Stress.

Stress is something that all of us have to live with, and a certain level of stress, is necessary and needed in order for us all to function.  On a daily basis we have certain things that we need to achieve and do.  Small doses of stress can help people to perform and motivate them to do their best and get things done.  To this extent, stress isn’t necessarily always a bad thing.

However, it is when stress takes over, and things become too much, that our bodies and emotional well being start to pay the price.

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When people feel overwhelmed and anxious, and as though they can’t cope, it is likely that they are stressed.  Signs of stress include things such as tension headaches, irritability, mood swings, aches and pains in the body, constant worrying, anxiety and more often then not – different types of illnesses will kick in.

In addition to this people that are stressed, often find that they can’t sleep properly, their mind is over active, often racing about different things, and focusing on things that are very negative.  People can start to forget things, or struggle to get day to day tasks achieved.

The more overwhelmed and stressed people begin to feel – the more likely they are to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Such as alcohol or drugs. Alternatively people can develop an unhealthy relationship with things like food, exercise etc. Stress manifests in various different ways and people cope with it very differently. There are however far more healthier ways of managing stress.

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Learning how to deal with stress can be difficult initially, however once changes are put in place, the effects can be life changing.  Stress management is an important part of therapy, and when clients come for counselling because they are stressed, there are certain areas that can be worked on.  The following are some examples –

1. Learn to relax….

People who are highly stressed often find it very difficult to slow down and relax.  This is a very important thing to be able to do.  Whether it is finding time to read a book, take a bath, go for a massage, or a long walk – relaxation is key for anyone that is trying to deal with stress.

It may be that there are certain life changing events happening or major pressure at work.  However it is so important that somewhere in the week, time is found for relaxation.  This could also include things like yoga, meditation, or swimming.  It is very individual, and whatever people find helps them, in order to switch off and slow down.

2. Managing stress…..

The idea of managing stress is that you don’t let it control you.  This means taking charge of the things that are stressing you out.  If for example you are looking for a new job, or moving home, it is important to dedicate time and days for the things that are involved with these.

Rather then let them overwhelm you, or become too much on a daily basis, assign certain periods of time when you will focus on these tasks, and don’t let them dictate all of your thoughts.

It is important that you constantly affirm to yourself, that you are in charge, and that things are within your control.  As opposed to feeling that things are taking over, and that you cannot slow them down.

3. Talking….

 

On a professional level, therapy is very good for stress management.  But beyond the therapeutic relationship, it is important that you don’t isolate yourself, and that you keep talking to the people around you.  It can be tempting to go into a shell when you feel stressed and to stop communicating.

However it is imperative that people use the support network that they have, and let other people know how they are truly feeling. This means that in turn they will feel supported and heard.

4. Self care…

This is as simple as getting regular exercise, drinking enough fluids, and getting enough sleep.  In addition to this it includes eating the right foods, and getting enough fresh air.  It can be very tempting to turn to things like comfort food, alcohol etc when people are under a lot of pressure or they feel stressed.

The key, however, is to try and remember how important it is to take care of ourselves, when we feel stressed.  Eating the right foods, exercising, and sleeping, are all vital and important ways of combating stress.

There are other things that people can do when they are stressed, such as keeping a diary, writing to do lists, writing down all their thoughts and feelings etc.  These are just a few examples of how to combat stress.

If you would like more information or if you would like to consider counselling for stress management, then please call Hayley Maddox on 07590 663938.  Try to restore the balance in your life……

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