How to Recognise Excessive Stress and What you can do about it
We can all relate to those periods of stress in our lives, whether it is a change of job, health issues, relocation, relationship break-up, financial problems, or loss. Stress is the body’s response to pressure from a situation or life event. The activation of our bodily fight or flight response is an evolutionary response to help keep us safe from danger and it can be useful when we need to push through a stressful situation. However, if the pressure persists, the cortisol stress hormone can take it’s toll on the body and often leads to a sense of not being able to cope and feeling overwhelmed. Stress is something we cannot escape from but there are key things to consider when knowing how to have a positive and healthy relationship with it, as it comes and goes in your life, without it leading to you developing an anxiety related issue. So let’s jump in!
Stress triggers - Take a moment to reflect on what your stress triggers have been in life thus far.
Self-awareness - Take a moment to note how you personally respond to stress. Identify the things you do to cope, to make it better and to get through it. Don’t judge how you cope - the key here is just to identify how you do. You may notice avoidance based ways of coping that help in the short term but can often lead to more stress in the long term.
Develop positive coping habits - It’s all about sustainable balance here (not perfection). There is nothing wrong with taking a mental health day off work or going for a glass of wine to unwind with a friend over dinner. However, if you’re doing this on a frequent basis, it can become problematic.
Take personal responsibility - During stressful times, swap the focus of attention from the things that are out of your control to the things you can do, things that are within your control. Be assertive and have the necessary meetings, contacts and ask for the help that will support you to get through the stressful period. (Top tip - targeting procrastination wisely helps to prevent excessive worry).
Acceptance - Once you have done all of the above, rest in the reality that it can often take a little bit of time for the adjustment process to happen. Knowing you are taking action in the areas related, with your best interest at heart, is the nugget here. Use your toolkit of positive self-care and wellbeing habits to support you through.
Future planning - Develop a template of your stress threshold and where your healthy limit is. This is different for all of us. Avoid multiple stressors or making significant life changes all at the same time (where possible). Avoid persistent stress, as this is the point where stress can develop into anxiety related disorders or emotional issues requiring professional help.
Maintain wellbeing essentials - Don’t under estimate the value and importance of a good night’s sleep (our natural medicine), nutrition, exercise, social contact time (not just online), 10-15mins minimum per day connecting to nature, remembering how resilient you are, and protecting personal time for creative play (stressful events can make life seem very serious). Also remember, loads of self-compassion! A useful technique for applying self-compassion is to talk to yourself like you would do a loved one going through your circumstances, using a kind and loving internal tone with yourself.
Life is stressful and, quite often, can lead to a sense of being overwhelmed or that you cannot cope. In such times, it can be really useful to seek professional help to support you to get through and get back on track. It is so important to help prevent longer term problems and CBT works a dream. At Moore & Moore Living, our priority is to make sure you get the help you need and we are always happy to discuss if an alternative provider, such as the NHS, or different type of therapy or registered therapist, is right for you. CBT sessions help you to get the cognitive, emotional and behavioural clarity and direction which help you get global control back. If you would like help with any of the above, then just complete our booking form for a free consultation with Catherine who will help you take the next step. Click here to book.