How to Overcome Burnout, PTSD, Stress, and Technostress

More people than ever report suffering from burnout, PTSD, stress, and techno-stress. Symptoms range from mild discomfort, varying degrees of depression or sadness, frustration, overwhelm, and hospitalization under severe circumstances. As that may be, learning how to relax and destress is essential to peace of mind and well-being, and that's the focus of this article.

To ensure we're on the same page, we'll start by defining burnout, PTSD, and techno-stress because people interpret these conditions differently. General stress is your body's natural response to various stimuli and signals a need to take action. An overload of stress may cause emotional, physical, or psychological strain; it signals that something in your life is out of balance or requires your attention.

Is Hypnotherapy effective for burnout, PTSD, technostress, and other types of stress?

Feeling overwhelmed? Hypnotherapy can help.

What Is Burnout?

According to the World Health Organization, burnout is an occupational phenomenon that they do not classify as a medical condition. It may be why people contact health services, but it is not an illness or health condition in their opinion.

According to the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), burnout is a syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress that is not dealt with successfully. Three primary dimensions characterize burnout:

  1. 1
    Feeling depleted of energy or exhaustion;
  2. 2
    A person may feel an increased mental distance from one's job, cynicism, and negativism about the job.
  3. 3
    And a reduction in professional efficacy.

What Does Burnout Feel Like?

Burning the candle from both ends is a leading cause of work-related burnout.

Take Time for Relaxation and Self-care.

Specifically, the term 'burnout' refers to occupational-based phenomena and should not apply to other areas of life; however, people describe various feelings and experiences as burnout.

It's reasonable to surmise that burnout may be the inspiration for the famous 1920s poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay that reads: "My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light!"

We'll never know whether she was burning the candle at both ends for personal or work endeavors, but stress has affected people since the dawn of time. Simultaneously, people have been learning to practice hypnotherapy, meditation, and mindfulness to manage stress and create more peace of mind.

What Is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that people may experience after a traumatic event or witnessing something unsettling. Although we tend to associate PTSD with veterans suffering from combat fatigue and shell shock, it affects people from all walks of life, not just military personnel.

Likewise, PTSD can affect people of any age, culture, ethnicity, or nationality. It affects approximately 3.5 percent of US adults annually, with an eight percent lifetime prevalence in adolescents ages 13 - 18. Consequently, women are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD, and one in eleven people will be diagnosed with the condition in their lifetime.

What Causes PTSD?

Virtually anything that feels life-threatening and affects our emotional, physical, mental, social, or spiritual well-being can trigger PTSD-related symptoms. For example, acts of terrorism, bullying, combat/war, domestic violence, rape/sexual assault, bullying, etcetera.

People with PTSD report having intense, disturbing feelings and thoughts about their experience occurring long after the initial traumatic event. They may experience anger, fear, and sadness or feel detached and estranged from other people. Similarly, they are likely to withdraw and avoid people or situations that remind them of the event or experience 'flashbacks' or adverse reactions to loud noises or touch.

Many people have PTSD, while others are overwhelmed by emotional fatigue and stress. Either way, a study about Hypnosis and Combat-Related Post Traumatic Stress Insomnia determined that hypnosis is as effective or better than sleep aids like Ambien.

What Is Technostress?

Technostress results from being unable to cope with rapidly changing trends in technology and the workplace.

Aspects of Technostress.

Technostress is the inability to cope with rapid changes in technology and first appeared in Craig Brod's book titled Technostress, 1984. Negative psychological responses to technostress include insecurity, overload, and unreliability. Work-related burnout and technostress walk along hand-in-hand, but people frequently overlook technology as stress-inducing because it supposedly improves our lives.

Reports of technostress are rising since more people work from home due to COVID-19 and other global conditions. Working from home is a daunting task for most people, who suddenly have to try and balance home and work duties within the same space amidst challenges such as children, pets, and other family members.

There are also technical challenges, such as internet speed and reliability, and learning various communication platforms, like MS Teams and Zoom. In our experience, it helps to schedule everything from online meetings to doctor's appointments and even lunch. Keep family members in the loop and consider sharing your calendar the same way you might with office colleagues.

What Exactly Causes Stress?

Many people feel stressed out due to various economic and global crises, but the real cause of stress is often closer to home. Feeling overwhelmed, overworked, underappreciated, or just having one more thing dropped in your lap can be enough to set somebody on edge.

Don't get us started on the endless deluge of negative news we subject ourselves to daily via social media and television. Most people are living in a continual state of hypervigilance and suffering from amygdala hijack. Thankfully, hypnotherapy is a fast and effective way to regain control and feel better because relaxation is a significant side effect.

Consequently, most people seek help due to something they're currently experiencing or something from the past that troubles them; they're not necessarily looking to relax, but doing so helps them destress. Either way, we know how to help them release those old feelings and replace them with new habits and beliefs that serve their current needs and desires.

Common Causes of Stress:

It's impossible to list all the everyday stress stimuli because people respond to things differently. However, we can lump them together into the following basic categories:

  • Partner-related issues.
  • Loss of income or investments.
  • Family-related issues.
  • Death, divorce, separation.
  • Feeling overworked, one more thing, too many.

And most people miss the fact that all of these events involve feelings of loss similar to death and grieving, commonly known as the Five Stages of Grief:

  • Denial.
  • Depression.
  • Anger.
  • Bargaining.
  • Acceptance.

The reason is simple: something is being taken away, such as time, freedom, security, and peace of mind. Consequently, these are characteristics of the Six Human Needs as taught by Tony Robbins:

  1. 1
    Security.
  2. 2
    Variety.
  3. 3
    Love/Connection.
  4. 4
    Respect.
  5. 5
    Growth.
  6. 6
    Contribution.

Regardless of the specific cause, tension is the one thing everybody suffering from burnout, PTSD, stress, and technostress has in common. Hypnotherapy is an effective means for alleviating the feelings related to those conditions because it helps people relax; it's as simple as that.

Burnout and the Stress Response:

As hypnotherapists, we rely on the Theory of Mind model to explain human behavior and why hypnosis works. Imagine that the mind is a complex filter similar to the one used in a coffee maker; however, it's multi-leveled and consists of four layers:

  • Conscious Mind.
  • Critical Mind.
  • Subconscious Mind.
  • Primitive Mind.

Throughout the day, our minds and bodies are subject to millions of information bits, some of which are essential and others are not. One job of the conscious mind is to filter out non-relevant information to prevent information overload.

The critical mind enables us to evaluate various considerations using logic and reason to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, when a precipitating event occurs, most people react using the reptilian brain, which triggers the fight, flight or freeze response.

The critical and primitive minds are somewhat opposed but essential to survival nonetheless. Things get interesting when we delve into the subconscious realm, which dictates actions behind the scenes, quickly, easily, and automatically.

It's the unconscious systems within our body that regulate blood flow, digestion, heartbeat, and much more, but also the subconscious scripts that rule our lives. Consequently, most automatic emotional responses form between 0-8 years old, which is why adults often act like children.

Why Some People Take Flight While Others Fight or Freeze:

When a stress-inducing event occurs, the lizard brain kicks into high gear, overrides logic and reason, and triggers the fight-flight-freeze response. It happens with the best intention: to save your life, but the system is continually tripping due to modern-day stresses.

The stress of looming work deadlines, malfunctioning technology, neverending doom reels, and endless text messages release the same flood of hormones as a life-threatening event. In other words, the reptilian brain can't distinguish between a text message from your mother-in-law and a sabertoothed tiger.

Under those circumstances, people in the modern world are subject to an endless flood of oxytocin, dopamine, and vasopressin. Not to mention an overwhelming amount of cortisol that contributes to weight gain, which is why the relaxing effects of hypnotherapy can help people lose weight.

The 3Fs and The Stress Response:

On a positive note, everybody experiences the fight-flight-freeze response at some level under stress. The subconscious scripts running in the background determine the nature of their response; it's not a conscious decision.

If they choose to fight, they're at least taking action, but time will tell whether it's the correct response. People who go into flight mode tend to suppress their feelings; they sleep more than usual or veg out in front of the television for hours on end until something pushes them over the edge, and they can't take it anymore. Procrastination and an endless loop of having to think about it are indicative of freeze mode.

Consequently, people describe the stress response in many ways, including anxiety, depression, feeling powerless, tension, worry, and uncertainty. Interestingly enough, our minds are prone to choose a negative known experience over a positive unknown, perpetuating a vicious cycle of stress.

It takes emotional intelligence and practice to respond using logic and reason, which form in the frontal cortex after the lizard brain downshifts and relaxation begins. Again, this is where practicing hypnosis, meditation, and mindfulness can help because people learn to relax more easily.

Perpetuating the Stress Cycle:

Clients suffering from stress report not being able to fall asleep (they call it insomnia), or falling asleep quickly, and waking up 2-3 hours later, and they can't get to sleep again. They wake up exhausted, often seeing the glass half empty, and perhaps their partner feels the effects of a disrupted sleep cycle.

There's tension in the relationship; one partner doesn't understand the other, the day gets off to a rocky start, and things digress from there. One or both partners are nagging the other, one thing leads to another, and the relationship spirals out of control while the stress keeps piling on.

Meanwhile, you're searching the internet for midnight insights into alleviating stress, and some well-meaning author suggests you relax. Ka-Boom! "Tell me something that I didn't know."

Here's the thing: most people don't seek hypnotherapy to relax and create better lives; that's just a bonus. Most people schedule appointments because they're struggling with burnout, want to lose weight, or stop smoking, then notice reductions in stressful feelings after treatment.

Of course, everybody is different, and we don't like to assume, so we custom-design sessions to address each client's specific needs. In that case, we're writing this article on alleviating stress based on the collective experience of our clients, and individual results may vary.

Is Hypnotherapy Effective for Burnout, PTSD, and Technostress?

Hypnotherapy helps clear the mind and create a deep state of comfort and relaxation.

Hypnotherapy Helps Clear the Mind.

Working with a qualified coach and hypnotherapist can help you connect the dots and objectively see things from a different perspective. Think of the adage about being unable to see the forest through the trees. In contrast, we're sitting on the other side of the screen, listening, trying to help you solve the problem from a professional vantage point.

With that in mind, guided sessions are more effective than self-hypnosis because you can relax comfortably and let us navigate the process. It is challenging to tap into the power of the subconscious mind if you consciously have to be thinking of what to do next, especially while caught up in the catastrophizing effects of stress.

Consequently, there's good news if you or somebody you know is making mountains out of molehills because it's possible to respond differently. Some people will get a flat tire on the way to work and say, so what? While another person will let allow that event to negatively impact their day and ruin the rest of their week.

The question is, how do you want to respond next time?

Because how you choose to respond to a negative stimulus is one of the few things in life that we truly have control over. Of course, it's easy to say and a challenge to accomplish, but practice makes perfect.

The unseen 800-pound gorilla in the room is the pre-existing association that predetermines the most likely reaction. In other words, if somebody loses their job or gets another type of bad news, will they respond by getting angry, getting drunk, or getting busy and finding a new job? It usually depends on the subconscious script running in the background, but it's also within our control to make a better choice consciously.

For example, you might say I lost my job, but last time I found a better one within two months. Or, okay, this relationship is over, but the universe loves a vacuum, so I'm sure to meet somebody better soon. Everybody experiences problems; the difference between happiness and overwhelm is learning how to cope.