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Stress can be described as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood and the “flight or fight response” is switched on.
Fear is a natural reaction to danger, a survival signal that switches on the “flight or fight response” – also referred to as the “stress response”. Our bodies will also respond to perceived stress when you are angry, frightened, anxious or compromised in a way that you feel like you have no control.
The body’s physiological reactions range from an increased heart rate (that very often is a pounding in your chest that people feel like they are having a heart attack), tightness or butterflies in the stomach; tingling or draining feeling in the arms and legs; rapid breathing; a dry mouth and a hyper-vigilance that has you very aroused, and you feel like you cannot function calmly or think clearly.
Our brain does not know the difference between a real or perceived danger and because our very powerful subconscious part of the mind in the brain stem responds to this real or perceived danger (or stress) before the thinking part of our brain (the cortex)can analyse the situation and find a useful response. This is why we so often feel useless in stressful times as we are flooded with stress hormones and negative emotions and can’t think our way through to a solution. Neuroscience has revealed so much about the workings of the brain that makes it so much easier for us to understand the effectiveness of how and why some NLP techniques work so well.
There are a number of very effective NLP techniques that can “weaken” the old sensory memories and create new neural pathways in the brain that will feature new experiences of feeling safe, calm, in control and able to respond flexibly. There is always a need to maintain a low level of cautious awareness (fear) as a healthy survival mechanism, so the focus is to strengthen your personal resources of feeling safe, calm and in control.