Stress management

By: Change it psychology  30-Jul-2009
Keywords: Counselling, Stress, Stress Management

 Stress is a common problem (who hasn't experienced it?) and can result in mental, physical, emotional, and behavioural effects.
Mental effects include difficulties concentrating, difficulties making decisions, forgetfulness, self critical thoughts, and difficulty turning off.
Physical effects can include increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, butterflies in stomach, nausea, dry mouth
Emotional effects include nervousness, tension, moodiness, loneliness, crying, sadness, guilt and shame Behavioural effects include difficulty sleeping, outbursts, irritation, aggression, avoidance of people or places, inactivity, drinking, or smoking.

Dealing with Stress
Dealing with stress usually involves understanding more about its specific effects on you, anticipating and planning for periods of stress, and finding the optimum level where you function best.  Using a systematic approach to problem solve what you can (breaking the tasks down into smaller steps and making a plan to do the steps) also can help you feel more in control.  Often the hardest thing for people is recognizing and accepting their feelings as we tend to berate ourselves harshly when we are feeling like we’re not coping. 

Developing new skills, whether it be learning to say no and be more assertive, dispute perfectionistic thinking through cognitive behaviour therapy, work when you feel like procrastinating or giving up control by delegating, can be an effective part of managing stress.  Many people we see find it very difficult to take breaks and schedule pleasant activities.  Using stress as a reminder to step back and to look at ones values and overall life meaning can be effective.  Learning mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very effective in stress reduction.

Work Stress
While there are techniques you can use to manage stress (e.g., slow diaphragmatic breathing, taking a walk at lunchtime, taking regular mini-breaks, increasing awareness of your own body responses and other skills), it also may be worth taking a big picture view of your stress.  For example, if you’ve identified that work is the main source of stress, there may be a number of factors to consider.

These might include workload and long hours, changes in the organization, tight deadlines, job insecurity, sense of lack of control, a difficult or noisy work environment, insufficient skill for the job, inadequate working environment, poor relationship with others, pressure from others, or harassment. Often people personalise organizational issues and feel inadequate because they are not coping, when no-one could reasonably handle that amount of work in a sustainable way.

Keywords: Counselling, Psychologists, Stress, Stress Management

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