Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stress - What Causes It And How to Cure It

Even though many people use the words "anxiety" and "stress" interchangeably, they are actually two distinct conditions. Stress is a response to a stimulus, either external or internal. You may experience stress when you are frustrated with something (like waiting in line behind a slow person) or when you are worried that you will not meet expectations (such as missing a deadline at work). Anxiety, on the other hand, is a feeling of dread, or nervousness and fear. It can be caused by negative thoughts and expectations, or as a reaction to stress. You may experience feelings of anxiety all of the time and not understand why, or your feelings may be a reaction to something you are nervous about, like an upcoming journey. Abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain can cause generalized anxiety. Some research indicates that anxiety can be hereditary. Anxiety can also stem from environmental conditions, as when the child of a parent who is often anxious learns to be an anxious person by observing the parent. But frequently, the core cause of anxiety is simply the thoughts that a person is thinking! Anxiety and stress are subjective conditions. Different people may feel stressed about different situations, and different people may react to their anxiousness in very different ways. Symptoms of anxiety can range from the mild, such as sweaty hands and tense muscles, to the severe, such as vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and anxiety attacks. Everyone feels some amount of anxiety once in awhile. We have all experienced the dry mouth and "butterflies in the stomach" before a test or public speaking engagement. But when does it become harmful to your health? Studies have revealed that prolonged anxiety can lead to sleep disorders, relationship problems, depression, and high blood pressure For sufferers of long-term untreated anxiety, there may be negative health consequences that have yet to be fully identified. Some studies have found a link between generalized anxiety disorder and a variety of serious health conditions including cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, arthritis, and thyroid disease. Chronically anxious people may even be more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack. If you experience what seems like an overwhelmingly high amount of anxiety relative to the circumstances, or if you feel anxious nearly every day, you may actually have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are chronic conditions characterized by an individual's inability to function normally because of constant anxiety. Anxiety disorders are serious conditions that should be treated to reduce the risk of long-term effects. Anxiety treatment has long been the subject of much debate in the medical field. Some medical professionals believe that medication is the best treatment for chronic anxiety. Unfortunately, anti-anxiety medications often have side effects that are just as bad as or even worse than the initial condition. There are plenty of natural, non-invasive ways to handle negative emotional reactions. Exercise is an often overlooked option, but it is very effective. Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting and pain-killing chemicals. With regular aerobic exercise, you may begin to feel a decrease in negative emotional responses to situations that would have previously made you very anxious. The most effective way to deal with tension and worry is to control it from the inside out. Stress management and stress relief techniques are very valuable tools in coping with day to day stress. These techniques can teach you to relax yourself and relieve your tension. You make a conscious effort to slow your breathing rate, release the tension, and remain in a peaceful state of mind. Meditation is an increasingly popular form of tension control in which you focus on thoughtful relaxation and deep, calm breathing. However, if you are searching for a proactive solution to relieve yourself of anxiety, hypnosis is the most effective treatment option. When an individual undergoes hypnosis, their reactions and emotional responses to events are changed at their core. This gives them the opportunity to deal with typical anxiety-inducing triggers without the typical feelings of nervousness and fear. Hypnosis can be performed by a licensed hypnotherapist in a series of regular sessions. More commonly today, hypnosis is available in the form of self hypnosis programs which can be purchased in the form of DVDs, CDs, or MP3s for personal home use. No special skills are necessary to practice self hypnosis. All that you need is a device to play the hypnosis program and a quiet space where you can listen and relax. Another very successful method of anxiety treatment is Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. NLP is a form of therapy that can help you condition yourself to naturally react to situations in a more positive manner. You can consciously decide to stay calm rather than anxious, and consequently, you are always in control of your own emotions. It is evident that it is important to manage our negative emotional responses in order to stay healthy. Understanding how to deal with nervousness and fear may even add years onto your life. To treat long term anxiety, the best treatment option to follow is to use hypnosis to change your attitudes and reactions from within. Then, practice stress management techniques as needed to keep calm in everyday situations. Alan B. Densky is an NGH certified hypnotherapist. He offers a complete line of stress reduction hypnotherapy CDs, and advanced stress reduction CDs through his Neuro-VISION hypnotism website. You can visit his video hypnosis blog, and download a free MP3.

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