Stress is something we all deal with from time to time. It helps us react quickly and effectively to demanding situations. Hormones, adrenalin and cortisol, that are released during stress initiate the ‘fight or flight’ response, which physically prepares the body for action. As such, in most situations stress is very useful. For example, it can help motivate you for a work deadline. However, when stress is overwhelming, difficult to manage and prolonged, it can be quite harmful. Stress can impact on your mood, physical health, behaviour, relationships and daily functioning.
Do you feel easily annoyed or irritated?
Do you notice yourself often feeling hot, sweating, or thirsty? Or, even getting tension headaches?
Do you find it difficult to unwind?
Can small things sometimes be difficult to deal with?
If ‘yes’ to any of these, you may be struggling to deal with stress. There are some common causes of stress:
- Poor boundaries between work and personal life. For example, instead of talking to your partner at dinner, you may respond to work emails. Or, while you are watching TV, you may be doing a uni assignment. When work bleeds into your personal life, you are not giving your mind time to rejuvenate. Instead, your mind becomes cluttered, which makes it difficult to problem solve and concentrate.
- Saying ‘yes’ too much. Naturally, we all want to please others. However, saying ‘yes’ too much to others requests and invitations, means “something has got to give”and that something will be you! It is simply impossible to please everyone and manage all your social commitments. It is a good habit to say ‘no’ from time to time in our relationships.
- Poor prioritising and perfectionism. You might be finding it difficult to ‘let go’ of the small stuff. For example, you may find yourself spending excessive time on small things like the wording of an email rather than the overall point of the email. Perfectionism typically means you manage some things really well (e.g. perfect uni assignments), while you fall behind on other things (e.g. house work). Naturally, the things you fall behind on become difficult to deal with and subsequently, more stressful.
- Not being in the moment. When you are socialising or doing something leisurely you may think about work or study. Therefore, your brain does not switch off – and just like if you kept a car engine running – eventually your brain starts to run out of fuel. Such mental exhaustion compounds stress, as you feel tired, emotionally sensitive, and struggle to manage your daily tasks.
- Poor perspective. This point is summarised by a quote from renowned psychologist, Daniel Kahneman“Nothing in life is quite as important as you think it is while you’re thinking about it”. Naturally, when we focus on any stressful situation – assignment being due, argument with boyfriend, work demands – we tend to lose perspective.
How does a psychologist help?
A psychologist will work with you to fully understand the source of your stress, and teach you how to manage your stress via an evidence-based therapy, such as Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). These therapies include: exercises (mindfulness and relaxation), identifying (and challenging) unhelpful perspectives on stressful situations, realigning oneself with their true values, creating positive behavioural change and self-care strategies.
How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?
We are warm and empathic psychologists based in Melbourne, who are experienced and trained in helping individuals deal with Stress. If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.