When you are feeling stress, you feel as though you’re under a great deal of mental or emotional pressure. All sorts of things in life can cause stress including work, personal relationships and financial problems. When stress takes over, it often leads to anxiety – which is an overwhelming feeling of worry, nervousness and uneasiness that is often about an upcoming event or something that has an uncertain outcome. You may find that you have many thoughts racing through your mind as you try to deal with the stress, which often increases feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
Stress has wide-reaching implications because it affects how you are feeling, thinking and behaving. It can also impact you physically by disrupting your sleep or triggering any number of physical conditions and illnesses. This is why stress and anxiety management is such a crucial component of ongoing mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Some stress is normal and even useful. For example, stress can prove helpful if you need to work harder to finish a project on time or when you need to “give it your all” when running a close footrace. But if stress happens too often or lasts for too long, it can negatively affect your life. This is why stress management is so important. If you’re able to deal with stress more effectively, you will feel better and be more able to cope with the pressures of life that cause you stress. Here are some tips for helping you deal with stress more effectively:
Stress management starts with identifying those things that trigger stress in your life. This is not always an easy task as some of your sources of stress may not be very obvious. It’s easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In order to identify what causes you stress, keep a journal record of what causes you stress over a period of a couple of weeks. Whenever you feel stress, jot down what caused it, how you felt, and what your reaction was to the stressful event.
It is important that you give careful thought to how you are currently coping with stress. Are you coping by smoking, drinking too much alcohol, overeating, procrastinating, lashing out at others or withdrawing from life? If you are using any of these maladaptive ways of coping you may be compounding the problem. The good news is that there are healthier ways to manage stress, including:
Another good way to deal with stress is to find someone you can talk with. This person may be your spouse, a good friend, or a therapist who can be your listening ear to help you deal with a particular situation that is causing you stress and anxiety. Working with a therapist can be especially helpful in terms of learning how to more effectively manage your reactions to stress and anxiety. When you learn how to handle your reactions in a positive way, you will be able to ease the stress you’re feeling, cope better, and enhance your overall mental health.
The key to stress management lies in your ability to recognize what causes you stress and to understand if these stressors come from outside sources or if they are self-provoked. Talking to a therapist can help you learn how to break free of the cycle of living a stressful life.
If you would like to learn how to better handle stress in your life, please contact my Hermosa Beach office to schedule an appointment. I provide individual, adolescent, and couples counseling to those living in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, El Segundo, Torrance, and the entire South Bay area.