Most people have similar goals in life such as health, prosperity, sound career prospects, rewarding personal and family relationships, leisure pursuits, religious or spiritual experiences.
The way in which these goals are approached differs with each individual, but the principles are much the same. An effective individual, relaxed and enjoying the pursuit of these goals, generally has a very balanced approach to life, no one goal is allowed to take precedence at the expense of the others. A life out of balance is a life under stress.
A certain amount of stress is healthy. It provides the impetus for people to set and pursue goals and to undertake challenges. It stimulates the mind and body, and without it, human beings can become lethargic, unmotivated and depressed, requiring the kind of counselling psychologists provide. However, left uncontrolled, stress can become overwhelming and cause hypertension, heart problems, anxiety, insomnia, migraine and other serious medical issues.
Stress becomes unhealthy when it seems to an individual that there is too much of everything happening in their life – too many demands on their time, too much work, too much worry over finances, career issues or family problems and too much to remember or think about. Though they work even harder still or worry more, it’s never enough and there is no end in sight. The one element that will transform the situation is the one thing they don’t appear to have – control.
Stress management is the process of examining a situation, identifying the stressors and establishing some mechanisms to gain control, so that responses to situations become a conscious decision rather than an emotional or reactive one.
Obviously not as easy as it sounds, human beings are notorious at settling for superficial solutions rather than digging deep to find the real causes. Once the cause has been found, there are many different strategies and techniques for managing stress, in fact it could be said that this is the “easy” part. The hard part is the self-examination that brings to light the key issues, then taking responsibility for the behavioural and physical changes that are needed to gain control. It is pointless to blame other people and situations.
This approach hands a person’s power over to someone or something outside of themselves when what is needed is to accept that only through personal change will these stressors be brought back into balance. This type of self-analysis is best conducted by professionals who can help people look at their attitudes, habits and thought processes, to find where the self-sabotage is taking place. With the help of a Psychologist people with stress problems will be able to identify their issues, and any number of available strategies and methods will be recommended to bring the stress in their lives under control.
Centre for Human Potential also offers assistance on building individual Resilience. It’s a one day session that may be helpful in developing a strategy to manage stress.