Now more than ever, scientific investigations are confirming the essential responsibility of stress in causing and aggravating numerous psychological and somatic afflictions. In the June 6, 1983 issue of Time Magazine, the cover story described stress as "The Epidemic of the Eighties." It also said that stress is a major health problem. And one has to acknowledge that our world has become even more complex and stressful in the last twenty-five years since that article was published.

Many surveys indicate that almost everybody has the impression of being under a great deal of stress. Authorities in this domain estimate that between 75 and 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians somehow have to do with stress.

Most adults say that their job is the primary cause of their stress. The levels of stress have also increased in children and the senior population because of several reasons including: Peer pressures that often push people to everything from smoking to alcoholism and drug abuse; the wearing away of religion and family values; growing crime rates; threats to personal safety; as well as social isolation and loneliness.

Stress is a factor of conditions such as diabetes, ulcers, low back and neck pain, high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. This is due to the increased sympathetic nervous system activity and a flood of cortisol, adrenaline, and other hormones. Chronic stress is often associated with defective immune system resistance. Stress can contribute to anxiety, depression, and its different impacts on one's organs.
The following definition for "stress" can be found in the American Heritage Dictionary:
"To subject to physical or mental pressure, tension, or strain"

The following definition is given for "tension":
"Mental, emotional, or nervous strain"

The following is the definition of "anxiety":
"A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties"

And it defines "depression" as follows:
"The condition of feeling sad or despondent"

The following definition is given for "clinical depression":
"A psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, anhedonia, feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death."

We can be sure of one thing, our mind is the major cause of our experience of stress, anxiety and depression. To put it into different words, what we think about, and our attitudes and points of view about our experiences strongly influence our feelings. So if we can manage to modify our thoughts, attitudes, and points of view, then we can release our feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression and attain a more positive state of being.

People have always sought out methods for eliminating stress. With the pharmaceutical industry there seems to be a drug for everything. And to that end the industry has created a wide line of tranquilizers from Valium to Xanax. If you choose to utilize drugs for relief, please be sure to be aware of the side-effects by reading the fine print, which usually are, among others, addiction and dependency. Unfortunately, these types of drugs attempt to cure the symptoms, instead of the cause. So if one stops ingesting them, the symptoms can come back.

A better way of eliminating tension, stress, anxiety, and depression is to work on its actual cause, which as I said before, is generally our thought processes. Here is the good news. Hypnosis is all about relaxing. The AMA accepted hypnosis in 1958 as an effective method of treating stress and stress related symptoms. However unlike anxiolytics, there are totally no undesirable side effects.

When you are in hypnosis, you are in the Alpha level of consciousness. It is the daydream like temporary psychological mindset that we pass through as we are about to fall asleep at night. And we pass through it once again when we awaken again. There are several different ways that will help us guide ourselves into this condition of tranquility, from progressive relaxation to visual imagery to listening to hypnosis CD's.

Once we access the hypnotic state, we can interact with our unconscious mind, which is the center of our feelings. And it becomes easier to accept new points of view and ideas which can help us to dissipate anxiety, or even prevent it from occurring in the first place.

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), which is a modern kind of hypnotherapy, offers numerous great methods for releasing stress. Perhaps the most effective technique is called the "swish" pattern - or the "flash" pattern. After using the "flash" pattern, your unconscious will automatically use negative, stress producing mental images, as triggers for relaxing mental images. Otherwise stated, your stressors will automatically make you feel more relaxed!

Tension, stress, anxiety, and depression can be caused by our thoughts. So if we change our attitude and point of view towards our situation and our experiences, we can dissipate these feelings at the source. Hypnosis and NLP are natural tools that allow us to change our attitude and point of view to rapidly dissipate the root cause of these negative feelings.

Author's Bio: 

Alan B. Densky is an NGH certified hypnotherapist. He offers a complete line of anxiety reduction hypnosis CDs, and advanced anxiety management CDs through his Neuro-VISION self hypnosis website. You can visit his video hypnosis blog, and download a free MP3.