Stress is extremely common in today’s busy world, and can arise from many different events such as major life changes, work, study, living conditions, family issues and finances. Stress can also originate from within us, due to unreasonable demands we place on ourselves. Even life events and situations that would commonly be viewed as ‘positive’ can bring with them a sense of stress.
In the short term, stress can lead to increases in irritability and anxiety, or to feelings of low mood, demotivation and even hopelessness. However, chronic stress can have serious long- and short-term effects on physical and psychological wellbeing. Left untreated, chronic stress may lead to a state of burnout, which prevents individuals from functioning effectively in their personal and professional lives.
Treatment of stress involves various factors and will differ between individuals depending on what is required.
Sometimes it is possible to make life changes or decisions which will alleviate the nature of stressful situations (stressors) themselves. Your therapist will work with you to identify any areas of possible stressor reduction, and to devise a plan to take action. The cognitive (thought-based) component of treatment will help you to identify any ways in which your thinking is exacerbating your stress, and learn strategies to better manage unhelpful thoughts. Treatment also involves learning ways to release your stressful physical symptoms by calming your nervous system. It is also often important for individuals to reintroduce pleasant activities into their lives, as these tend to be reduced during times of stress – which tips life-balance in an unhealthy direction.