Hypnosis is a technique that practitioners have used for centuries to treat various issues, including chronic stress.
The idea behind hypnosis revolves around altering a person’s brainwaves, allowing them to tap into resources within themselves that they cannot reach when fully conscious. Research shows that the approach can help some individuals manage their anxiety and stress.
Researchers and scientists have been studying the effects hypnosis can have on mental health conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression for several years.
In a 2016 study (https://academic.oup.com/cercor/article/27/8/4083/3056452?login=true), scientists scanned the brains of 57 people undergoing hypnosis. They found changes in the areas of the brain that allowed for greater emotional control and reduced feelings of self-consciousness.
Stress is your body’s reaction to what your mind sees as possible danger. Even if it is imagined and not real, it triggers a flight-or-fight response that leads to a series of changes in your body. Cortisol floods the body and primes all of your organs and muscles to react to the danger or stressor. Although uncomfortable for most people, this reaction can help you perform better in pressure situations in your everyday life.
In this way, short-term stress, known as acute stress, can be helpful. It can be positive because it helps us gather all our resources so the body and mind can react appropriately to the situation.
This response also occurs in life-threatening situations. In these cases, the fight-or-flight response plays a vital role in your survival by preparing your body and mind to flee or stay and fight the threat.
This survival mechanism dates back centuries and has played an essential part in how we deal with stressors. In a stressful situation, a state of alertness is activated through the sympathetic nervous system. When the stressor is removed, this nervous system rests, and the parasympathetic system causes a state of relaxation. In this state of calm, the body can recover and regenerate.
But chronic stress is a different matter. This type of stress is dangerous because it can lead to elevated cortisol levels in the body, causing more inflammation and accelerating biological aging. Additionally, the immune system can become depressed, leading to increased susceptibility to some types of infection. Long-term stress can not only impair brain function but also lead to burnout – which is an emotionally and physically exhausted, overwhelmed state.
Hypnotherapy has been shown to alleviate unnecessary stress responses. In other words, it help stop your subconscious from seeing threats where there are no actual threats.