Stress is your body's natural response to challenging situations, meaning we all at some point experience it. In reasonable amounts stress can keep us alert, focused, and striving. But when we have too much stress, then these positives disappear. High levels of stress can affect our relationships with family and friends, decimate our work performance, and affect our physical health.
Good stress vs bad stress
The problem comes when so many things are overwhelming that our stress response is too frequent or too prolonged. We are on a constant adrenaline and cortisol high, with physical symptoms like a pounding heart and sweatiness. Our brain is no longer alert but muddled, our emotions are all over the place, and we suffer side effects like sleeplessness and feelings of panic.
The Mental Health Foundation estimates that each year about three quarters of adults in the UK experience stress to the point that they feel overwhelmed and unable to cope.1
What is stress management counselling?
Talk therapy for stress creates a safe, non-judgmental space to talk openly about just how stressed you feel. You can get clarity about what might be the root of your stress, whether that is an environment, situation, or a person from the past or present.
Together with your stress management counsellor you learn tools to reduce your physical symptoms of stress and manage your thinking. The goal is to stop stress from becoming anxiety or depression, which are harder to treat, and to find ways forward to a more balanced and manageable life.
Cognitive behavioural therapy for stress
CBT therapy is currently the most recommended treatment for stress management. It focuses on your current issues, and looks at how your thinking is creating a cycle of feelings and behaviours that keep you stressed.
Your CBT therapist might also integrate stress reduction techniques. One such technique is mindfulness, a useful and popular method to stay more rooted in the present moment, instead of panicking about a past you can't change or a future you can't control.
Help for stress at Harley TherapyTM
At Harley Therapy all of our therapists are 'integrative'. This means they have trained in several schools of therapeutic thought, and can combine CBT with other approaches depending on what best suits you and your issues. Note that we only provide fully registered and accredited therapists, who all have at least 7 years of experience working with people just like you.
Call us now to discuss how we can help, or book a first session and assessment now using our online booking form.
What benefits can you expect working with a stress counsellor?
Working with a stress counsellor means you can:
- explore the underlying causes of your stress and anxiety
- examine the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that contribute to stress
- gain self-understanding and insight on what triggers your stress response
- learn tailor-made coping strategies to manage stressful situations
- improve your ability to handle pressure and your reaction to difficult situations
- raise your self-esteem and become more at ease with setting boundaries and saying no.
What are the signs of stress?
Stress manifests not just as emotional and mental symptoms, but also as physical symptoms and related issues.
Emotional and mental symptoms can include:
- feeling overwhelmed and panicked
- unable to be motivated or concentrate
- mood swings including crying or snapping at those you love
- struggling to make decisions and forgetting things.
Physical symptoms can include:
- your energy going from buzzy highs to crashing lows
- a racing heart, breathlessness
- changes to eating and sleeping patterns
- headaches and dizziness
- stomach aches and muscle tension
- constant colds and flus.
Related issues include:
- insomnia or restless sleep
- turning to bad habits like substance abuse
- withdrawing from your social life
- sexual problems.
Time to stop letting stress control your life?
Stress deserves to be taken seriously. If we do not get the support we need, or deal with the root causes of our stress? It can develop into depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or addictions, all of which can be more challenging to navigate.
Time to stop letting stress leave you acting in ways that aren't really you? Book now to work with an expert, friendly, and fully accredited therapist. Along with our main office on Harley Street, we offer rooms at London Bridge, and in the City by Liverpool Street. We also offer online therapy.
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Further reading and resources about stress management
- General adaptation syndrome: How to know how stressed you are
- The different types of stress you need to know
- Stress, the fight or flight response, and you
- Numb out under stress? All about the freeze response
- Is your stress affecting your children?
- What is a nervous breakdown, and should you be worried?
- The Help Guide for stress management
- The Stress Management Society (non-profit organisation)
- Kennerley, Helen. 'Overcoming Anxiety - A Self-Help Guide'. 1997.
Footnotes.View the Experts
What causes stress?
Stress happens because we aren't sure we have the capacity to handle a situation we are faced with, or it feels out of our control. And it can be related to any area of life, with common causes of stress being health concerns, money stress, relationship struggles, school and workplace challenges, and our social lives. Stress can be caused by one challenging situation or be several. And while it will be related to something you are currently going through, it can be made worse if the current day situation triggers thoughts and feelings from a similar past experience.
How can you treat stress?
There are many stress management tools you can use yourself. These include choosing a healthy lifestyle (eating right, exercising), focusing on a good sleep regime, learning relaxation tools like yoga, deep breathing, and mindfulness, annd practicing meditation and gratitude. They also include getting out in nature, setting boundaries and saying no to things you don't have time for, and spending time with friends who inspire and connect you. And then therapy, which can mean a faster route to clarity and finding ways forward. It's particularly important to reach out for support if your stress is leaning towards depression and anxiety.
When should you seek counselling for stress?
You don't have to wait until you feel you'll have a breakdown to seek counselling for stress, or until you are having dark or anxious thoughts. In fact it's much better to seek professional support earlier to entirely avoid your stress becoming panic attacks, anxiety, or depression. If your stress is affecting your ability to cope, then therapy can help.