“I’m sick and tired of hearing about stress, ” he said. “I read about it in magazines and the newspaper, they talk about it on the radio and air it on T. V. That’s all they talk about at work. Stress, stress, stress. So what’s the big deal? ”
He had come for hypnotherapy because he suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome and had been told that hypnotherapy might help him. He was also seriously overweight. After the introductions, I asked him to describe the stress in his life. He responded by telling me he had no stress. A summary? His job was perfect. His marriage was perfect. His schedule was perfect. His children were perfect. Even the dog was perfect. (I didn’t ask him about his daily commute to and from work. I just couldn’t believe that driving the freeway in rush hour could be continuously perfect).
As we discussed various areas of his life in more depth I learned that he was in a fast paced job and had an undercurrent of fear that if he didn’t keep up he would be terminated and replaced with someone younger. He buried himself in T. V. , reading or sports to avoid the nagging, negative comments of his spouse and waved off his children’s’ questions and demand for attention with “Can’t you see I’m busy now?” (The kids made him nervous with their loud music, strange language and outlandish clothes, so he kept them at a distance). I asked him about exercise and he told me he had stopped his daily jogging routine last year because of the pollution in the air that caused his asthma to flare up. When I asked him what he worried about the most I got a long laundry list of worries that ranged from not enough money, to what if I get cancer to what happens to me when I get too old to work? I asked what he thought about the most, and he replied that he continuously thought about what would happen if he had instant diarrhea with no bathroom in site since IBS doesn’t care where you are when it hits. .
Some of the major events in his life over the past year included a move to a bigger house, the accidental death of a brother, and a child who required rehab because of a drug problem. These events, combined with the internal and external stresses of daily life put him “over the top” on the stress charts. (If you haven’t seen one of these simply Google “stress chart” and you can measure your own stress levels. )
After completing the initial pre-hypnosis interview, I summarized what he had told me. He looked at me in disbelief. He hadn’t taken the time to look at his own life and had been in denial or in ignorance of the stressors. His life wasn’t as perfect as he believed and stress was literally kicking him in the gut.
The initial session of giving him some tools to deal with the stress in his life and teaching him what if feels like to be relaxed helped him sleep at night – you see, sleeping at night had not been “perfect” either. We explored relationship issues in hypnosis and he worked on communicating with his wife who turned out to seem much more positive when he began listening. He relaxed around his children and, after he got reacquainted, he decided they weren’t so bad after all and, if truth be told, he enjoyed their exuberant energy. He listened to the relaxation CD and his session CDs. He eliminated gas producing foods and began taking probiotics, He began to exercise and that not only reduced his stress levels but also increased his energy.
His gut began to relax and respond to the new regime. Now he can go anywhere, even to places where no bathrooms are in sight, and feel at ease. He’s even losing some of those extra pounds. He was sick and tired all right. And it was the stress, stress, stress that got him there. Using hypnotherapy helped him recognize his stress level and give him tools to deal with stress and life in a way that let him win his battle with IBS.
Irene Conlan has a masters degree in nursing, a doctoral degree in metaphysics, is a certified hypnotherapist and an ordained minister. She practices holistic hypnotherapy and officiates at weddings in Scottsdale, Az and the Phoenix metropolitan area. Irene can be found at: http://www.thepowerzone.com (Hypnotherapy Downloads) http://www.yourscottsdalewedding.com (Scottsdale Weddings) http://your-scottsdale-wedding.com (Wedding Blog)