Philip Holder PhD.
Copyright Philip Holder PhD. 2015


Today we live in a society that provides more stressors than perhaps at any time in history. Absent effective coping skills for dealing with stress both our peace of mind, as well as our physical health, can be negatively impacted. We know that stress can reduce the effectiveness of our immune system. That being true, it stands to reason that good coping skills for managing stress can enhance our immune systems. There are a couple of important issues that need to be considered when learning to better manage stress. First, it is a fact that there will always be stressors around us. The issue therefore isn’t about getting rid of the stressors (because it is impossible to eliminate all stressors from our world). The real issue is in how best NOT to internalize them.

Expectation is the catalyst for a significant percentage of stress related issues. It can be a person’s expectations of themselves or more often of others. Often expectations are unrealistic. When a person harbors expectations and the expectations are not fulfilled, internal emotional and mental stress is often the result. I have a personal life philosophy that, I don’t expect anything from anybody. By expecting nothing, everything I receive is a gift and I am not disappointed. I’m not saying that we should not strive to do better in our lives by setting goals and by being diligent in achieving those goals. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t set standards for our children as well as for ourselves. I am simply stating that the goals we set for ourselves must be realistic. As well, we must understand that we have no control over others and therefore cannot expect others to live up to our image of how, what, and who, the other person should be. We are not in this world to live up to the expectations of others nor are others in this world to live up to our expectations. Unfortunately, we (as a species) do expect others to behave and to think as we do.

What the mind perceives as real, is real to that individual. Because each person perceives the world differently, expectation of others is often a setup for stress related problems and disappointments… especially when we expect others to fulfill our expectations in how they should think and act.

When helping people who come to me or stress related problems, it is more often than not necessary to work with them on the issue of expectation. For example you might have someone say… “When my mother does X, Y, or Z, it makes me feel angry and stresses me out. The fact is, the person’s expectation of his or her mother may be unrealistic in relationship to what the mother is capable of providing. The answer is not to attempt to change the mother’s behavior (since that person has no control over the mother) but rather to accept the idea that their expectation of the other person is what needs to be reframed.

Hypnosis is a powerful tool for helping people reframe their expectations of others. One analogy that I use in addressing expectation, is that the person needs to take back The remote control of their life from others. I instill as a hypnotic suggestion, the idea that no one can push their buttons unless they willingly give the remote control of their life over to another person. Expectation is one of the ways through which we give away control of our lives.

To some extent we all want the world to fit our individual standards. It is human nature to think that other drivers go too fast, or too slow, when obviously you are a great driver. It is human nature to think that others should share our brilliant views on child rearing, politics, and society. The fact is that others often do not share our views and to expect that is unrealistic. When we rid ourselves of expectation, especially regarding expectation of others, one can take back The Remote Control of Their Life, and acquire powerful tools for stress management. This can lead to greater health and happiness.

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