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Padman Pillai, M.Sc., A.R.I.C., C.C.H. C.I.

“I AM SO STRESSED OUT,” is a common statement these days. Pressures of day to day living are common in our world and when we are unable to deal with them effectively it leads to stress and anxiety. It is very natural to feel the stress in your body when life throws you off course. Initially it starts with a negative thought, or event, and as we focus on it more, it assumes giant proportions and creates a snowball effect. Soon it becomes a “close system thinking” and remains with us like a close companion, making us literally sick and out of control. The sympathetic nervous system responds to stress by creating biochemical changes in the body. The cumulative stress acting over a long time soon becomes anxiety which leads to panic attacks and subsequent depression. Nearly 90% of visits to a family physician are due to stress related disorders and trapped emotions. Of course, some stress is helpful to function in this world. If we did not have any stress at all we would not want to get up in the morning and get moving, becoming lazy and lethargic.  However, it is how we react to these added stressors that determines our health, happiness and well-being.

“Walter Cannon, a Physiologist, laid the ground work for the modern meaning of “stress” at Harvard in the beginning of the 20th century. He was the first to describe the fight, flight or freeze response as a series of biochemical changes that prepare you to deal with threat or danger.” (1) Stress affects the hypothalamus and pituitary axis and stimulates the kidneys and adrenal gland to secrete cortisol and adrenaline.  Constant secretion of cortisol shrinks the amygdala, the fear center of the brain. Chronic stress is harmful because it leads to anxiety, panic attacks and depression. It holds us back, robbing our creativity and sabotaging our health.

Trapped emotion is a one of a kind beast. Most of us have this problem. Let us take an example. A child experiences a traumatic event. The event itself may be neutral to others. However, the child perceives it as very painful and creates a story around it. Soon the event becomes so painful and the child is unable to cope with it. The protective mechanisms in the mind pushes this event and story into the unconscious part of the mind and it becomes a “TRAPPED EMOTION”. As a result, the child feels that he/she is not “good enough” or worthy. Sometimes the feeling may be abandonment.  These feelings can create anxiety, panic attacks or even depression. It is like a poisonous stone dropped into a deep lake, it remains at the bottom, covered and buried deep in mud. The stone starts leaching poison and eventually the whole lake becomes polluted. That stone is difficult to find as it is buried deep in mud. Nevertheless, we have methods like hypnotherapy to remove the poison from the stone.

What are some of the signs of stress and anxiety?

Racing mind and feeling overwhelmed

Lack of energy and clarity to make decisions


Negative impact on the immune system

No social life

Confusion and a feeling of defeat


Irritability and anger


Feeling overwhelmed by routine tasks

Constant sadness

Feeling insecure, afraid, empty and helpless

Feeling unworthy

Unable to enjoy normal pleasurable activities like eating and sex

Feeling weighed down

What can we do about it?

Hypnotherapy can get to the root of stress and anxiety. Cognitive restructuring and relaxation are the top two recommended interventions for helping you to enjoy a stress and anxiety free life. Hypnotherapy is able to accomplish both these modalities simultaneously.  Some other interventions are exercise, yoga, abdominal breath, meditation, good nutrition, EFT, and being aware of your self-talk.

Take control of your stress now! Please call me should you have any questions.


  1. The “Relaxation and Stress reduction Work Book” by Martha Davis, Ph.D, Elizabeth R Eshelman et al., New Harbinger Publications, Sixth Edition, ISBN 10: 1-57224-549-2