We can all feel a little stressed at times. Modern life can be fast paced and it often feels like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Work stress and relationship stress are particularly common. If you’re looking for stress treatment in Harley Street, London, I can help, offering a flexible approach to therapy for stress.
A little stress probably does no harm – in fact it could be argued that some stress provides the motivation and energy required to get through tasks at a satisfactory rate. But sometimes the pressure builds too much, we become overstretched and overwhelmed and any initial gain in performance is lost as our functioning becomes impaired. This impairment causes yet further stress and we start to question whether we can cope. If we are unable to manage or avoid whatever is resulting in our stress, the symptoms can become chronic, taking their toll both psychologically and physically.
What is Stress?
Although we say we feel stressed, stress is not purely an emotion, like anxiety for example. It is a response to a demand or pressure we feel we are under. The response is physical (e.g. muscle tension), emotional (e.g. anxiety), behavioural (e.g. working longer hours) and cognitive (thoughts, such as “I can’t cope”). The thing that results in stress is called a stressor. This can be thought of as external (e.g. a deadline for a report) or internal (e.g. trying to do tasks to one’s own impossibly high standards). Stressors can be the result of bad things happening (e.g. being made redundant) or good things not happening (e.g. being unexpectedly overlooked for promotion).
What happens when I get stressed?
Stress starts when the “fight or flight response” is triggered. The fight or flight response is our automatic survival mechanism, evolved from our earliest ancestors who lived in a time when every day was literally a fight for survival. When danger is perceived, a hormone – adrenalin – is released into the body by the sympathetic nervous system to “switch on” the fight or flight response. It is the job of the fight or flight response to make us ready to do battle or to run away. This takes a lot of energy, so energy is diverted to this task and away from other functions (such as digestion). And a change in breathing and heart rate ensures muscles are optimally oxygenated and ready for action. Another hormone – cortisol – is released more slowly to maintain some of the activities which were started by the adrenalin. When the danger passes the parasympathetic nervous system releases noradrenalin to “switch off” the fight or flight response and return the body to its normal state. So far, so good. However, when the fight or flight response is constantly being triggered, cortisol levels remain higher in the body, leading to a constant state of stress, in which the response continues to “borrow” resources from other bodily functions (such as digestion), which in turn may result in various physical issues. These may include:
Muscular – aches and pains including headaches
Cardiovascular – including angina and palpitations
Reproductive/sexual – including impotence and issues with the menstrual cycle
Central nervous system – including insomnia and anxiety
Respiratory – including hyperventilation
Gastrointestinal – including nausea & IBS
Immune system – including being more susceptible to cold and flu viruses
Why do some people suffer with stress in certain situations while others don’t?
Let’s look at an example. Two work colleagues, Bill and Bob, do the same pressured job but only Bob feels stressed. How can this be? Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for stress, believes that the answer lies in how they each perceive the work. Bill thinks “I’m no superhuman and I can only do so much in a day”. With this attitude he always finishes his job on time and finds it easy to switch his mind off work and on to other things away from work. Crucially, he is also able to keep his mind on the task at hand when at work, thereby working effectively. Bob, on the other hand, thinks “If I don’t get everything on my desk cleared away every day, I’ll become overwhelmed, won’t be able to do my job properly and be fired!” Bob spends so much time worrying about what might happen – at work and when trying to sleep – that he is tired and less efficient, makes mistakes and usually stays late to correct errors and to clear his workload. The more stressed he becomes, the less efficient he becomes, which leads to more stress and round and round vicious circle goes.
Stress Treatment in Harley Street Medical Area
A Flexible Approach to Stress Treatment
As a fully-trained and experienced therapist, I can offer stress treatment in Harley Street, and I’m ready to help you manage stress, using a range of approaches, from CBT to hypnotherapy and NLP-based treatments. Any or all of these can be used individually or in combination to provide a carefully-tailored treatment centred around you.
Stress Treatment at Achieving Balance
In treating your stress, we will work together to develop a shared understanding of the various elements of your stress including possible causes, triggers, symptoms, cognitions and what you have been doing to try to manage the stress so far, as well as your specific goals. I will help you to develop effective coping strategies, teaching you techniques and tools to manage stressful situations better – from helping you towards more a accurate assessment of the situation, to practical help with time management, communication and assertiveness. Throughout the therapy we will monitor progress, identify obstacles and find ways to overcome these in a process that will aim to help you become your own therapist. As different approaches, strategies and techniques work for different clients, your therapeutic treatment will be carefully tailored to you and your unique situation.
If you are interested in a free, 20-minute consultation, please feel free to contact me on 020 7096 8854 or you can contact me online. I am available from 7.30am to 8.30pm Monday to Friday, and Saturday mornings.