Stress and anxiety
Most of us will experience stress and anxiety at some point in our lives.
A certain amount of stress isn't a bad thing and can actually be useful by helping us to focus on an essential task, to approach something we really want, or to run away from something we don’t.
Nevertheless, in large doses stress and its close relative - anxiety - can prove to be highly detrimental to our health and wellbeing.
Numerous studies have indicated that anxiety can be a frequent underlying factor in problems such as migraines, high blood pressure, digestive disorders and insomnia.
Stress impacts us psychologically and can show up as irritability or aggression, insomnia, feeling out of control, sad or tearful for seemingly no reason, or unable to concentrate or function as we used to. Stress can also lead to other issues including depression, anxiety or burnout.
STRESS AND ANXIETY ARE DIFFERENT
The important difference between stress and anxiety is this:
Stress is how we respond to something that's happening ‘out there’. This might be a work deadline, a house move, a wedding or an argument.
Unpleasant symptoms of stress like butterflies in the stomach, muscle tension, racing heart and so on tend to subside once the external situation has passed or been resolved.
Anxiety is our response to stress. Its source is therefore something internal rather than external - things like thoughts, feelings, memories and bodily sensations.
Things can become a lot more complicated when a number of stresses build on top of one another and compound the feeling of pressure. This can make it very hard for the body's natural stress-busting resources to cope.
Sometimes people struggle to even recognise they're stressed - as opposed to just being busy - and to pinpoint what it is that's pushing them past their coping limits.
Talking to someone about your feelings and what's going on in your life can help.
In therapy, you will learn techniques to calm your body and mind which you can use now, and in the future, to help you deal effectively with further episodes of stress, thus shielding you from some of its more long-term, adverse impacts.
It’s true that anxiety can sometimes feel strongly connected to a particular person, place, thing, or activity. Fear of flying, for instance, or of public speaking.
But anxiety can quite often also feel vague, all-encompassing, and free-floating to many of its sufferers.
A surge of anxiety, for example, might suddenly swell in your chest during a normal day and for seemingly no particular reason.
Unlike stress, anxiety continues to be felt long after any clear threat has passed. Symptoms of anxiety might seem similar to those of stress but are usually characterised by persistent feelings of apprehension, dread or doom.
Click here to start talking about your stress or anxiety
the time to get help for stress and anxiety is when:
Your thoughts are scary or out of control
You need to avoid certain people or situations
You can’t sleep properly
Your relationships are suffering
You’re struggling with daily functioning i.e. eating, washing, going to work, caring for children
You’re feeling depressed or frightened
You’re thinking about harming yourself or wanting to die
There are a number of common ‘shapes’ anxiety can take. These cluster in forms such as panic disorders, phobias, obsessive-compulsive issues, post-traumatic stress or Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
Because everybody responds to anxiety differently, some people might not be aware they’re suffering because their internal sensations of fear and distress have become normalised into their self-experience and daily life.
This doesn't mean, however, that any potentially negative physical and psychological consequences of stress and anxiety might not continue to be felt.
Counselling and psychotherapy for stress
and anxiety in brighton and hove
Counselling and psychotherapy can help you to cope with the immediate symptoms of anxiety and may also assist in locating some of its original causes.
If you're looking for a therapist in Brighton & Hove or online, I can show you how to reflect on what's happening by slowing your anxiety response down in order that you can begin to unravel it, explore it and eventually interrupt the patterns of fear which are currently holding you captive.
A core aspect of therapy for anxiety is the developing trust in the therapeutic alliance which can enable you to feel soothed and, crucially, to learn how to properly self-soothe.
Developing coping strategies and resilience is a further factor which can equip you to deal with stress and anxiety by yourself in the future.
At Pathways Psychotherapy and Counselling in Brighton & Hove, I draw on a combination of CBT, mindfulness-based and psychodynamic approaches to treat stress and anxiety.
Daily living with anxiety can make it hard to reach out for help or to attend appointments in person. For this reason, I also offer telephone and online therapy.
GET IN TOUCH
If you'd like any further information on Pathways Psychotherapy and Counselling in Brighton & Hove or if you'd like
to arrange a telephone consultation or book an appointment please get in touch by using this form or call me directly on 07590 506567