The symptoms of anxiety and stress are driven by the same chemical reaction (adrenalin/cortisol release).

Stress is a normal response to a perceived threat and anxiety is largely caused by worry.

 In fact, ‘anxiety’ and ‘stress’ are just two different words to describe virtually the same experience - the symptoms of a higher heart rate, sweaty palms, churning stomach, inability to concentrate, reliance on stimulates such as alcohol, smoking or food to relax and let go and remove the discomfort.  All these symptoms, and others, are explained by the physiological changes that occur when the mind and body experience stress or anxiety.

If there is one difference between anxiety and stress, it is that anxiety is usually perceived as more short-term, whereas stress can last for weeks, months, or even years. The body has no way of telling the difference between an imagined threat and a real one. 

Can the mind create symptoms of anxiety and stress?

In short, the answer is yes.  Have you ever had the experience of thinking that you are late for work or you simply need to be somewhere at a specific time?  The heart starts to race, you feel uptight, short of breath, irritated, in a frenzy, become impatient and short tempered with others or even yourself. 

You start rushing around like a “bull in a china shop” trying to get ready, and suddenly you stop and check the time on the clock and you become aware that it can’t really be the time that you think it is as it is still dark outside. You check what time it is again and realise that it isn’t time to get up as yet.  So you settle down again and relax.

Thinking that you were late sent alarm signals to your body and it went into overdrive.  Your system went into stress mode, anxiety causing symptoms such as racing heart, churning stomach, sweating, etc just as if you were facing a real threat.  When you realised that all was well and you had not overslept your whole body calmed down.

Anxiety makes your body think that there is a real danger, it is the thought that produces the feelings and of course the body responds with the symptoms.  This can be disturbing on many levels, another example is:

  • if you are in a shop, a meeting or chatting to an old friend - your heart will begin to race, your palms get sweaty, and clear thinking will become impossible as your brain makes you focus on the source of the threat. The longer term effect is the suppression of the digestive system, immune system difficulties and suppressed sex drive as these are considered by the body to be long term survival needs and are shut down or reduced in the short terms in aid to support the body.

That worrying thought that creates anxiety causes uncomfortable feelings as well as physical symptoms:

  • Feelings of not being able to cope;
  • Not able to think logically, clearly or to resolve concerns;
  • Lack of concentration;
  • Thoughts that you will pass out or say something ridiculous;
  • That you want to escape and run away;
  • And that you are worthless, no good and hopeless.


Stress symptoms make us stronger, more aware and stupid!

To defend ourselves or our family we need to be able to respond immediately with extra energy and strength so your body prepares you to stand and fight or run with flight.  It does this by:

  • Increasing your levels of oxygen levels within the body and assist in taking more blood to your limbs so that they are stronger;
  • Constricting the blood vessels so they can pump more blood and oxygen;
  • Heightening your senses so you can hear, smell and see better;
  • Stopping you accessing your rational mind so you act on instinct instead of thinking things through;
  • Suspending all non-essential functioning - you don’t need to digest food or have sex if you are in ‘defend and protect’ mode; and
  • Bypassing your conscious mind as your brain prepares for immediate action

With your body ready for action you become faster and stronger – for example - a middle aged woman had a ceiling collapse on her whilst relaxing in the bath and managed to force the door open when two burly ambulance men had been unable to move it!

How to reduce your stress and anxiety symptoms:

A way to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety is to change the way that you think and feel about situations – this will then change the chemical message that your body receives and this will switch off the fight or flight response and your body will become calm.

Hypnotherapy can assist greatly in reducing the fight/flight response, therefore, through guidance and hypnotherapy Karen will be able to assist you with ways to over