I’m sick and tired of hearing about stress

He was sick and tired all right. And it was the stress, stress, stress that got him there.

by Irene Conlan — 

“I’m sick and tired of hearing about stress,” he said. “I read about it in magazines and the newspaper; they talk about it on the radio and on TV. That’s all they talk about at work. Stress, stress, stress. So what’s the big deal?”

He had come for hypnotherapy because he suffered from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and had been told that hypnotherapy might help. (See the Apr/May 2006 issue of AZNetNews for the article “Hypnotherapy and irritable bowel syndrome.”) He also was seriously overweight.

After the introductions, I asked him to describe the stress in his life. He responded by telling me he had no stress. A summary: His job was perfect. His marriage was perfect. His schedule was perfect. His children were perfect. Even the dog was perfect. (I didn’t ask him about his daily commute to and from work. I just couldn’t believe that driving the freeway in rush hour could continually be perfect.)

As we discussed various areas of his life in more depth, I learned that he was in a fast-paced job and was experiencing an undercurrent of fear that if he didn’t keep up he would be terminated and replaced with someone younger. He buried himself in TV, reading or sports to avoid the nagging, negative comments of his spouse, and waved off his children’s questions and demands for attention with, “Can’t you see I am busy now?” (The kids made him nervous with their loud music, strange language and outlandish clothes, so he kept them at a distance.)

I asked him about exercise and he told me he had stopped his daily jogging routine last year because the pollution in the air had caused his asthma to flare up.

When I asked what he worried about the most, I heard a long laundry list of worries that ranged from not enough money, to “What if I get cancer?” to what would happen when he became too old to work. I asked what he thought about the most, and he replied that he continuously thought about what would happen if he had instant diarrhea with no bathroom in sight.

Some of the major events in his life over the past year included a move to a bigger house, the accidental death of a brother, and a child who required rehab because of a drug problem. These events, combined with the internal and external stresses of daily life, put him “over the top” on the stress charts. (If you haven’t seen one of these, search Google for “stress chart” and you can measure your own stress levels.)

After completing the initial pre-hypnosis interview, I summarized what he had told me. He looked at me in disbelief. He hadn’t ever taken the time to look at his own life and had been in denial or in ignorance of all the stressors. His life wasn’t as perfect as he believed, and stress was literally kicking him in the gut.

The initial session gave him some tools to deal with the stress in his life, and taught him what it feels like to relax. This helped him sleep at night — you see, sleeping had not been “perfect” either. We explored relationship issues in hypnosis, and he worked on communicating with his wife who suddenly seemed much more positive, once he began listening. He relaxed around his children and, after they got reacquainted, he decided they weren’t so bad after all; and, if truth be told, he enjoyed their exuberant energy.

He listened to a relaxation CD and his session CDs. He eliminated gas-producing foods and began taking probiotics. He began to exercise again, which not only reduced his stress levels but also increased his energy. His gut began to relax and respond to the new regime. Now he can go anywhere, even to places where no bathrooms are in sight, and feel at ease. He’s even losing some of those extra pounds.

He was sick and tired all right. And it was the stress, stress, stress that got him there. Using hypnotherapy helped him recognize his stress level and gave him tools to deal with the problems so that he could win his battle with IBS.


Irene Conlan has a master’s degree in nursing, is a certified hypnotherapist and a certified past-life regression therapist in Scottsdale, Ariz. or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 3, June/July 2006.

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