Stress and anxiety are conditions that we hear about often nowadays. People blame the rise in these conditions on everything, from social media to the modern workplace, and even to the political climate. The truth is that the reason could be all of these or none of these, dependent on the person experiencing it. What is stressful for one person might not even register as a concern to someone else. It’s all about an individual, and the level of stress you experience depends on your support network, sense of control, outlook, preparation, and your ability to manage your emotions.
What is stress?
Stress is a completely natural response to situations that put mental or emotional pressure on us. In the same way that too much exercise might put physical stress on your body, certain situations like the death of a loved one or a looming work deadline, can put pressure on your mind.
In the short term, stress can help you meet challenges by focusing your attention on a goal, like passing an exam. Nonetheless, at some point, stress begins to hinder your success and cause real damage to your relationships, productivity, mood, and even physical health.
• Sleep problems
• Pain without a physical source
• Low concentration or memory retention
• Negative thoughts
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Loss of sex drive
• Frequent colds
• Withdrawing from others
• Eating more/less than usual
Despite all these, it is common for sufferers to delay treatment. For one thing, there is still, sadly, a lot of stigma surrounding seeking treatment for stress and other mental health issues. In addition, if you’ve been suffering from stress and experiencing these symptoms for some time, it ends up becoming a part of your everyday life.
How can I reduce stress by myself?
If you’re looking to reduce your stress levels by yourself, there are many ways to de-stress, with most involving taking a break from the stressful situation to focus on things that make you happy. This might be something small, like watching a favourite movie in the evening or ordering your favourite takeout food, or it could be something bigger, like taking a holiday.
Obviously, it’s not always possible to take a real break from the stress, but if you can cash in some holiday at work, or get respite care for the person you look after, then you may find the helping to clear your mind and allowing you to relax.
If you can’t do that, or you want something to help manage your stress on a daily basis, then here are ways to de-stress that you can incorporate into your everyday life:
• Eat healthy foods
• Create a bedtime routine that works for you
• Try meditation with a guided tutorial
• Phone a friend
• Write down your feelings
• Learn a new skill
• Set small targets
• Focus on time management to help you achieve your tasks
• Plan ahead of situations that you know will be stressful, i.e. a hospital appointment
Of course, you may find that you are unable to manage your stress levels alone, or with the help of friends and family. There is no shame in needing extra support from a professional.
What does a stress counsellor do?
A stress counsellor will let you talk about the reasons you are feeling stressed, if you know them, uncover hidden trauma, and provide a non-judgemental sounding board. Talking alone can help relieve stress, but a trained counsellor can also help you find ways to manage, or relieve the stress that work for you.
This is possibly the most important role of a counsellor.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a sense of unease, dread, or even fear, that plagues your life. It can be caused by stress, and, similarly, in the short term, can provide the boost you need to finish that project on time, but it becomes a problem when it is no longer a passing thing. When it begins to interfere with your daily life, it can cause you a lot of problems, and negatively impact your life.
• Difficulty concentrating or thinking
• Feelings of dread or being “on edge”
• Racing heart
• Disturbed sleep
• Irritability or anger
• Shaking or feeling dizzy
What is the best therapy for anxiety?
There are numerous treatments for anxiety, but the “best” one is one that works for you. For that reason, it is impossible to tell you what the magic cure-all therapy is because, simply, there isn’t one. There is only what helps you and what doesn’t.
However, there are several methods that are commonly used to treat anxiety, including, but not limited to, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), applied relaxation therapy, medication, and anxiety counselling. You should talk to a mental health professional about which of these may be right for you. There's a possibility that a combination approach is best.
Online and in-person counselling in Harley Street
One option for you is stress counselling, or anxiety counselling at our Harley Street office in Central London. We know that you have a very busy life and may find it hard to fit in therapy between work and family life, which is why our counsellors will strive to make the process as easy for you as possible. We have a range of evening and weekend appointments, and the option to have online counselling if you’re travelling for work, unable to get to our office, or just prefer the anonymity.