Stress Management CounsellingFind a safe and reflective space to begin to explore your life
What is Stress?
Stress is a feeling that we get when struggling to cope with the pressures of life. It can effect people in different ways. What may be stressful for one person may not be for another. Difficult life events or situations can cause a lot of stress. You might feel stressed if you don’t have confidence in your own ability to cope.Stress is a commonly experienced problem. You are likely to know others who have been in a similar situation. There is no need to feel embarrassed or concerned about stress. Often it can help to tell others about how you feel stressed. They may be able to offer helpful advice and support.
Understanding the Stress Response
Stress is not harmful in itself. You are not weak because you struggle with it. Stress over a long period of time can, however, make us more vulnerable to health problems. Physical feelings are experienced when your body reacts to stress, fear or anxiety. These symptoms are often referred to as the ‘fight or flight’ response. This reaction quickly and helpfully prepares the body for action. It prepares us to either protect against or escape danger. Making our heart beat faster – to supply more blood to our muscles.
Producing more sweat – to cool us down. Tensing our muscles – getting them ready for action. Taking deeper and quicker breaths – to supply oxygen to our muscles. Shutting down body functions that aren’t needed at the time e.g. digestion (‘butterflies in the stomach’). Racing thoughts – quickly narrowing the available options to make a quick response. In the past such a reaction would have offered us some protection. Preparing us to react quickly in case of predators, and aiding survival as we hunted and gathered food.
These days we do not depend so much upon running or fighting as we negotiate difficult circumstances. The symptoms described above are therefore less helpful. They may even end up being quite confusing. Threats like money problems, difficulties at work, unhelpful staff or rude drivers do not require such an extreme physical reaction. These symptoms are not dangerous in themselves. In many ways it is a useful response, but at the wrong time. We need not fear the fight or flight reaction. It is our body’s healthy protection system. Understanding this can help you to manage the physical symptoms.
You need not worry about them or feel that you need to respond or react. You can allow them to pass, as they will do quite quickly.
What might prolong your Stress Levels?
Many people who are stressed avoid people, places or situations that they associate with stress. Avoiding problems rather than facing them can make things worse. For example, not replying to communications from friends.Stress may build up due to factors that are out with your control. On the other hand, you might have developed a habit of taking on too much work. You may not feel confident saying ‘no’ when you are asked to take on new projects. There may be things that we can do to manage situations and prevent the stress from getting worse.
How Counselling can help you cope better with Stress:
Counselling can help you by giving you a safe and reflective space to begin to explore your life and what is contributing to your stress levels. The counsellor will help you to understand the psychological and physical symptoms you experience and how you can start to make life changes so you can improve the quality of your life and your well-being and mental health. The therapeutic space gives you time to reflect, explore and examine what is contributing to your stress levels, how you experience and respond to stress, how you can learn skills and new attitudes to have a better balance in your life and how to prioritise and assert your personal needs.
Contact Access Counselling Clinic on 01 5240708 to book an appointment.