Stress and how it can affect your whole being
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Jan Brand MNCS (Acc) Counsellor, Supervisor, Life, Business & Executive Coach
30th June, 2009
Not all stress is harmful. There is a type of stress that is exciting and good for us, the type that we experience when skiing, doing an extreme sport or racing to meet an exciting deadline. Acute short-term stress can be good for us, but can also be distressing, this can come when our skiing goes wrong or when somebody is angry and confronts us. Some people seem to make that type of stress their way of life, they go from one adrenalin rush to another.
More harmful stress is often called Chronic Stress, this type seems to go on for ever and we cannot seem to escape from it. It frequently occurs at work or in our home lives. Chronic stress can cause physical symptoms like headaches and reduced immunity to infections. If allowed to continue it can cause more serious problems like: depression, hair loss, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, sexual problems, ulcers and sleeplessness.
Many of us forget to take care of ourselves; a massage, a long relaxing bath, a healthy diet and exercise can all help prevent chronic stress. Having a well-cared-for body can make you feel good about yourself and your life, it also conveys to others that you value yourself. Remember, people who neglect themselves are at danger of unhappiness and low self-esteem. Sometimes people who spend their time taking care of others can be at risk of burn out. Taking time to care of yourself can make you a better caretaker for others.
In order to cope with stress we need to look after our bodies and our minds. Social support can be a great stress reliever and studies have shown that those who have strong support tend to be healthier, happier and less stressed. However, social support is not always available or appropriate. Frequently, we don’t feel comfortable discussing our personal problems and stresses with our family and friends. This is the time when we need to seek some outside confidential support from a counsellor or other professional.
Whilst working with my clients and during my own personal counselling sessions, I have found a truth in the old saying ‘A trouble shared is a trouble halved’. Just being heard and feeling understood helps to reduce the stress levels and make way for a clearer understanding about what has caused the stress, how to approach the future and how to make any changes that may need to be made.
In my role as Counsellor and as a Life Coach I am there to help my clients to reduce their stress levels and to find ways of ensuring that in the future they are more able to deal with the stresses that life throws at them, thus improving their lives and their physical wellbeing.
Finally, remember to smile. Smiling makes us feel better and helps us to relate to others. Smiling is a wonderful therapy, don’t just smile when you see people, smile when you are talking on the phone – a smile can heard!
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