When should you seek help for stress?
The issue with stress is that it exists as a problem that feeds on itself, and over time lowers your ability to cope. Because of this – the sooner you seek help for stress, the better. As stress is often viewed as simply a ‘part of life’, it can be difficult to know when outside support is needed.
As a rule, you should look to seek help if the following is happening:
- Stress (and the effects of stress) dominate your life.
- Stress is affecting your physical health.
- You are using unhealthy coping methods to deal with stress.
- You are experiencing angry outbursts that are affecting those around you.
Management for stress:
Recognizing the negative effect stress is having on your life, and understanding that this is not OK is an important first step. Once you have admitted to yourself that you need support, you can look into the various treatments available. Your first port of call might be your counselor, who will be able to assess your stress levels and suggest appropriate treatments.
One recommendation commonly offered by mental health doctors is counseling and psychotherapy. Talking with a counselor about the difficulties you’re experiencing can help you understand any underlying issues that may be causing your stress – for example, low self-esteem. Working with your counselor, you will then be able to identify your personal stress triggers and discuss ways of coping with them.
One form of stress treatment recommended for those struggling with stress is mindfulness. This approach comes from a Buddhist meditation technique and focuses on paying attention to the present moment, rather than worrying about past or future events. Whilst focusing on the present moment you are encouraged to notice how your body is feeling and what thoughts come and go, without judgment.
3. Everyday stress management
As well as the above stress treatments, there are things you can do yourself at home to help manage your stress. Some psychologists agree that the following tips can help with everyday stress management.
4. Know your stress triggers
If you’re not sure what it is that’s causing your stress, it might be helpful to keep a diary and note down any stressful episodes over the course of a couple of weeks. Aim to include as much information about your experience as possible, including the time and place, what you were doing, what you were thinking about, how you felt physically and a rating out of 10 of how stressed you felt.
Using this diary, you should be able to figure out what your stress triggers are, how you cope with pressure and how you could potentially change your reactions.
5. Look after yourself
This means getting enough exercise, eating well and taking time to relax. Health professionals agree that an exercise is a useful tool when tackling stress as it releases ‘feel-good’ endorphins, helping you to physically and mentally de-stress. Eating well is another important factor. Eating an unhealthy diet puts your body under physical stress, which can exacerbate any emotional stress you may be feeling.
Taking time to relax is key part of self-care and is essential if you want to reduce stress. Aim to dedicate a certain amount of time every day to relax, whether that is meditating, practicing yoga, reading, or simply being quiet with your own thoughts.
6. Avoid unhealthy habits
When we are stressed it is easy to rely on unhealthy habits to make us feel (temporarily) better. Such habits may include smoking, drinking, taking drugs or even over-eating. In the long-term, these habits will only create new problems and as they don’t directly tackle the cause of your stress, you will continue to feel the effects.
7. Connect with others
When we are stressed it can be tempting to hide away from the outside world and avoid social contact. But, this can lead to us feeling isolated and even more stressed. Being able to talk through your difficulties with other people – friends, family, co-workers, or a qualified professional – can be a good step towards reducing your stress levels.
8. Accept what you cannot change
If a difficult situation arises and there is nothing you can do to change it, take a step back and accept this. Recognize that there are some things in life you cannot control. Instead, try to focus on what you can control.