Stress is something we all feel from time to time, perfectly natural. How often do we find ourselves talking about how stressed we are? First of all, what is stress?
Stress is a common-place reaction to the demands and frustrations of modern life. In small doses it can have a positive effect; giving us the extra energy and concentration that can help us meet that deadline, or react to threatening situations. It can even save your life.
When stress becomes chronic, however, it can cause major problems with relationships, work and our mental and physical health.
Stress can be caused by many things. These include demands at work or at home, health problems, having too much to do and little time to do it. Stress can be exacerbated by your coping style, your personality, your thought processes and factors such as fitness levels and sleep patterns.
Stress can be associated with particular phases of life. The stress of adolescence and young people exploring their own identity within a society with different values and expectations compared to their parents, for instance, is emerging as a major issue. Other areas include the stress of employment in a world where so much is connected and there often seems like little to no down time. Living Life Psychology offers particular expertise in this and other specific stress issues.
How to manage stress
Identify warning signs
These vary from person to person, but might include things like tensing your jaw, grinding your teeth, getting headaches, or feeling irritable and short tempered.
There are often known triggers which raise our stress levels and make it more difficult for us to manage. If you know what the likely triggers are, you can aim to anticipate them and practise calming yourself down beforehand, or even find ways of removing the trigger. Triggers might include late nights, deadlines, seeing particular people, hunger or school/employment related situations.
Having predictable rhythms and routines in your day, or over a week, such as regular times for exercise and relaxation, meal times, waking and bedtimes, can be very calming and reassuring, and can help you to manage your stress.
Look after your health
Make sure you are eating healthy food and getting regular exercise. Take time to do activities you find calming or uplifting, such as listening to music, walking or dancing. Avoid using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs to cope.
Notice your ‘self-talk’
When we are stressed we sometimes say things in our head, over and over, that just add to our stress. This unhelpful self-talk might include things like: ‘I can’t cope’, or ‘I’m too busy’, or ‘I’m so tired’, or ‘It’s not fair’.
Spend time with people who care
Spending time with people you care about, and who care about you, is an important part of managing ongoing stress in your life. Share your thoughts and feelings with others when opportunities arise. Don’t ‘bottle up’ your feelings.
Make time to practise relaxation. This will help your body and nervous system to settle and readjust. Consider learning a formal relaxation technique such as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or yoga; or make time to absorb yourself in a relaxing activity such as gardening or listening to music.
When to seek professional help
If high levels of stress continue for a long period of time, or are interfering with you enjoying and living a healthy life, it is worth seeking professional help. Remember, stress affects nearly a quarter of the population in Australia, so you won’t be the first or the last one to be seeking help. Seeking help can be one way to manage your stress effectively.
Therapy with Justin @LivingLifePsychology
What do clients say about psychological therapy?
“AT TIMES I FORGET THE FACES OF ALL THOSE WHO HELPED ME ALONG THE WAY TO RECOVERY; IN THE NUMEROUS HOSPITALS, DOCTOR’S OFFICES, COUNSELLING OFFICES, AND PSYCHIATRIC PRACTICES. BUT I WILL NEVER FORGET THE FEELING OF BEING TREATED WITH KINDNESS, UNDERSTANDING, AND COMPASSION. WHEN I GET ON THE EDGE OF RELAPSING BACK INTO DEPRESSION AND SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, I REMEMBER THAT I AM NOT ALONE AND THAT I DO HAVE PEOPLE TO TALK TO.”
Bondi Junction Consulting Rooms
Level 3, 1 Rowe St
Bondi Junction NSW 2022
(Opposite train/bus interchange)
Bookings by appointment only
(02) 8964 8090
Or click here to contact me.