By definition stress is “any emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioural changes” (Baum, A. 1990). Stress in the short term can help us stay alert, focused and responsive to a challenging situation for example when working to a deadline at work. However, long-term chronic stress can be psychologically and physically damaging and debilitating. It is something you do not have to live with and psychological counselling can help you deal with this sometimes disabling condition.
Common signals of stress may include:
Physical – difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, health problems (eg changes in appetite, headaches, digestive problems), feeling your heart is racing, muscle pain.
Emotional – mood swings, feeling depressed and/or anxious in situations which previously were not an issue, being excessively ‘wound up’ from feeling under constant pressure, irritability, difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions.
- See the funny side
- Learn to say no
- Plan your day
- Go for a walk
- Ask for help when you need it
How is stress treated ?
As with anxiety and depression while drug treatment is sometimes necessary, the more psychological management skills you can learn, the faster and more durable your return to optimal health will be.
The first step is discussing with you the ways stress is impacting on your life, establishing what you want to achieve from counselling and then developing a plan to achieve your treatment goals. This plan, generally 4-6 sessions, will include:
- Learning to restructure negative or irrational thoughts
- Learning the skills to manage stress in the future by, for example, increasing your emotional resilience to pressure.
- Gaining insight into broader personality or social situations that contribute to stress.
- This plan may also include hypnosis to address self-esteem or sleep issues or career re-structuring when work pressure is a source of stress in your life.