Stress is the pressure under which you are placed by daily life. It can be positive and spur you into action to meet a deadline; but too much stress can put your health at risk and leave you unable to function. It is the second major cause of illness at work, after back problems.
Anxiety and depression, the most common forms of mental illness, are often caused by stress.
In an emergency the stress chemicals (cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline) give us a surge of energy to flee from danger or fight for survival. When we are immobile, in the office, at home or in the car, these chemicals can build up in our bodies, raising blood pressure, affecting the heart and damaging the immune system.
Stress is an individual problem – what debilitates one person will be invigorating to another. There are two main types of stress: the constant 'drip' of everyday pressure such as deadlines, bills and errands and the 'gushes' of loss and life changes, such as bereavement, divorce, new job, house move and marriage.
Most people are susceptible to certain types of pressure according to their temperament and the beliefs they hold about themselves. People who are motivated to please others or to succeed at all costs may be less able to deal with stress.
Stress is often caused by what we interpret as being expected of us rather than the reality. It may be our inability to be realistic which puts us at risk. Feeling powerless, at work and in relationships, increases our stress levels.
When stress and your reaction to it are dominating your life and there is no chance to switch off, it is time to seek help. Inability to sleep, increased alcohol intake and anger outbursts are all early symptoms which can alienate the stressed person from those around them and add to the problem. Some people are unable to acknowledge the stress they are under and may unconsciously project it onto partners or children. This can underlie depression and anxiety.
Stress is a problem which feeds on itself and lowers a person’s ability to cope, so seek help as soon as possible to alleviate further tension.
Once stress is recognised and understood a person has a better chance to learn to cope with it. Birmingham Psychotherapy can help.
For more information on Stress Counselling in Birmingham with Birmingham Psychotherapy, please contact us.