More than ever, scientific surveys are proving the primary role played by stress in causing and aggravating various physical and emotional disorders. In the June 6, 1983 issue of Time Magazine, the cover story labeled stress “The Epidemic of the Eighties.” The article also mentioned that stress is our prominent health issue. Indeed it is unquestionable that the world has become more and more complicated and stressful in the past 25 years since that article was written. Many surveys indicate that almost everybody perceives themselves as being under a lot of stress. Authorities in the field estimate that around 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are related to stress. Most people say that their job is the major reason of their stress. And stress levels have also increased in children as well as the elderly population because of several reasons including: Peer pressures that often lead to everything from smoking to drug and alcohol abuse; the dissolution of family and religious values and ties; growing crime rates; threats to personal safety; as well as social isolation and loneliness. Stress can cause and aggravate problems such as diabetes, ulcers, low back and neck pain, hypertension, strokes and heart attacks. This is due to the ever growing sympathetic nervous system activity as well as a flood of cortisol, adrenaline, and other hormones. Chronic stress is corollary of weakened immune system resistance. Stress can contribute to anxiety, depression, and its various effects on the body’s organs. “Stress” is defined as follows by the American Heritage Dictionary: “To subject to physical or mental pressure, tension, or strain” The following is the definition of “tension” from the same dictionary: “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 is the definition of “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 nonetheless be sure that our mind is the primary cause of our feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. We could also say that, what we think about, and our attitudes and the way we view our experiences dictate what we feel. So if we can manage to modify our thoughts, attitudes, and points of view, then we can be relieved of our stress, anxiety, and depression and replace them with a better state of being. Since the beginning of time, people have tried methods for getting rid of stress. The pharmaceutical industry seems to have a drug for everything. For that the industry has produced a large line of sedatives from Valium to Xanax. If you choose to use drugs for relief, please make sure that you read the fine print and learn about the side effects, which usually are, among others, addiction and dependency. Indeed these kinds of drugs try to treat the symptoms, but not the cause. So when one stops ingesting them, the symptoms can come back. A more intelligent method to eliminate tension, stress, anxiety, and depression is to treat its actual cause, which as I said above, is generally our thought processes. There is some good news. The basis of hypnosis is relaxing. The AMA accepted hypnosis in 1958 as an effective method of treating stress or stress related symptoms. However unlike anxiolytics, there are categorically no bad side effects. Hypnosis is the Alpha level of consciousness. It is the daydream like temporary psychological state which we feel as we are about to fall asleep at night. And we feel it once more when we awaken again. There are several different ways we can guide ourselves into this relaxed mood, from step-by-step relaxation to visual imagery to listening to hypnosis CD’s. When we enter the hypnotic state, we can communicate with our unconscious mind, which is the seat of our emotions. And one can more easily accept new points of view and ideas which will help us to dissipate anxiety, or even prevent it from occurring in the first place. NLP, which is a modern kind of hypnosis, offers various really good techniques for releasing stress. Maybe the technique that works best is called the “swish” pattern – or the “flash” pattern. After using the “flash” pattern, your unconscious will automatically use negative, stress triggering mental images, as triggers for tranquilizing mental images. Otherwise stated, what commonly makes you feel stress will now trigger relaxation! TO SUM THINGS UP Tension, stress, anxiety, and depression can be prompted by our thoughts. So by changing 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 make it possible to change our attitude and point of view to easily dissipate the source of our negative feelings.