Stress is a reaction to demands that are being put on us. These may be external demands (such as through work, school and family relationships), or internal pressures (such as a reaction to illness). Often we have the skills and knowledge to cope with these demands on their own but when they pile up, or have time limits we often find we are no longer able to cope.
People respond to pressure in different ways. Some people enjoy rising to a challenge, whereas others prefer a life with as little pressure as possible. Therefore we can welcome pressures and feel confident in our ability to deal with them, or we can anxiously try to avoid them.
Our experiences of past stressful situations will affect how we think about pressures and our confidence in dealing with them. If our past coping strategies did not work in stressful situations then we will be more likely to see demands as a threat and be fearful of them. We are more likely to suffer from stress if we see demands as a threat and feel that we are unable to cope.
You may be dealing with a single highly stressful event (such as moving house), or struggling with ongoing daily stress (for instance at work, or caring for a family member). Both situations can result in exhaustion, lack of concentration, anger and feeling overwhelmed. You may find yourself eating unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol or turning to other activities to try to reduce your stress. Ultimately, stress can affect our immune system if it is not addressed and can result in illness.
In counselling, Anna can help you to understand the pressures in your life that are creating stress and how these pressures are affecting you. Together you will consider the different pressures that you have experienced in your past and how you coped with them.
Using CBT you will learn about how you respond to pressure, to evaluate your coping strategies, build on them and learn new ones. Anna will help you to understand how your body and your thoughts react to stressful situations and learn how to manage these reactions more effectively. You will also be encouraged to assess your life and look at ways to decrease demands where possible and increase leisure activities in order to work towards a more balanced life in the future.