Stress Counselling in London
What is Stress?
Stress can be defined as the pressure of external events onto the individual that cause a general reaction to change. It is a physical and mental response to feelings, situations, other people or places. The things that cause stress are called stressors. A stressor can be internal or external. An internal stressor is a feeling or emotion that causes stress. An external stressor is something outside a person that causes stress. Stressors can be minor, such as forgetting your work badge at home. Stressors can also be major. Examples of major stressors include moving house, the death of a loved one, loss of a job or a relationship breakup. Stress can be regarded as positive or negative. Psychologists refer to negative stress with the term 'distress'. The signs of negative stress present as very similar to those of Anxiety Disorders.
Anxiety is a psychological condition of tension and automatic alarm in the face of an imminent danger; it has internal origin to the individual and is generated by endogenous factors (internal). Stress, on the contrary, is generated by external factors (situations, changes etc…). However, the cognitive, behavioral and emotional reactions to stress are very similar those of Anxiety Disorders.
Signs of Stress
The signs of stress include the following:
- Behavioural responses to stress can include loss of will or ability to take care of simple and easy day-to-day tasks.
- Biological responses to stress can include the chemical release of cortisol and adrenaline, which can cause an increase in heart rate, increase in breathing (lungs dilate), decrease in digestive activity and fatigue.
- Emotional responses to stress can include feelings such as irritability, anger and low mood.
Strategies for Managing Stress
Stress means our bodies’ psychological discernment of pressure and the resulting reaction which encompasses many systems such as muscular, metabolism, and memory. In the present world, stress has emerged as a primary factor linked to such diseases as obesity, cancer and hypertension. Typically, stress can arise from a variety of activities and can last as little as an hour to as long as a lifetime. Positive pressure stimulates our lives and makes them more interesting; however, the moment stress becomes distress our bodies start giving indications of stress overload. Symptoms of stress overload manifest themselves physically, emotionally and behaviorally. Physical indicators of stress may include; headaches, ulcers and high blood pressure while emotional symptoms of stress are depression, anxiety, and irritability among others while behavioural indicators of stress include but not limited to changes in sleeping pattern, eating pattern and impulsive shopping or gambling. Managing stress requires that one takes charge of his/her life by identifying the sources of stress and working on resolving them.
The Importance of Counselling in Managing Stress
Counselling entails the provision of professional guidance and assistance in resolving psychological problems whereby the client unburdens him/herself and attains a new approach of thinking that enables them to open up to learning fresh strategies of stress management such as; proper time management, relaxation techniques, mindfulness and balanced life approaches among other aspects. Therefore, counselling helps us to initiate critical changes to lead happier lives when faced up with stress.
Additionally, counselling enables one to establish the origins of their stressors and hence equip them with how to take control of lives by minimising their effects. Psychotherapy provides one with the knowledge on how to alter automatic thought, ways of life and physical characteristics that feed anxiety cycles. Moreover, the art of effectively utilising panic inhibition strategies is another significance of counsellingcounselling in as far as stress management is concerned.
Lastly, counselling enables the client to develop appropriate coping mechanisms to control stressful situations accordingly. At the same time, counsellin makes it possible for one to acquire a number of methods suitable for preventing and handling any stress in future.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Strategies for Stress Management
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a short-term and scientifically proven type of treatment that combines both cognitive and behavioural therapies. According to cognitive behaviourists, psychological distresses come from conditions in both behaviour and thought patterns (Beck, 2011). As a result, change has to occur in both actions and thought. Counselee’s active participation in the entire therapeutic session is a critical aspect of CBT. As such, there are many CBT strategies to manage stress depending on the nature of the stressors.
One common CBT strategy for stress management is Controlled Breathing Technique and Progressive Relaxation Training. This strategy helps in reduction of anxiety, tension and stress levels. They involve a series of exercises that make the mind and body to attain gradual calmness. This kind of strategy works best with people who can clear their mind and control breathing. As this might not work well with some people, biofeedback strategies might be employed by the counsellor to determine the most suitable technique.
Cognitive restructuring is most suitable for accrued stress and persons who tend to either underreacting or overreacting to circumstances. This strategy involves the counsellor helping the client to see the problem for what it really is and hence stopping the incorrect viewing of the problem. The duty of the therapist involves instilling the use of logic to review a reaction to its appropriate situational level. This strategy helps individuals to question their feelings and thoughts towards particular situations and things.
Another set of strategies which goes hand in hand with the above techniques are Assertiveness Training and Communication Skills Training. The two approaches equip one with mechanisms on how to deal with problems in a tactful and fairway with the rights of every individual taken into consideration (Beck, 2011). Many persons choose to dodge stressful situations like asking for an increment in their salary for fear that they will worsen the situation or face rejection. Know the best ways of approaching situations, employ good speaking and listening skills is critical in reducing stress.
Lastly, problem-solving is an essential strategy when used on its own or when combined with other approaches to help groups, couples and families ease stress. Here, one learns best practices that enable them to concentrate on solutions and stop centring on the problem (Hoffman et al., 2012). Many a time, we focus on the issues and in the long run feel hopeless, stressed and out of control. This CBT strategy can help one to overcome stressors and minimise their effects by focusing on solutions.
Top Tips For Managing Stress
On a personal level, there are various ways you can do to manage your stress. Counsellors believe that the following tips can help one do away with day-to-day stress.
Establishing your Stress Triggers
Knowing the causes of your stress is critical in understanding how to manage them in future. By putting them down, one should be able to find out their stress triggers, ways of coping with them and also handle the reactions to them.
Looking after yourself entails getting ample relaxing time, eating and exercise. Professionals believe that exercising helps in cutting stress as it leads to the secretion of feel-good endorphins. It is important to dedicate a portion of your time to resting, meditating, or practising yoga.
Shun Unhealthy Habits
Most people turn to such habits as drinking, taking drugs, over-eating or smoking to temporarily feel better. However, these practices will result in more problems as they don’t directly address the cause of your stress.
Connect with others
When stressed it is advisable that we shun the feeling of hiding from our friends and the outside world, however, this can result in the sense of isolation and more stress. The ability to share your problems with friends, counsellors, co-workers or relatives is the right step towards dealing with your anxiety.
One of the leading causes of stress is the failure to take control of some happenings. Despite it being impossible to have total control of a situation, it is critical to always choose your approach to a situation. If you choose a passive role, the chances are high that the level of your stress will continue to scale up. Conversely, if you own up to your problems and choose to find help, you will start to feel to be more in charge of your situations.
Accept what you cannot Change
If faced by challenges which are beyond your ability, take a step back and accept the situation. Accepting the fact that some things in this world happen and you cannot control; hence the best thing is to focus on what you can control.
Treatment for Stress in London
The most effective treatment for stress is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focussed on stress management skills.
For more information about talking therapies and treatment programmes available at our Clinics in London please visit our Treatment page.
How to Get Counselling for Stress in London
We offer Therapy and Counselling for Stress at our clinics in Central London.
London Therapists for Stress
All our Therapists offer Therapy for Stress to Adults, Children and Teenagers. Click here to meet the Team.