Stress, who doesn't suffer from stress nowadays? We're plugged into social media all the time, we're
checking our tweets, we're looking at our Facebook, we're swiping right or left if they're really ugly on Tinder, we're texting, we're on the cell phone, on mobile forum, my British friends here on the Internet, you're watching TV, you're having dinner, you're talking with your family, have just stress, stress, stress is getting cold and you're not really enjoying anything. You're multi-tasking a lot of stuff, but just it causes cortisol, which is the stress hormone in your body to be secreted. Now, some common symptoms of stressing yourself are you're moody, you're up and down a lot, you're a bit restless, your sleep is not particularly good, and when you wake up, you don't feel quite as rested as perhaps you did at another stage in your life.
And the interesting about stress is chronic stress actually changes the size of your brain. And a part of your brain that's responsible for stress, and I am going to mispronounce it, so I'm giving you the heads up there. It's called the HPAA, which stands for the Hypothalamus-Pituitary Adrenal Axis. It's the part of the brain that basically secretes cortisol in your body, the stress hormone. Basically, a stimulus comes in, like you've been told that your deadline that you thought was on Monday, is actually at 12:00 p.m. tonight, and if you don't get this reporting, you are going to be fired, or that test that you have to scope that you thought was in two weeks' time is now actually in three days' time, and then big lot of cortisol gets dumped into your system from the HPAA, and how is processed through your system, and by system, you can change the work for body if you choose to, is what happens is it's in the endocrine glands, and the kidneys is where the stress, where the cortisol is processed into your body.
And this is causes us all kinds of ailments. And if going untreated, chronic stress can eventually lead to things like depression and chronic anxiety. And actually, what happens is the neuro connections in your brain start to get weaker and weaker and the medulla, which is the part of the brain where emotions are stored, which is almost your fear center, if you will, starts to get over-stimulated all the time, and it can affect cognitive functions such as learning and memory. I mean, if you ever had the situation where, when you're at home and you're studying and cramming for a test, all the information there like that hunky dory, but when you're in a situation where there's a clock in front of you, and there is a cost and the cost states that if I do not pass this test today, I do not get a certification, I do not pass my schooling, I do not get to my next pay grade. Then stress gets triggered off by the HPP into your system, or I should say they HPAA into your system.
Stress actually makes you stupid. Yes, it does. An example of this is, have you ever gone out for a randevu one night, whether that be a bar, a pub, a club, and you've come on late one night and you're kind of stumbling along, and you're looking for your keys, and you go into your pocket where they always are and you just can't find them, and you start to get a bit frantic, you search your inside your back pocket , by back pocket, perhaps your bag, perhaps look back in your car, you can't find your keys anymore, and you start to get a bit frantic. Then what happens is you start release more and more cortisol inside your body, you get stupid. And then we'll have technical name. And then what happens is the part of your... in hypnosis, we call a negative hallucination, and what that is, is when something's right in front of you, but you actually don't see it. And I'm not talking metaphorically, I'm talking about you're wearing shades, and you forget you're wearing shades, and your searching for your shades, and your shades are actually on your eyes and your ears. It's called negative hallucination.
Then, let's say, hypothetically, someone comes along, distracts you, a friend of yours is passing buying in the street, or a beautiful woman walks past, or a beautiful man, whatever, you get distracted, and you come back to check your keys in that pocket, that front right pocket again, and they're there now. It isn't like some little dwarf for midget put those keys in your pocket at that moment in time, they're always there. But there was cortisol running around your system, you couldn't find them. It's called hypnotic phenomenon and it's a believe level five on the Allen's level of hypnotize ability. There's only one more level after that, which is pulsive hallucination, seeing things that are not there like ghosts. But that's another story for another day.
So actually, what happens, when you have chronic stress, it literally causes your brain to sink, or shrink, I should say, in size. I don't think it actually sinks down low in your head. And you have a loss of synaptic connections between neurons, so you don't quite have as much mental capacity to get things done, because the signals and electricity in your brain get weaker and weaker and weaker. Too much stress, chronic stress as well also shrinks the prefrontal cortex of your brain, which is responsible for like, let's say, things like learning and memory, hence why in a test situation or where there are consequences to this thing that you are doing, you can become technical word, stupid. And like I said earlier on, it also can cause, if going untreated, cause to things like depression, and actually Alzheimer's as well.
So a good way of dealing with this is what I call, and I didn't make this up, I believe got this from Mike Mandela got it from someone, and it is identified in tree, identifying tree, identifying tree. You feel stress is coming up. If you can get that stress immediately like that, then your ability to deal with it exponentially gets greater and greater, whereas, if you wait for that stress and you're in the middle of a stress shit storm, so to speak, 30 minutes and 40 minutes in an hour in a day in, it's a lot harder to get control, because it's now got control over you.
So actually observing it and treating it in real time, which we're gonna address a little bit later on, is the best way to pull yourself out of these stress vicious cycles. And basically, what happens is exactly what happens. It just causes you to have more headaches in your life, potentially migraines, and things like that. It's just deeply unpleasant to have too much stress inside your life. You know, some people become addicted to stress cycles. And a little bit of stress is okay. It gives you a little bit of fire in your belly, if you will, if you know, "Yeah, I've got that deadline. It needs to be done tonight, and you've done your work, and you notice a deadline, and there's a real reasons to get that thing completed." But if that stress comes out in the middle of nowhere, like that deadline is brought forward, then you can be in some real trouble.
How I like to differentiate stress, good stress from bad stress. I just call bad stress, stress and I've got good stress positive pressure. And what positive pressure is to me is, you know you've got 10 weeks before you go on vacation. You wanna lose a little bit weight, you wanna be in better shape, you've got 10 weeks, your 10 weeks out to get your nutrition dialed in, to get your training dialed in, and to look the best you can possibly be.
Another example is in six months' time you got the actual date. You are being tested for that next level certification, which is gonna enable you to make more money at work, or get your degree at school, whatever it may be. You know when the day is, you know when you've been tested, you know when graduation is, and you know you've got X amount of time to do it, so then you can start to backwards engineer the study time that you need to incorporate into your life potentially every day, every week, every month to be able to pass that test.
That's great, because goals in life, goals are great, but dreams, dreams, people say, "I have a dream, a dream of this, a dream of that." Dreams are goals without deadlines. Now, when you have a goal, it's a dream of a deadline. It's like, "All right. Well, I want to go live in New York City." Well, that's just a dream. But I wanna put a deadline and, "Well, I wanna live in New York City by 2020." And let's get even more specific, "By March 1st, 2020. I am going to live in New York City. I'm going to be an American citizen." Now, I don't necessarily know how I'm going to get there or how that's going to be possible, but I don't need to know that now. But I've taken a dream, I've turned it into a goal, and I've given it a deadline.
Now, it gives my conscious mind something to work with. And my conscious mind can come onboard as well and start to structure something, a way, enable me to pick up these things in order to make that inevitability. So positive pressure is really important for growth in your life, and I certainly encourage it. But stress, stress just makes you feel like shit, and it just overstimulates your pituitary gland, endocrine system and it just affects each and every area of your life negatively. An example of this is, if I see a client and they are so stressed...Think of it like this, it's like a garbage bin, a garbage pile, it's filled to the top. And let's say that clients coming to me because they're an alcoholic and they want to no longer do the symptoms of drinking alcohol.
If they're tremendously fucking stressed, and I go after the alcohol addiction, but don't deal with the stress, then they might feel good at the end of a session, but as soon as the shit hits the fan technical word, they're going to go back to their coping strategy, which is drinking alcohol. So if your head trash can, your head trashed pile, if you will, is full and the first thing I need to do whenever I do change work with people, is the need to empty that stress and give people coping mechanisms to daily take out that head trash. So that stress, that garbage pile, that garbage bin never gets totally full, because when it gets totally full, that's when it starts to seep out of your head, so to speak.
I'm not talking about brain fluid, I mean seep out by bad attitudes, by you being more irritable than you need to be, more snappy than you need to be, more frantic, more angry than you need to be. Yeah, there's probably some good reasons and some good reasons for doing that, but you're probably not handling your stress too well, which is causing you to act like a child, and I'm speaking about this because I used to do it all of the time as well, and it's a consistent work for me to be able to deal with these things, and to deal with my own stress.
Every sickness, every disease, physiological, mental, 99.99% of the time is preceded by stress. Typically, people don't live typically a healthy, happy, successful life, and then one day have a heart attack and die. Oftentimes, there's an awful of stress, and chronic stress has been proved to cause a lot of heart disease. Through clients I've worked with have suffered from cancer, typically, not 100% of time, but typically, it's not that their life was absolutely amazing and perfect. Usually, something had happened within two years of them first contracting the symptoms of cancer. It could have been a death in the family, losing a job, changing a job, losing a house, moving a house, a breakup of a relationship, someone passing away, some other kind of injury that typically, most of the time, had happened to every client who suffered from the symptoms of cancer before I met them within two years of them contracting those symptoms of cancer, stress.
Stay tuned for part 2 next week.
Luke Michael Howard PhD