Less stress equals a better quality of life.
However, stress is not always bad. It can help you react quickly and effectively, and in small doses it helps you to stay focused, energetic and alert. However, when it is constant, it becomes overwhelming and can damage your health, mood, productivity, relationships and overall quality of life. Stress can creep up on you, so that you do not even realise how much it is impacting your life. By learning more about the signs and symptoms of stress, you will help protect yourself against it.
Stress is a term that is commonly used today, and is a normal physical response to challenging and threatening events. Stress typically describes a negative concept that can have an impact on one’s mental and physical well-being. It is often our interpretation of an event that will affect our stress levels. When we sense danger – whether it’s real or imagined – our body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight-freeze” reaction, or the stress response. The stress response is our body’s way of protecting us in challenging situations. It can help you to stay focussed and alert. For example, in the event of an emergency, it can help you act to defend yourself. However, too much stress is not helpful and can have deleterious consequences on your health, mood, productivity and daily functioning.
Stress is related to both external and internal factors. External factors include the physical environment: for example your relationship with others, home life, work life, and all the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations that you are confronted with on a daily basis. Internal factors determine the body’s ability to respond to, and deal with, the external stress-inducing factors. Internal factors which influence the ability to handle stress include your overall health, diet, fitness levels, emotional well-being, and the amount of quality sleep you receive.
If you are suffering from stress, it is important to seek help from a practitioner as soon as possible. The psychologists at Western Plains Psychology can provide support and treatment for people who are stressed by helping them to:
- Manage and restructure negative and irrational thoughts
- Gain insight into their boarder personality factors that contribute to stressful feelings
- Use of narrative therapy (such as stories) to help the individual increase self awareness
- Practice meditative and relaxation techniques
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Teaching of relaxation and meditative techniques
- Understand how aspects of their lifestyle increases stress