Vegas Scream


Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at one time or another. The difference between them is that stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress. Whether in good times or bad, most people say that stress interferes at least moderately with their lives. Chronic stress can affect your health, causing symptoms from headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pain to heart palpitations, skin rashes, and loss of sleep.

The hypothalamus cannot distinguish between a real or an imagined threat. Even though the intruder was imaginary, your adrenaline and muscle tension are real. Your body responds to the perceived threat the same as it would have had an intruder actually break into your house.

Your body cannot distinguish between worry thoughts and the original catastrophe. Worry thoughts act as a repeat of the threat – a false alarm. This causes the body’s rapid response system to become its own undoing, because your worried mind keeps your body perpetually in high gear -  muscles tense, ever ready to meet a challenge. Your body responds to repeated worrisome thoughts and emotions in essentially the same way as it responds to the original stressor. The internal emergency response system, to which we as a species undoubtedly owe our survival, breaks down.

People who experience repeated and unrelenting stress in their lives gradually lose the ability to downshift. The wear and tear on our system shows up in the form of cardiovascular illnesses, ulcers, tension headaches and panic attacks. Chronic irritability, impatience, depression and frustration lead to actual tissue changes and organ malfunctions. Over-secretion of gastric acid can lead to ulcers; sustained narrowing of the blood vessels can lead to hypertension; and colon hyperactivity can lead to spastic colon or colitis. Other common stress –related disorders include insomnia, migraine headaches, back pain and diabetes.

The mind influences the immune system via the nervous system.  This means that psychological distress can suppress the immune system enough to increase the risk of physical illness. According to a landmark study at Carnegie Mellon University, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, your risk of getting a cold or respiratory infection is directly proportional to the amount of stress you experience (Consumer Reports, 1993).

The immune system – the first line of defence against infection, germs, bacteria and toxins in our bodies – is weakened by stress.  Fear, depression, anger and other negative emotions depress the immune system. Bereavement, depression, loneliness and stress immobilize the natural killer cells within the immune system (O’ Hara, 1990).

On the other hand, mental messages of calm or joy have been shown to be biologically beneficial. Research at UCLA Medical Centre indicates that a peaceful or calm frame of mind frequently simulates production of interleukins, which are vital substances for the immune system that help activate cancer killing immune cells. Fortunately, an inhibited immune system can recover if the mind’s messages change distress to calmness.

Stress caused by work is the most common migraine trigger, a study has found. It shows people are more prone to a direct attack in the ‘let-down’ period after a stressful situation, such as at weekends or while on holiday.

Hypnotherapy by its very nature is relaxing, blood pressure is lowered during a cession as is brain activity. Repeated sessions can results in continued benefits to the mind and body.