What is stress?
Stress is our response to situations in our life that we experience as worthy of anxiety. Many aspects of life can cause stress such as financial concerns, work pressures or relationships. When a person is stressed this can interfere with their ability to manage their life and responsibilities which in turn can cause further difficulties and further stress.
From a physiological perspective, stress is your body’s way of responding to any demand or threat. When you experience a sense of threat your body releases stress hormones which rouse the body for emergency action. This is known as ‘fight or flight’ response and it is your body’s way of protecting you from dangerous situations. Stress becomes too overwhelming as a result the body not being able to distinguish between daily stressors and life threatening events. Many health problems can be exacerbated by stress.
Some of the common symptoms of stress are:
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Constant worry
- Irritability or short temper
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Aches and pains
- Chest pains
- Procrastination or neglecting responsibilities
- Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
Treatment for stress/stress management
Everyone is different in terms of their ability to manage stress. Cognitive behavioural therapy can be very effective in helping you develop more effective stress management strategies including relaxation techniques. Prior to receiving treatment for stress you will have a psychological assessment to help understand the current causes of stress in your life and what factors might be implicated in your difficulties. This will involve developing a psychological formulation that explores your stress responses and aims to break negative cycles that maintain stress.
The psychologists at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic have considerable experience and expertise in stress management.