Helping Stress and Stress Management with Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy & Cognitive Therapy at 1066 Therapy
covering East Sussex, Battle, Hastings, Bexhill, Rye, Heathfield, Hailsham, Eastbourne, Crowborough, Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Ashford and Kent.
So….What exactly is stress?
Firstly, the word ‘stress’ tends to represent anything that is emotionally ‘negative’. However, stress is basically anything – person, event, situation, experience – which tests us, challenges us, or puts any strain or pressure on us. As a result, our survival responses of fight/flight/freeze are activated to varying degrees.
Importantly, stress is not an emotion. Not like love, hate, fear, joy, anger, disgust, surprise, and so on. What we call ‘stress’ is actually our ‘felt’ experience of our survival response being activated over and over again. However, this is usually happening in the absence of anything truly life-threatening.
Finally, stress can be physical or emotional, internal or external.
Examples of physical stress are excessive heat or cold, or exercise.
Emotional stress is often caused by problems and demands in our relationships, our families, or our work. However, it is our responses to such things that usually cause emotional stress. It’s not usually the things/events in themselves. And our responses represent the sum total of all of our similar life experiences up to that moment in time.
Potential external ‘stressors’ are events such as a change of job, moving home, caring for family, financial problems, serious illness and so on. Although, as with emotional stress, none of these ‘external’ things can make us stressed. It is the way we respond to them which causes stressed feelings.
Potential internal ‘stressors’ are usually psychological in nature. They include the long-term effects of adverse experiences (unresolved emotions and conflicts), our personality traits, ‘core’ belief systems, and so on. All of these affect the way we respond to the different challenges facing us every day.
Eustress or distress?
A certain amount of stress, usually of a low level, is often necessary to help us to achieve certain things. For instance, meeting deadlines at work, or obtaining peak performance in a sporting activity for example. This is termed ‘eustress’. It is usually temporary and rarely causes major problems. In fact, we tend to get a sense of achievement afterwards. However, if our survival response is activated regularly and repeatedly, it causes ‘distress’. Chronic distress can develop into problems which we call ‘chronic stress’. It is simply our survival response being activated over and over again.
Signs of chronic distress
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Near constant worry
- Insomnia or other sleep problems
- Irritability and moodiness
- Drinking too much
- Feeling constantly pressured, hassled, hurried
- Feeling unable to cope
- High blood pressure
- Allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma
- Smoking more, or starting
- Sadness, or depressed feelings
- Physical and/or mental illnesses
- Low or no sex drive
- Drug use or dependency
- Physical symptoms such as stomach problems, headaches, or other aches and pains.
Everyone expresses their stress in different ways. Some of us become angry and ‘act it out’, taking it out on others and the world around us. This has its own problems (click here for more on Anger problems).
Unfortunately, regularly having our survival response activated depletes our digestive and immune systems (amongst other things). These systems are essential as our defence against illness and disease. Just ask anyone you know who has a serious illness and they will probably tell you that, just prior to diagnosis, they were going through a very ‘stressful’ period at the time. Or they experienced a significant emotional event about 18 months to two years prior to diagnosis. Finally, distress often connects to less serious illnesses such as colds and flu too.
I offer different approaches for this (and every problem). The choice of which one (or more) to take depends on the individual and their circumstances. We usually make the decision together during the initial consultation.
Please browse my site for information on the various therapies / approaches that I practise.
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Call me now on 07722783490 or 01424 772392 to book your free 30 minute initial consultation.