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Affirm Counselling Counselling & Psychotherapy in Brighton (Seven Dials) & Hove

How to Handle Stress

Working with you within our therapeutic relationship we will discover user-friendly and effective ways to deal with stresses that are currently affecting your life. We can look at the past causes of stress that may add to the problems in your life and the patterns that might hold you back.

We can choose to set goals to make life better and find new ways of doing things and also quick “ways out”.

Stress is when we feel there are too many demands put on us and think/feel we cannot cope. Major life stress events, can be moving house, death, loss, illness, money, or just the demands we place on ourselves without taking time out.

We find ourselves thinking “I need help” “This is unfair” “I am not enjoying my life” “I never have enough time” “I must get this done” etc.

One way of noticing this stress is to get more grounded in our own bodies so that we can notice how we try to suppress our adrenaline responses. This is our alarm system and alert that all is not well. It is there to help us survive when under physical threat, but gets activated at the wrong times when we are under stress. We must be attuned to this and listen and respond to the alarm bells ringing.

Physical symptoms to look for are headaches, jaw tension, agitation and restlessness, lack of concentration, tense muscles in the shoulders, neck or stomach, or feeling hot and sweaty or queasy and light headed.

What do we do when we feel under stress?

Tendency to rush around dangerously, trying to do lots of things at once, but not really finishing the tasks.

Interrupted sleep

Anxiety or panic attacks

Getting angry quickly (people pressing our hot buttons)

Drinking and using drugs to compensate.

Smoking excessively

Crying (can be releasing)

Over eating

In therapy we will look at the specific situations that cause stress, and who you are with and what you are doing etc and decide on some simple changes – a plan of action for change. We will identify at least 6 factors that are personal to you but contributing to the central stress issue. Then look to make the smallest of changes in routine (for example whilst sitting in front of the computer – we can change the dynamic by getting up and stretching or shaking off tensions) thus at the end of the day we take more satisfaction and pleasure in our day as we looked after ourselves.

There are numerous tips to focus on such as using our minds to imagine positive outcomes (positive visualization) which I can coach you in.

Relaxation - breathing techniques - autogenics - a way of deepening relaxation of the body and mind.
Using weekly diaries to monitor and rate activities that help you connect, have fun and get satisfaction.
De-personalising, using the diffusion technique and learning and practicing with me how to respond more assertively when under pressure, rather than being passive-aggressive or aggressive.

Even once therapy has ended you can choose to continue improve your life using the new techniques you have learnt through writing therapy.

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