A stress response has been around for a long time in humans and animals. Although it is essential for survival, chronic stress affects every part of the human body and can be harmful to one’s health. Some stressors are unavoidable, but some are created unnecessarily. We do have to get things done, and get through our day productively and safely. We don’t have to pile onto the stress with needless worry and fearful thoughts.
Sources of modern stress include:
- A disconnection between your values and your actions. We only have so many minutes in our day and when most of them are spent on something we do not value, it can lead to a stressed out feeling. Unfortunately, we often make the choice ourselves to spend time on things that are not in line with our values. For example, we may value friendships, but rarely try to stay in touch, or value health but lead a sedentary life with poor nutrition.
- Poor boundaries. When we put others’ needs ahead of our own on a regular basis, we are likely to feel stressed, drained and resentful.
- Coping strategies which are unhealthy, draining and create even more stress (such as alcohol use, watching television, drinking too much coffee, too little sleep, etc).
- A sense of isolation from social support.
- Too much available information, rapid cultural changes, a general sense of not keeping up, missing out, being left behind.
- Worry about the future, especially things over which we have no control.
- Failure to meet unrealistic goals we set for ourselves.
- A job with a lot of responsibility but little power.
- An inability to state our needs and wants clearly.
Working with a therapist can help identify the stressors you are facing and come up with a plan to cope and lessen the impact of stress. There are ways to change what you think and do which can bring about a less stressful experience. And there are plans you can implement that will help cope with stress and make it less toxic on the body.
I am here to help and would welcome a telephone call to talk about how therapy can help you and your family find a less stressful existence and a great sense of inner calm.
To read more about how stress affects the body, read
Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky