A message from one of my students this week brings to light the natural and restorative process of hypnosis.
Coming to see me for chronic stress, she had her first session last week. “I think I am hardwired to stress about everything,” she stated. “I am continually stressing, feeling compelled to find solutions and solve problems, even when they are not my responsibility to solve. I feel responsible for everything.” At the beginning of the session she described the all too familiar, uneasy churning sensation in her stomach, solar plexus and chest. Feeling shaky inside had become the way she lived her life. Living her life with high stress levels, maintained continuously, had led her to gain weight and develop a number of physiological complications including digestive issues and fatigue typically not alleviated by sleep.
The tendency to stress about everything is a fear-based coping mechanism. Early on, in life, we took on the belief that unless “we do everything right,” unless “we anticipate and prevent issues from happening,” we are not good enough and then rejected, not worthy of receiving the love, protection, shelter, connection and bonding we so desperately need, as children, to survive. Having to cope with high stress levels early on in life becomes a learned behavior, a coping mechanism we continue to replicate through our adult lives.
Addressing the fear-based mechanisms that automatically drive us, with regression-to-cause hypnotherapy, enables us to identify their source. Once the source is identified, we are able to shift our perspective, repair early-life wounds, and rebuild healthier beliefs. Finding the child within, who on some level is still suffering and alone, enables us to bring the adult self back in time to the child we were. Being able to rescue that child allows us to teach them that who they are is unique and wonderful, exactly as they are, and bring them into our life of today where the child is finally loved, cherished and protected, exactly as they are and for who they are.
By the end of her session, my student felt peaceful and calm. An awareness of space, joy and wellness had replaced the shaky, uneasy feeling she previously had in her core. When placed again in the typical situation that prompted a high stress response, she stated: “I feel neutral. I have much more clarity of mind. I’m finding different ways to respond while preserving my well being and the well being of those around me.” She emerged from hypnosis with a beautiful, serene smile on her face and, as she stretched comfortably, she stated: “Wow … I do feel calmer!”
A week later, she wrote to share she was still amazed by the results of our session last week. She added that a few days later, she felt extremely tired during a long work day. She went to bed when she returned home, fell sound asleep at once, and woke up feeling profoundly refreshed and energized the next day. Recovering so quickly from such deep exhaustion was startling to her. She explained it usually took her days, sometimes weeks to recover. She wanted to know if the fatigue and rapid recovery were linked to her session.
Understanding the State
Hypnosis does allow us to better manage our energy and restore our strength considerably faster than we otherwise would. This is due to two different reasons.
On a physiological level, the state itself is profoundly therapeutic and restorative. The deep physical, mental and emotional relaxation we experience in hypnosis enables better blood flow to the brain, flooding our cells with vital oxygen and essential nutrients. On the chemincal and hormonal levels, brain chemistry shifts to a more beneficial and efficient balance, with a drop in the steroid hormone known as cortisol and a rise in endorphin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Because these shifts are shown to last for hours, sometimes even days, placing ourselves in that state regularly, as we fall asleep at night for instance, typically allows us to live life with a level of comfort, peace of mind and effortless ease most of us never imagined possible.
On another level, as we address, regress and resolve the causes of the misperceptions we hold about ourselves (false beliefs, lack of self-esteem, lack of self love, perception of being flawed, not good enough, etc.), we become more tuned in and respectful of our needs. The exhaustion we sometimes feel does not come from the state of hypnosis itself, but from driving ourselves too hard, for most of our lives, often because of fear (fear of not being good enough, fear of being rejected, fear of not being approved of, etc.). As we release false beliefs and recover our truth, inner-strength, balance and peace of mind, we tend to listen to our needs better. If we have pushed ourselves too hard for years, we may suddenly realize we are actually exhausted and need to rest. And so we do. And, by replicating that state, we tend to recover faster and more deeply than we ever did before.