What Is Stress Management?
What Is The Purpose of Stress?
Emotions are signals to help us recognize problems. Stress hormones help us fight-or-flee when we are in danger. Our body’s stress response can become a problem when it constantly signals danger about issues that aren’t necessarily a threat, or it grows to the point of overwhelming our health, well-being or clear thinking. Creativity, productivity, motivation and sometimes even your immune system will all suffer under chronic stress.
What Is Stress Management?
Stress management is a group of techniques and psychotherapies aimed at reducing a person’s overall level of stress, especially chronic stress, usually for the purpose of improving everyday functioning. There are many healthy ways to relieve stress, many of which can be used together. This can help people relieve stress that affects them at different levels, such as physically and emotionally.
When deciding how to manage stress, it is important to make sure your method is healthy and will work long-term. For example, eating comfort food may help someone feel better in the short term. If eating comfort food becomes a primary or compulsive method for dealing with stress, health can be affected. This may result in another potential stressor – poor physical health.
Talking to a therapist about stress management can also be a key part of addressing and reducing it in the long-term. After getting to know you, a therapist may recommend healthy strategies for dealing with stress. They might personalize these to best suit your needs.
Stress Management Therapy
When stress leads to drug abuse, chronic illness or pain, lack of pleasure or relaxation, or otherwise negatively affects well-being, meeting with a mental health professional or medical doctor can help. Health care professionals can work with you to treat your stress symptoms and work through the issues causing it.
Therapy can help address stress that occurs as a result of life events. When a person is stressed due to loss, divorce, or a life-altering medical diagnosis, stress management therapy can help address these concerns and other effects they can have on a person’s life. When workplace issues lead to stress, for example, a therapist may help a person explore ways to deal with those issues. If an individual is stressed because of a family or relationship issue, couples or family therapy may help them resolve the issue. This can reduce stress for everyone involved.
TYPES OF THERAPY TO RELIEVE STRESS
Therapists and counselors use many types of treatment to help people cope with stress in healthy ways. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often an effective form of therapy for stress. CBT can help change negative thought patterns that develop because of stress. It is often used to help people find new ways of thinking about events that cause stress. These new ways of thinking can help reduce the impact of the stressor.
Other types of therapy that can help with stress management are often mindfulness-based. This means they promote mindfulness as a method for reducing stress. Many types of therapy incorporate mindfulness. A few of these include mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
Stress can also come from other mental health conditions like anxiety, PTSD, or addictions. These conditions are also treatable with therapy. A therapist can help you understand your overall mental health. Based on what they find, they can recommend the best treatment plan for your situation.
Talk with your therapist about any personal stressors and symptoms. Your therapist can then find the best counseling strategies for you.
TIPS FOR MANAGING STRESS
Therapists may also guide you on strategies you can use to manage or relieve stress on your own. Stress affects the body, mind, and emotions. It follows that effective stress reduction targets stress as it occurs in the body, mind, and emotions. Below are some tips for reducing stress in each of these areas:
- Exercise, such as running, dancing, swimming, or yoga
- Deep breathing
- Listening to soothing music
- A hot bath
- Massage or acupuncture
- Taking a nap
- Spending time with a pet
- Taking a nature walk
- Using positive self-talk or affirmations
- Planning and keeping organized
- Focusing on positive life events
- Reality testing negative thoughts and catastrophic thinking
- Laughing or crying – i.e. letting it out
- Expressing stressful emotions through art or writing
- Talking stressful events over with someone you trust
- Engaging in a hobby, such as cooking, crafting, or gardening
- Self-help books and seminars that teach coping methods or ways to reduce stress may also be effective for some people.
Is Stress Management Right For Me?
If ongoing, chronic stress is negatively affecting your physical or mental health, and you have not been able to manage it effectively on your own, it may be time to consult a mental health professional. As mentioned earlier, chronic stress can lead to drug abuse, chronic illness or pain, inability to relax or experience pleasure, and in general, have a profoundly negative effect on one’s overall well-being. In such cases, meeting with a mental health professional can help. Your therapist can work with you to identify the sources of ongoing stress in your life, and help you build a repertoire of approaches and techniques to help you reduce stress to a more manageable level.
At Awakened Path, our formula for successful and effective stress reduction is in teaching clients how to manage themselves, not their stress. We align with the teachings of Sadhguru, Don Miguel Ruiz, Dr. Joe Dispenza and other leaders in self-transformation in that, “Stress is not a part of your life. Stress is just our inability to manage our own system.”
Stress happens not because of the nature of the circumstances but rather our inner response to external factors. So, it is more accurately described as our difficulty in managing our emotional responses and thought processes rather than the situation. The key to a successful practice of stress reduction is to first build an understanding and connection with your body, your mind, your emotions and your energy frequency. We teach, empower and guide clients in how to achieve this through evidenced based practices and neuroscience education. In turn, you build your tolerance and ability to successfully manage your body chemistry and stress response. You connect with the power to transform your life experience without feeling the need to control others or situations first. This process will include but is not limited to:
- An assessment to determine your strengths, challenges and goals
- A treatment plan that is personalized and aligned with your goals
- Generating an awareness of your current relationship with stress
- Achieving an understanding of the physiology of stress and how to use that to your advantage
- Nutritional education and habits for emotional well-being
- Reorienting relationship patterns leading to a greater sense of peace
- Integration of effective behavioral tools applicable in real-life circumstances
- Acquiring the ability to set boundaries with ourselves and others
- Experiencing our innate ability to modify small behaviors that result in overall lasting change
In short, at Awakened Path we take an “inside-out” approach to managing stress that empowers you to manage your emotions and responses in a positive, affirming manner, regardless of the situation and circumstances. We believe that managing stress begins with letting go of outer circumstances over which we have no real control, and moving inward to recognize and manage our internal reactions to those circumstances. We can learn to remain calm, powerful and effective, regardless of what is happening around us.
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way.”
- Georgia O’keeffe
Awakened Path Counseling proudly provides quality transpersonal and traditional psychotherapy, at their offices in Middlesex County, New Jersey, and online. Their experienced therapists specialize in serving teens, children, adults, couples, and families. The experienced clinicians at Awakened Path Counseling are passionate about their holistic approach to mental health, addressing your emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual needs.