Stress Management & Relaxation
Stress is both a natural response, and a part of everyday life. A moderate amount of stress can be a positive thing, providing energy and motivation to tackle a challenging task or period. However large amounts of stress can impact your health, mood, productivity, relationships and overall quality of life. Your capacity to deal with stress is impacted by a range of external and internal factors, so it is important to develop stress management techniques that equip you for life’s many challenges.
Excessive stress can be the result of a broad range of factors, including a demanding work load, relationship conflicts, academic pressure, medical concerns etc. However, you may also be feeling extremely stressed, whilst also being unable to pinpoint a specific cause. Working with a psychologist can assist you to identify sources of stress you may not be aware of, or that you may be unable to articulate.
So how do you know if your stress has passed the point of being ‘healthy’ stress and is starting to affect you in a negative way? Some indicators include:
- Physical symptoms: headaches, muscle tension, weight gain or loss, heart palpitations and digestive upsets (i.e. constipation or diarrhoea)
- Reduced ability to concentrate or to make decisions
- Moodiness, irritability, agitation
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Increased conflicts within your relationships
- Sleep problems
- Decline in academic or work performance
Alternatively, you may be extremely productive and successful in achieving goals, but have difficulty relaxing and ‘switching off’. You may find it difficult to simply be still, or enjoy a period of quietness. Family or friends may have commented that you ‘need to learn to relax’. You may feel this is simply your personality, and does not cause you any serious problems. However, relaxation is extremely important in maintaining your long term mental health, and can be a preventative factor for conditions such as anxiety and depression in response to negative life events – losing a job, dealing with rejection, or general life setbacks.
If you are wanting to manage your stress, or feel you need support in learning relaxation, seek advice from a Psychologist at VCPS. VCPS practitioners can equip you with the strategies to remain stress-free, in a way that is tailored specifically to your preferences.
Some of the ways VCPS practitioners are specialised to help with stress management and relaxtion include:
- Identifying the source and triggers of your stress, and discovering ways to break these down
- Providing thorough assessments to determine any unhelpful thoughts, emotions or behaviours that may be contributing to your stress
- Narrative therapy, such as stories, to help increase self awareness
- Helping you to manage your time more effectively
- Problem solving skills to combat stress in response to daily obstacles
- Helping to improve your assertiveness
- Teaching and practicing relaxation and meditative techniques
- Teaching you when to say ‘no’ to the things which increase your stress levels
- Working with you to develop a personalised health plan including a balanced routine with the right amount of rest, exercise, sunlight and a balanced diet