Would You Like to be Less Stressed?
Stress is a major cause of illness and unhappiness within the UK. It is clear that Stress is taking it’s toll as surveys have shown that stress is a major contributory factor in up to 90% of all illnesses and 5 million people in the UK would describe themselves as being very or extremely stressed.
Stress is as an imbalance between a persons demands and their ability to cope with those demands. The personal demands that cause this stress are ultimately imposed by the individual, therefore stress, to a large extent can be indirectly self imposed.
How Counselling and CBT can help
Counselling and CBT can help with stress significantly. Some of the benefits include –
- Just having time and space to talk brings a sense of release and allows our mind to begin to think more rationally.
- As we recognise our symptoms, our self awareness grows and we begin to feel less overwhelmed.
- Our perception of our stressors become smaller as we gain a more realistic perpective
- We feel more able to deal with stressors that we may have been avoiding
- We find new ways to support ourselves
- We find ways to look after ourselves better meaning we’re more able to deal with our stressors
- We look at short-term plans as well as what may need to change in the longer term
- Challenge distortions in our thinking that may be exacerbating our feelings of stress
- Build confidence in our abilities to deal with life’s problems which reduces our stress levels
- Create greater balance in live
- Feel more supported – you’re not facing things alone.
Recognising we are stressed is the first step to being able to do something about it. Symptoms are mental, social, and physical manifestations and commonly include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feeling out of control
- Worrying excessively or heightened anxiety
- Self doubt
- Sleep being disturbed such as finding it hard to get to sleep or waking early
- Racing thoughts that you can’t stop
- Physical issues such as feeling tension and stomach issues
- Altered self-soothing behaviours such as comfort eating or drinking
- Emotional outbursts
Triggers for Stress
As the individuals we are, we have our own triggers for stress and commonly they can include -ss can include lack of interest at work, time pressures, excessive working hours, relationship difficulties, insecurity of the future and money concerns. This can result in muscle tension, increases in heart rate, cold hands and feet as blood is diverted elsewhere and increases in breathing. All of this can be very mentally tiring which in turn can increase stress levels even more.
Tips to help Manage Stress
Being aware that you may be stressed is the first step to Managing stress. Taking action brings us a sense of greater control and this is heightened when we start to feel the benefits of our actions. Below is a list of things that may help you –
- Exercise regularly as your body can fight stress better when it is fit. Exercise also produces endorphins which can raise mood and gives general feelings of wellbeing.
- Get enough rest and Sleep.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques – email me for a free relaxation guide.
- Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
- Keep a positive attitude.
- Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.
- Talk to others – seek out social support from friends, colleagues and family.
- Don’t rely on artificial means such as alcohol or drugs to reduce stress.
- Learn to manage your time more effectively.
- Set realistic goals – try not to overload yourself or add unnecessary pressure.
- Get yourself out of the situation, whether this be leaving or taking a break.
- Prioritise and try not to worry about the small things.
- Look around – See if there really is something you can change or control in the situation.
- Do something for others as this will allow you to be less conscious of yourself and your own concerns.
- Work off stress with physical activity such as gardening, housework or exercise.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Seek help if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Prolonged stress can have long term physical damage as the body’s response to stress creates the fight or flight syndrome. This is where your body concentrates on it’s perceived emergency situation and prepares itself for battle or to run by secreting adrenaline into the blood stream, halting the digestive system, hindering growth and slowing down the immune system. This can have many effects including causing an increase in general illness levels as the immune system is frequently slowed and stomach ulcers as the digestive system is impeded to protect the stomach lining.
Reducing stress doesn’t mean reducing activity or not achieving your goals but rather being more effectivea nd feeling a greater sense of well-being
Please contact me by telephone or e-mail if you have any questions or would like to know how counselling and CBT can help You. I will respond promptly to messages and arranging an initial session is also very easy.