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Stress is a big issue at all times of the year, but particularly at Christmas.
Stress affects not just the mind but the body and not just the individual but all those around them. Working mums know the effects more than most, particularly at this time of year.
In her new book, The Stress Less Mind, Georgia Foster, an international clinical hypnotherapist who works with business executives, actors, sports people, couples and individuals, says the signs of stress are many and varied and include things like repetitive negative thoughts, depression, weight loss or weight gain, low self esteem and excessive drinking.
She says many are so used to feeling stressed that it may seem normal and calls stress “the number one emotional disease in the western world”. Her book is designed to help people overcome negative ways of thinking that exacerbate stress and allow it to take hold.
Rather than despairing and thinking you are for ever trapped in a negative cycle of low self esteem, Foster says that you can educate yourself to think more positively through hypnosis. She says: “If you can imagine the word ‘hypnosis’ is like attending a new school, this will be a school where you will enjoy learning new ways of thinking and responding. If your mind has trained itself through life experiences to think that you are less worthy than others, or perhaps that everything is too hard or difficult to deal with, over a period of time, regardless of the truth, it will consider these negative thoughts to be the truth. It is time to change this negative thinking into positive thinking and enjoy life.”
This all sounds fine, but can you re-train your mind? Foster thinks you can and goes through all the particular forms of negative thinking you might have, including people pleasing [to the exclusion of pleasing yourself and never asking for help] and perfectionism which many women will recognise. She certainly seems to talk a lot of common sense, whether or not you think hypnosis can be the solution. For Foster, hypnosis is not about losing control, as is commonly believed, but about going into the half-awake, half-asleep state you are in before you fall asleep where you are more intuitive and able to learn at a much faster rate.
She says: “If your unconscious mind’s library has not stored information and sensations about feeling less stressed, then it will find and bring forward negative memories and sensations which are detrimental to you and the situation you find yourself in.”
The book also contains an emotion chart to allow you to check what triggers stressful feelings and what those feelings are. Being aware of the triggers and how you react to them is part of your ability to overcome them, says Foster. She is convinced that your mind holds the key to a happier life. She states: “There is no secret to being a calm and more confident person, it is just a learned behaviour.”
The Stress Less Mind – daily survival guide to staying on top of YOUR LIFE, price £12.99, is published by Georgia Foster Publishing Ltd.