Stress when you’re stuck in a traffic jam is one thing, but what happens if you feel stressed all the time? According to the Stress in America Survey, 75% US adults experienced at least one symptom of stress, including sleeplessness, anxiousness, irritability, and fatigue. Today, stress is a daily occurrence for just about everyone, but most people don’t do a great job of managing their stress until it reaches an extreme. At Mind Body and Soul, we work with people to better understand and manage daily stresses, and we’ve walked through some of the basics on this page.
What is Stress?
Your relationships, work, school, and life in general can all be demanding. These demands on your time and energy place pressure (stress) on you to act. If stress is related to a short-term event, preparing for a big test, it may alleviate immediately after the task is completed. For most people, stress isn’t just one occurrence. It’s a daily accumulation of stresses, and without appropriate management techniques, stress can lead to serious mental and whole body health concerns. In fact, the American Institute of Stress considered unmanaged stress to be the leading health concern in the US.
What Causes Stress?
Stress is a very personal experience. A situation that causes one person to feel an elevated level of stress might not even phase someone else. One of the first steps in determining the cause of your stress is to recognize how you respond during stressful situations. Some people get a headache or upset stomach. Others will experience sweating or increased heart rate. Still others notice changes in the ways they think and act under stress. Next, consider the source of your stress. Does all of your stress seem to dissipate when you leave work for the day or do you avoid going home because family turmoil is weighing on you? When you know your individual response and the common sources of your stress, you may be able to more easily recognize and avoid triggers.
Why Should I Work with a Counselor to Manage Stress?
One key element of stress is the idea that you need to get everything done, but at a certain point, the stress will overwhelm you. Counselors are equipped to not only help you take an objective look at the causes of your stress but also help you learn the skills to manage stress in healthy ways. It all starts with making time to take care of yourself. That includes healthy eating, sleeping enough, exercising, showering and performing other daily hygiene tasks, and for many people, counseling is another important aspect of self-care. It gives you the opportunity to spend at least 50 minutes a week in a stress-free environment with an objective third party who understands the way stress can impact your life.
An important aspect of stress management counseling is identifying your current coping mechanisms. Some people cope with stress by over or under eating, drinking, smoking, or using other substances. Other people make rash decisions or engage in unsafe behaviors. If stress is leading you into unhealthy situations, a counselor can help you learn more positive coping skills for your daily life.
How do I Choose a Clinician?
In order to successfully achieve your counseling goals, you need to find a clinician who can provide a safe, supportive environment where you feel confident sharing your thoughts and feelings. It’s not always easy to talk about some of the tough subjects that arise during counseling sessions, so you should work with someone who makes you feel comfortable. At Mind Body and Soul, we have a team of knowledgeable clinicians who share a commitment to helping people, but they each have unique training and professional experience. Take a look at our About Us page. You’ll find more information about each of our clinicians. If you feel that one of our counselors may be a good fit for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on the phone, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our convenient online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you soon.