How you think is linked to how stressed you feel – Stress management is vital
My last blog highlighted Casey and how hypnotherapy helped her to manage her stress levels with the stress management techniques she learnt. Here is what happened next.
Casey could now take a step back from the wall of stress in front of her. She invited her colleagues out to lunch once a week, to let off steam. It appeared they were all unhappy with their current position. They joined together and form “The escape committee” and started looking around for other jobs not just for themselves but for each other. The support she felt helped her when dealing with her bosses.
During one of her meditations, she received the word “Metamorphosis” and started reading self-help books to back up the help she had received from the hypnotherapy. With this knowledge, she started to change her beliefs. She knew that the messages her brain were giving her were not necessarily true and the part of the brain which was encouraging her to run for her life was to blame.
How the hypnotherapy and mindfulness helped with stress management
In her hypnotherapy sessions, she learned about mindfulness and how to distract her mind when overwhelming unhelpful thoughts came through.
- Focus on deep breathing. Count the breath in and count to 7 and out to 11.
- Progressive relaxation from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. She did this every night as she listened to her hypnotherapy CD.
- When out walking, if she found herself worrying about something, she focused her attention instead on the sounds around her – the birds singing, distant traffic, her children talking, without any judgement.
During the hypnotherapy sessions, she had used a technique called the rewind/reframe to scramble the fear messages and replace them with a more fun cartoon version. She was then able to slowly build up the confidence to drive once more.
How Cognitive behavioural therapy helped with stress management
The cognitive behavioural therapy she received helped her understand why she reacted in the way she did. The majority of her thoughts had been:
- “I am useless and unsuccessful in this career”. Which she changed to “I am good at this job. But have been unlucky in the types of employment opportunities in this field.”
- “I’ll lose my job, which will consequently mean I will lose my family and home”. She was able to change to. “I can always get another job, even if it’s not in my chosen field”.
- “I am alone” to “I have a loving and caring family. I just am so inward focused I don’t often notice it”.
- “I can’t do this job” to “There is a job out there I can do. And now I have the opportunity to find something I’m happy with, not necessarily I’m good at.”
- “I have let down my family and school”. She realised many of her views about work were started at school. She had been in the top stream and the teachers all told her she was good and would succeed at whatever she turned her hand to. Casey changed this to “School was wrong. There is no way they could have known what the reality of such a young industry would be like”.
- “If I drive, I will die” she knew this wasn’t true as everyone else was driving. She partially blamed her mother, as she had given up driving only a few years before as she found it too stressful. She changed it to “Yes driving can be dangerous. But if you’re vigilant and don’t drive irresponsibly you will be ok”.
10 years later
She also realised that the industry was just not for her, so she joined an agency and did temporary and contract work for the next 4 years until she retrained and became self-employed. During that time she continued to listen to the hypnotherapy CD and meditated every day. She wrote a list of all the things she wanted to do, and so each year was able to tick each one off. She became solution focused, so every time she felt bad about something, she checked to see what was bothering her, and made a plan of action to change that. If she feels stressed now she goes for a walk, to the gym or listens to her hypnotherapy CD.
Also see: Stress Awareness Management Month