Sally Potter

Sally Potter


Sally is an experienced hypnotherapist who lives and breathes all angles of wellness. Her life and work reflect her love for nature, food, and intentional movement.

What is stress and how does it create anxiety?

Stress can be acute or chronic, physical or psychological, even real or imagined. So what is stress, and how does it create anxiety?

Whichever type of stress you are experiencing, the effects are likely to be the same. However, different people respond in different ways, and the symptoms of stress can appear in all sorts of ways.

One thing we know for sure though, is that stress, particularly prolonged stress, impacts disease.

Another thing we know is that learning to relax is a good way to combat stress

What makes an event stressful?

Cohen, Murphy et al, in their 2018 paper ‘Ten Surprising Facts about stressful life events and disease risk’
describe four different ways of looking at the causes of stressful events.

  1. Adaptation – the amount of adaptation required to manage a situation. When we are required to continuously adapt, the stress accumulates.
  2. Threat or harm – situations in which an individual is under threat. This could be threat to identity, wellbeing, social status, as well as the more extreme threat of loss of life for example.
  3. Where demands exceed resources – When we are required to manage situations which are beyond our capacity, or beyond our perceived capacity. Whether physically, mentally or otherwise (financially for example) this impacts our stress levels.
  4. Interrruption of goals – where events stop us from getting where we want to be.

Whichever one of these approaches you prefer, the result is stress.

What is the point of stress?

Stress, and anxiety, are primitive responses that help us to stay alive. When we come under pressure for whatever reason, the fight, flight, fear networks in our brain choose a response.

This may include increasing focus, upping our heart rate, tensing our muscles and breathing faster.

These chemical and physical responses are designed to help us cope with the situation by making us strong, alert and focused, so that we can save ourselves.

If the response works, then our brains will encourage the same again, whenever a threat arises.

Some stress is helpful, but not if it keeps on happening, and we keep on responding.

When stress becomes unmanageable, anxiety kicks in. When we don’t do anything about the anxiety, it can spiral so that we get stuck in a cycle of worry and stress.

The combination of a demanding job and family life left me feeling completely overwhelmed and out of control. This led me into a vicious circle of poor sleep, acute anxiety and procrastination. I was desperately unhappy and fearful.

Working with Sally at Aloft Hypnotherapy has enabled me to break out of this cycle and move forward.

Within a few sessions I was able to relax, understand the reasons for my behaviour and control the panic attacks. I now practice what I learned every day and have a completely different outlook on the world. This has enabled me to achieve more and to focus on the things in my life that make me happy


What helps stressful events to be less stressful?

The healthier we are the less likely we are to be affected by stressful events. Our genetics have an impact on our health. In addition, there are plenty of ways to ensure that we work with our biological heritage to be as healthy as we can be.

Five ways to combat stress on a daily basis

  • Exercise – keeping active in a natural and sustainable way has been shown to lead to a longer and healthier life. People living in the Blue Zones of the world, where life expectancy is greatest, don’t use gyms. Instead, they keep moving with outdoor and indoor tasks, walking to visit friends, and activities in nature.
  • Good nutrition – eating healthily leads to better sleep, more energy, better focus and better mental health.
  • Positive thought – practice noticing the good things. The more we pay attention to what we want, rather than what we don’t want, the easier life becomes. Don’t believe me? Give it a try! Write down or tell someone 10 things that have been good about your day. keep it going for a week and see what difference it makes.
  • Offsetting stress with downtime. When we learn to recognise stress, we can also decide to offset it with a different activity. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for everyone – here are a few ideas –
  1. Nature. Being outside
  2. Art and creativity
  3. Laughter
  4. Meditation/ mindfulness
  5. Physical exercise
  6. Breathwork
  7. Reading
  8. Napping and sleeping well
  9. Cooking
  10. Being with friends
  • Learn to relax. Most people I meet in the therapy room never properly relax. And yet it is vital for every system in our bodies to have time off from stress.
    When we really relax, our parasympathetic nervous system is activated. This system regulates our digestion, heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. You can see how important it is.

Hypnotherapy, relaxation and retreats

The focus of Sally and Aloft Hypnotherapy is on creating and maintaining a healthy mind and body through stress reduction.

There are three main ways I can help you to lead a calm and confident life.

  • Hypnotherapy

    Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a powerful tool in helping to relieve that stress and to bring anxiety levels down, allowing us to get back in control of our thoughts and emotions and therefore our lives.
    Hypnosis in a clinical setting brings about a very natural state of deep relaxation where the mind is focused and the subconscious is open to suggestion for your benefit.
    You can schedule an Initial Consultation here, or book a Tell Me More call with Sally to chat through the options first.

  • Group Relaxation

    I hold a monthly group relaxation session over Zoom. This 45 minute session will help you learn how to relax and let go. People notice that they sleep well, and manage their lives better, as a result of these sessions. You can book your place here.

  • Retreats

    Coming to a retreat allows you to completely let go of worries and stress. A Healthy Minds Nourishing Retreat is fully inclusive. The only thing you need to do is get here!
    During a retreat, you’ll learn strategies for managing stress. More importantly, you’ll discover your own resources for a healthy life. All in the beautiful and comfortable setting of the Cottages at Blackadon Barns on the Southern tip of Dartmoor.