As a hypnotherapist, my goal with clients is to help them discover both internal and external resources for dealing with their lives. In addition to work done in trance I always try to give clients homework– strategies, tools and techniques to use consciously on a day-to-day basis.

Stress is unavoidable in life. Some days even getting out of bed in the morning can be stressful. Managing the stress in your life is one key to staying healthy.

What you say to yourself is important. We each have an ongoing internal dialog of between 150 and 300 words a minute.

This works out to between 45,000 and 51,000 words a day. Most of our self-talk is harmless thoughts that serve our daily activities such as, "I need to stop at the cleaners." The danger is when inner dialogue becomes primarily, "I'll never be as good at this as he is," "This is going to be a lousy day," or "I'll never get this done." What you think about regularly in your life tends to appear in your life.

Pay attention to what you say to yourself. When you notice negative thoughts, put up a mental STOP sign and say to yourself, “I’m better than this, I don’t need to think this way. Is there another way of looking at this?”

Imagine yourself walking down a long, straight road. You can see a good distance ahead and you notice a large truck coming straight at you at high speed. What do you do?

Step out of the way! When heading into situations you know might be stressful, take a moment to mentally, or physically, step aside and review your options for dealing with the situation.

There is nothing in your life that can MAKE you angry, glad, sad, fearful, or happy. You choose to react in the manner
that fits your belief system.

Take a moment to ask yourself, before or after, “How could I react (have reacted) differently to this?” and make a conscious choice.

Take breaks. In a busy, sometimes stressful day, schedule time for regular breaks. Take a walk, meditate, or just get up from your desk and go somewhere else for a few minutes.

Follow the old advice and “Take a deep breath” before you act. Breathing helps to center and calm the body and mind. We often forget to breath in moments of stress.

Try the following exercise and see how you feel: Breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts, and hold for 4 counts. Do this 3 times.

"After the odyssey through the Magic Theatre, the hero in Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf laughs out loud as he realizes that reality is nothing but the free choice of one of the many doors that are open at all times." - Paul Watzlawick, The Language of Change, 1978.

This article appeared in the Winter 2003 issue of The APHP Journal, a publication of The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

Author's Bio: 

Robert Monteux, MBA, CH, is a Certified Consulting Hypnotist and Personal Coach in Portland, Maine. He has been in practice since 1989 and specializes in stress management, performance enhancement, and creativity coaching. Visit his website at