In our productivity-driven culture, where every success is measured by how much more we can do, we often tune out of ourselves and the signals our bodies might be sending, recognising them as a nuisance rather than a gentle reminder to pause. Unfortunately, if we do not stop and pay attention to those bodily signals we risk burnout, illness, or becoming accustomed to constant fatigue. In order to learn how to listen to and follow our body's wisdom, it helps to have a more profound understanding of our nervous system.

The experience of stress has three components. The first is the event, physical or emotional, that we interpret as threatening. It is also called the stressor. The second element is our nervous system which processes that experience and interprets the meaning of the stressor. The final component is our stress response, what physiological and behavioural adjustments we make as a reaction to a perceived threat.

Equally important is the personality and current psychological state that we are in when facing the stressor. It is not the events in one's life that necessarily cause the perception of crisis. No, if that were so everyone facing redundancy would suffer from panic attacks and we know this is not the case. One may perceive the loss of a job as a major stress, while the other may see it as an opportunity. There is no uniform and universal relationship between a stressor and the stress response. What defines stress for each of us is a matter of personal disposition and, even more, personal history.

When the pandemic started, a few years ago, I was working in a stressful environment with no ‘me time' left between work and family commitments. Having had my ‘stress bucket' already full, I could barely deal with the uncertainty that covid brought upon us. The gentle but steady build-up of stress and anxiety throughout this time left me physically and mentally exhausted. I kept pushing until I finally reached that point where my body was screaming out loud. After years of utter neglect of the senses and subtle signals that my body was trying to communicate to me, I finally didn't have a choice but to stop and listen. I was so out of tune with myself that I couldn't tell the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack. I actually thought I was dying. And that is often a point when, faced with an illness, many of us seek our spiritual selves and some form of healing, almost instinctively.

And as the saying goes ‘every cloud has its silver lining', with a strong determination I was able to turn that experience into the opportunity to reconnect with myself, reassess my priorities and make some subtle but profound changes in my life.  It wasn't an instant win, and it took some time to shift old beliefs and get better, but I got there in the end.

Hypnotherapy is a great first step towards healing as it helps reprogram our minds and regain control over our lives. Solution Focused approach combined with gentle techniques such as trance, mindfulness and self-hypnosis reduces anxiety and increases self-confidence in a relatively short period of time allowing an individual to create positive changes towards their desired future.