Oh, To Be Stress Free!

stress,anxiety,stress reduction,counselingPeople who see me for counseling are often stressed, anxious or sad. They don’t always understand why they can’t enjoy their life. This is true even for those who believe that in general they have a good life. Unfortunately, nobody lives a stress free life.

Generally speaking, these are very stressful times for people in all walks of life and for all different reasons. Money doesn’t protect us against life’s ups and downs. Even good things like planning a wedding or a vacation can evoke stress.

What causes stress? It’s different for each of us.

  • The need to be perfect
  • The rising cost of living
  • The cost and pressures of raising children
  • A new job
  • Job stress
  • The declining value of investments or retirement accounts
  • An unconscious need for self-punishment
  • Internally driven stressors (which can be quite subtle or entirely unconscious)

A few possible symptoms of stress:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Memory loss
  • A short temper
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Behavioral changes in children

Ignoring stress can cause complications:

  • Over time, stress can take both a physical and emotional toll. It can put a serious strain on relationships and affect the quality of your work.
  • If children are in the picture, they can sense changes in their parents and will, themselves, become stressed.

For stress relief:

  • First order of business is to identify the source of your discomfort. Is it internally or externally driven? Then, if you can identify the stressor is there something you can do to resolve the problem? If so, be proactive because just taking control will lower your unease.
  • See a doctor if you’re having physical symptoms.
  • Find something you enjoy doing. It’s different for each of us yet common things are exercise, meditation, yoga, walking, sports, music, reading, etc. Whatever the activity, doing it breaks your concentration on what’s bothering you and thus allows your mind and body to destress. Sometimes you can then get back to your problem and see things you missed before.
  • Breathing or muscle tensing exercises. You can even do these at your workplace.
  • Finally, counseling can help you identify the problem and develop the tools to manage your stress.

More on stress…

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