STRESS & ANXIETY COUNSELLING
Stress is a natural response to difficult situations, known as stressors, that cause worry or mental tension in the body. Stressors can be physical or psychological cues in our environment that elicit a stress response. This response is an inherent human reaction that helps us address challenges and threats in our lives.
Our perception of a situation's stressfulness is determined by our appraisal of the situation and our internal and external resources to meet the demands of the situation. If we feel we don’t have the requisite resources to meet the demands of the situation we demarcate it as ‘stressful’ in our head. We are generally not even aware of this ongoing cognitive process of evaluating a situation as it happens subliminally.
Everyone experiences stress to some degree, but how we respond to it can have a significant impact on our overall well-being. There are two types of stress: acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is a short-term stress response that occurs due to a perceived threat or challenge. It is a normal part of the body's natural stress response and can be beneficial in certain situations where a quick reaction is needed. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is a long-term stress response that occurs when an individual is exposed to ongoing stressors, such as work or relationship problems. Chronic stress can have negative effects on both physical and mental health and is often linked to anxiety, depression, and burnout.
Burn Out is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by what is referred to in psychology as ‘allostatic load’ or the cumulative wear and tear on the mind and the body caused by relentless stress. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, are naturally produced in the body to help individuals take on challenges. However, long-term exposure to high levels of stress hormones can prompt the brain to function differently, leading to memory impairment, cognitive problems, anxiety, or depression. Therefore, it is important to develop coping mechanisms and stress management strategies to mitigate the negative effects of chronic stress on our mental and physical health.
Anxiety is a natural response to stress and can be described as a feeling of unease, nervousness, or worry about a potential or imagined future event or outcome. While it is normal to experience anxiety in response to certain situations, such as public speaking or a job interview, excessive or prolonged anxiety can be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions that can cause significant distress and impairment in daily life. Examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. There are various causes of anxiety, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and adverse life experiences. Anxiety can also be a symptom of other mental health conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and borderline personality disorder (BPD).
It's important to seek professional help if anxiety is impacting your quality of life. Anxiety counselling is a form of therapy that helps individuals who are experiencing anxiety or related disorders. The goal of anxiety counselling is to help clients manage and reduce their anxiety symptoms, as well as to develop coping skills to deal with anxiety triggers, as anxiety disorders can interfere with daily life and cause significant distress.
Anxiety counselling typically involves talking with a trained mental health professional, such as a qualified psychotherapist or counsellor. The therapist works with the client to identify the root causes of their anxiety and helps them develop an intervention plan that is tailored to their specific needs. Psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are effective in identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to stress and anxiety and related disorders.
It is essential to consider the long-term effects of mental stressors on mental health. Understanding the relationship between stress, anxiety and mental health is critical for developing effective management strategies and improving overall mental well-being.