regular part of their lives, they have taken a significant step toward feeling better and functioning more effectively.