What is stress? Help with stress management and relief.
Stress can be broadly defined as an accumulation of physical and emotional tension that is experienced when the perceived demands placed upon a person outweigh the perceived ability to cope with those demands.
Stress is not always a bad thing. Indeed, a little bit of stress can actually be a very good thing. You could say it keeps us on our toes when we need to dig a little deeper than usual to deal with challenging tasks or circumstances. Stress is an evolutionary adaptation that is designed to be activated in short bursts. It's a motivating response to an increase in current demands. It's quite natural to feel some degree of stress when doing quite ordinary, positively-focused things that are outside of the usual "comfort zone". Some examples might be: -
In each of these examples we recognise that a little stress will stop us from lapsing into complacency, which is quite correct. So stress, in and of itself, is not inherently negative. What we can see here though is that each of these examples are by definition time-limited. When the event has passed the stress response automatically subsides and rest follows. Problems begin when high pressure living places ongoing stress upon us without offering us the opportunity to recuperate from such extraordinary demands. We are not built to operate at 99% capacity full time. We are built to operate at 50-65% capacity so that we have a bit left in the tank for extraordinary times. If you run a car at 100 miles an hour all the time, the engine is soon going to wear out and over heat. We are the same.
The reduction of stress is what my practice is all about. Most emotional difficulties can be described as stress-related difficulties and there is no doubt that many physical difficulties are caused and/or exacerbated by high stress levels. So one of the fundamental premises of all good therapeutic work is the goal of an overall reduction in stress levels. We live in demanding times. It's a fast world, and we each shoulder a heavy load in our own way. Though we can often take sensible steps to minimise the weight we carry it's an unrealistic goal to expect that we can live lives which are completely free of stress-causing factors. Instead we can use tools that help us to work skillfully with those forces so that we make lighter work of them. Think of how a pulley system allows a heavy weight to be lifted easily using a number of load bearing wheels and you have a great metaphor for how mind-tools can be used to reduce the weight of stress.
The causes of stress for each individual are highly subjective. It's not really about how much you do; it's about how well you cope. Your personality and disposition will dictate what you find easy and what you find stressful. Treatment therefore depends entirely on your needs. We need to figure out together what's upsetting your balance and create a solution. Rest assured we have tools for most situations. Though it's true that there are some circumstances which may be currently inflexible there's usually room for a change of perspective at the very least.....and a helping hand with building hope and learning to relax.
I'll be happy to talk with you about whatever is causing you to feel overloaded. Just give me a call! Contact me to arrange a consultation.
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