The Stress Response and The Relaxation Response – Two Perfect Systems

You are an amazing being and Mother Nature has provided for you well: she’s given you Two Perfect Systems.

Once upon a time, way back in the Stone Age when humanity was in its infancy, we developed a survival tool – a hormonal and chemical spending spree if you like – called the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight response evolved so thafred huntingt when the larder was bare and bellies were empty, and Fred, our friendly caveman, had no other choice but to get the spear out, he had the faculty to summon that extra drive needed to make the kill. This faculty operated so that as he and the rest of the hunters drew near the hunting ground, they started feeling revved up: the brain telling the body to release chemicals priming the hunters for fighting or fleeing, so that by the time they had the brontosaurus in their sights, they would be fully focused and ready to make the kill. That effort, then the dragging of the beast home, would use up the discharged chemicals so that complete recovery came naturally after the inevitable celebration shindig and rest to follow.

It’s as simple as that: a perfect system, the stress response.

Our biology still provides for such emergencies, although these days we rarely encounter a brontosaurus on the warpath. These days our stressors are quite different to Fred’s (and Wilma’s, who stoically endured the pre-hunt revving-up ceremony and post-hunt boasting!). Nowadays instead of a brontosaurus, we have a difficult boss. We have no need to go out hunting but most of us feel we have to show up for work five or six days a week. We rarely feel hunger in our bellies but we do spend hours ingesting radio waves from telephones; suffering badly-programmed cyber assistants from call centres; waiting in traffic jams and choking down fred - clubplastic food. Unfortunately, these days, spear throwing just isn’t on the agenda; that kind of physical action went out with clubbing Wilma on the head. However, we find our stress response activated in situations where as much as we’d love to, there’s just no opportunity to discharge those chemicals and hormones without the possibility of ending up in jail.

Stress takes its toll on the body and mind, not to mention soul. With the complications of our modern society, stress may continue indefinitely, which is very damaging and can end up compromising the whole system, leading to dis-ease in every way. But do not fear: clever Mother Nature also gave us the antidote. Just as we have the stress response as one of the body’s built-in systems, so there is the innate relaxation response, programmed to come to the rescue by undoing the effects of stress: another perfect system, a system that is REALLY good for you.

There is, however, a slight difference: a loud bang would probably startle you and get the stress reaction going through your body, and the sight of a sabre-toothed tiger in the back garden would have you up the nearest tree in a nanosecond. Why, I’ve even seen my mother jump on top of the coffee table that fast at the sight of a field mouse, and that was when she was eighty-two!

However if I said: “One, two, three – you’re under.” mouse

Well, maybe eventually you could train yourself to relax and go into a trance when prompted in that way, but generally it just wouldn’t happen. The relaxation response needs to be purposefully sought and practiced. There are times when the relaxation response does occur naturally, for instance when you sit on the beach watching the ocean, but let’s face it – how often does that happen?

So unlike its stressful counterpart, the relaxation response is not automatic; you must deliberately put time aside for it and practice! In other words, you need to learnto relax. It’s really quite simple: find the time and space, somewhere comfortable where you will not be disturbed, find a method that suits you and then practice, practice, practice! “Don’t worry, just relax and let me guide you…” Honest, it’s that simple.

Introduction to Hypnosis

Welcome to the blog.


I’d like to speak first, a little about what you probably want – change; and second about the the best tool ever for accomplishing it – hypnosis!


If you are uncomfortable in your own skin for any reason whatsoever just know that you CAN change, things CAN get better and the shifts may be smaller than you think – believe me I have been doing this stuff forever


Over the next few articles I’ll show you how.





In many ways the statement: “You are more than you know you are” sums up the purpose and power of hypnotherapy – a method that enables individuals to connect with and creatively use elements of their personal resources that are not available to them at a conscious level, but which are, nonetheless, present and available at a deeper level.  Within the state of hypnosis, a very pleasant state of deep relaxation, and with the guidance of the hypnotherapist, the normally dominant conscious mind is set aside and the vast resources and abilities of the un-unconscious are more readily accessible to be recognised, enlisted and structured in ways which assist in overcoming difficulty, achieving goals, and gaining the confidence to be all that you can be.


The unconscious mind has remarkable abilities to affect and influence levels of our experience and functioning that are often considered to be unresponsive to deliberate control.


Definition of Hypnosis by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis


Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use them more powerfully. Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is the ultimate act of self-control.


While there is general agreement that certain effects of hypnosis exist, there are differences of opinion within the research and clinical communities about how hypnosis works. Some researchers believe that hypnosis can be used by individuals to the degree they possess a hypnotic trait, much as they have traits associated with height, body size, hair colour, etc. Other professionals who study and use hypnosis believe there are strong cognitive and interpersonal components that affect an individual’s response to hypnotic environments and suggestions.


Recent research supports the view that hypnotic communication and suggestions effectively changes aspects of the persons physiological and neurological functions.




Practitioners use clinical hypnosis in three main ways. First, they encourage the use of imagination. Mental imagery is very powerful, especially in a focused state of attention. The mind seems capable of using imagery, even if it is only symbolic, to assist us in bringing about the things we are imagining. For example, a patient with ulcerative colitis may be asked to imagine what his/her distressed colon looks like. If she imagines it as being like a tunnel, with very red, inflamed walls that are rough in texture, the patient may be encouraged in hypnosis (and in self-hypnosis) to imagine this image changing to a healthy one.


A second basic hypnotic method is to present ideas or suggestions to the patient. In a state of concentrated attention, ideas and suggestions that are compatible with what the patient wants seem to have a more powerful impact on the mind.


Finally, hypnosis may be used for unconscious exploration, to better understand underlying motivations or identify whether past events or experiences are associated with causing a problem. Hypnosis avoids the critical censor of the conscious mind, which often defeats what we know to be in our best interests. The effectiveness of hypnosis appears to lie in the way in which it bypasses the critical observation and interference of the conscious mind, allowing the client’s intentions for change to take effect.


Some individuals seem to have higher native hypnotic talent and capacity that may allow them to benefit more readily from hypnosis. It is important to keep in mind that hypnosis is like any other therapeutic modality: it is of major benefit to some patients with some problems, and it is helpful with many other patients, but individual responses vary.


Thanks for listening

LEARNING TO RELAX – on a plate for you


Learning to Relax” developed after many years of helping people learn to do just that – relax – i’s incredible that in today’s fast track hi tech world there is so little of what is really good for us. I hope I can give you a little of that with this recording.

The recording is designed to make life easy for you. everything you need to learn to relax is right here, all you need to do is switch on – I’ve done the rest!

Learning to Relax includes has 4 different and proven ways of relaxation, designed so that each one can be listened to individually, according to the time you have, and the mood you are in. Alternatively you can listen to the whole thing through

I hope you enjoy it.

LEARNING TO RELAX is now available as an MP3 download for just £6.99

Learning to Relax is a deeply relaxing set of audio recordings where you will learn techniques of self-hypnosis meditation and abdominal breathing.

Detailed Description

Track 1,is a 4 Minute Relaxation to help you de-stress anytime any place.

Track 2, 10 minutes of Abdominal Breathing is guaranteed to help stress and anxiety, both in the short and longer term.

Track 3, The Sound of Calm, is my all-time favourite self-hypnosis technique. The subject of successful clinical research it has proven itself over and over with my clients.

Track 4, Learn How to Meditate, is a 10 minute taster of a variety of meditation techniques.

Quick De-stress

The first track of the Learning to Relax set of audio recordings is a 4 minute relaxation to help you de-stress anytime any place: whether at home, in the office, while travelling or looking after the kids. It literally takes 4 minutes and your whole physiology will change, try it for yourself and see.

Our physiological state is under our control and therefore a matter of choice – our choice.

Abdominal Breathing

The first thing we need to do to learn to relax is find the time and space.

The next step is finding the technique or techniques that suit you best.

I’ve chosen to teach an abdominal breathing technique here as it’s not only a great relaxation technique; it’s also a very useful technique for stressful situations. That’s because when we feel anxious we use our chest muscles to inhale rather than breathing from our diaphragm, as a result only the top parts of our lungs fill with air, alarm bells go off in our brain as oxygen levels fall and stress chemicals pour into our system. This sets up a vicious cycle, the stress cycle. The more pronounced the shallow breathing, the more the brain pumps out stress hormones and the more anxious we become. We can’t think straight, feel even more tense and the brain gets even less oxygen, triggering even more stress hormones……..and so on. Abdominal breathing is quite simply, the antidote!

Deep Breathing

Deep Breathing is a very effective method of relaxation. It works not only by boosting our oxygen exchange, but by lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. It also distracts us, thus boosting our sense of control, and breaking the stress cycle.

Forming healthy breathing habits is an excellent way of alleviating anxiety and can be done almost any place at any time. Once you have learned the technique you can use it as a first aid for stressful situations as a relaxation technique.

An excellent technique is found in Track 2 of this audio recording

The third track of the “Learning to Relax” set of audio recordings is The Sound of Calm. The Sound of Calm is my favourite self-hypnosis track ever! As well as being fabulously relaxing it is beautifully layered with post hypnotic suggestions for confidence building and much more.  It is the most amazing self-hypnosis track ever; its track record was proven when used in trials with outpatients of a mental hospital. The patients listened to Sound of Calm daily for 6 weeks and 60% of them needed no further clinical intervention whatsoever! I’ve seen this over and over with my own clients those who use it in conjunction with therapy but also with those who have never walked through a therapist’s door.

One such client was the woman who would watch the aqua aerobics class but stayed in the shallow end, obviously wanting to, but scared to join in. I simply gave her the CD. She eventually, tentatively joined in, grew in confidence and ultimately managed the deep water section AND to put her head in the water!!! About 7 years later she asked me if she could have another, I jokingly replied I wondered when you’d get sick of that one – o no she said it’s not for me it’s for my friend down south, she can’t sleep and I told her about the CD so I’d like to send a copy to her. I duly delivered. A few weeks later she told me that after 2 weeks her friend was sleeping soundly again??? I hadn’t even met her! I asked if she still used hers and she said every day at 3 pm I sit in my rocking chair switch the sound on and promptly nod off! I laughed I could just picture her but thanked her for her wonderful story.

I have had loads of other similar responses and letters and emails from far and wide from fear of flying / water / diving / intimacy, to growing confidence and self-esteem, bed wetting, impotence, vaginismus, stammering…. the list is endless.

Introduction to Meditation

  • The first thing we need to do to learn to relax is find the time and space.
  • The next step is finding the technique or techniques that suit you best.
  • I’ve chosen to teach here an introduction to meditation.

When you start practicing meditation what’s most important is to make a resolve to practice for a certain length of time and then stick with it. In an ideal world you’d practice for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the late afternoon or evening, but the great master says 30 seconds is long enough to begin! So today we’ll practice for 10 minutes as I guide you through various methods, you’ll soon know which suits you best.