When we think things are out of control...
Stress is something we all encounter, life changes such as personal problems, relationship difficultes, recovering from a break-up, pressures at work and moving house etc. can all cause it.
A certain level of stress can be good for the body and alerts the mind, but if stress becomes too much it can take its toll physically, emotionally and on behaviour.
If you are under too much stress you may recognise some symptoms from the following:
• Chest pains/high blood pressure
• Constant tiredness
• Difficulty sleeping
• Changes in appetite
You may experience irrational/unhelpful thoughts and emotions like some of the following:
• Aggressive, irritable or edgy
• Fearing that you are physically ill
• Fearing failure
• Loss of sense of humour
• Feeling that things are out of control!
How you may behave:
• Difficulty making decisions
• An inability to concentrate
• Avoiding difficult situations
• More tearful
• Unable to show your true feelings
Seven Tips for Tackling Stress
1. Make the connection. Could the fact that you're feeling under the weather be a response to too much pressure?
2. Take a regular break. Give yourself a brief break whenever you feel things are getting on top of you - get a soft drink or take a brief stroll.
3. Learn to relax. Follow a simple routine to relax your muscles - particularly your shoulder muscles and focus for a few minutes on your breathing.
4. Get better organised. Make a list of jobs and tackle one task at a time. Vary the jobs, using the interesting ones as a reward for getting through the dull ones.
5. Sort out your stressors, separate them into those you can do something about and those that you can't. You might as well accept what you can't change and when the problem can be resolved get whatever help you can to do so.
6. Reassess your priorities. What is it that's giving you too much stress? What can you change? Can you work towards a better balance between work, social life and home life.
7. Confide in someone. Don't keep emotions bottled up. You will find that a very small number of cognitive therapy sessions (usually around 5 or 6 - I can advise you after your first appointment) can rapidly help you regain control of your life and help you manage those stresses.