Most of us feel under stress from time to time. Sometimes we feel under a great deal of stress for longer periods of time. Stress can build up in our lives and the cumulative effect may leave us feeling low, dealing with some powerful symptoms and feeling less able to cope.
When this is the case the stress you feel is not just a physical/psychological prompt to make changes or take action (the evolutionary ‘benefit’ of feeling stress), but instead is out of proportion – it holds you back and brings unhappiness and anxiety.
Stress can be brought on by events in our lives – often this involves pressure we (or others) put upon ourselves, so it’s common to feel stress through situations at work whether you are a CEO or have just started work. Other situations in our lives may be very difficult and complex – difficult relationships, bereavements, moving house, getting married, being made redundant, and so on. These may well increase the stress we feel.
More than outside situations, perhaps we have ways of ‘seeing the world’, including our thoughts, feelings and habits, that actually seem to increase the stress we place on ourselves – we become stuck in unhelpful patterns. The effects are not just psychological but physical too. Our levels of cortisol, serotonin and adrenaline / noradrenalin, are all effected when we are under stress for prolonged period, and this can leave us feeling physically impaired.
Emotionally you may feel symptoms such as increased irritability, feeling overwhelmed, feeling anxious, and with low self-esteem. Physically you may be experiencing sleeplessness, dizziness, sweating, digestive issues or palpitations. There are many more symptoms that you might feel. If you feel stress is taking over your life and causing you to suffer, then one way forward is to talk to a therapist.
Our work would be likely to cover symptom management to reduce the difficulties you are facing, and also work to understand the underlying causes of the stress you are experiencing, cognitively, emotionally and physically. We may explore issues that trigger the strongest feelings of stress and work together to bring about changes to improve your physical and emotional wellbeing and get back that sense of control in your life, which is so often lost when under acute stress.
If you are currently experiencing very acute stress, please also take a look at my Resources page, or if the symptoms are physically acute consult a GP or go to your nearest A&E department.