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Stress – How we can help

Stress is something we all feel from time to time—and it’s not always a bad thing. It can motivate us and help us to achieve our goals. But, if stress is having an adverse effect on your life then it’s time to look for ways to cope so that the effects of stress don’t overwhelm you emotionally or affect your physical and mental health.

Stress isn’t a psychiatric disorder but is closely linked to mental health. It can trigger a problem, such as depression or anxiety, and if you have existing mental health concerns it could make them worse. Most of us have ways of coping with stressful situations but if you feel that it is becoming too much for you to handle, sometimes it is helpful to see a professional.

An elderly woman experiencing pain in the chest - Direct Focus Solutions

What is Stress?

Stress is our body’s response to a situation or event that makes us feel tense, nervous or angry. What contributes to stress varies enormously from person to person, as does how we deal with it and its effects on our physical and mental wellbeing. Learning to manage stress effectively can avoid long-term psychological stress that may contribute to a range of negative emotions, including fear, guilt and anxiety that could lead to mental health problems such as Panic Attacks or Depression.

When we encounter a stressful situation, our body produces hormones that trigger the ‘fight or flight’ response to help us deal quickly with the threat. This flood of hormones can provoke a beneficial reaction if it is short-lived, for example, pushing us on if we are running a marathon, or giving us the boost we need to make a speech to an audience. Once the stressful situation is over, our body returns to its normal resting state without any negative effects on our health.

Stress becomes a problem when it is excessive. If we are feeling stressed constantly it can cause a permanent state of “fight or flight.” This can have all sorts of effects on the body as well as the mind. For example, it can suppress the immune system so we may pick up more bugs, such as colds. Levels of cortisol are also higher when stressed which may lead to heart attacks and other acute medical emergencies in people who are predisposed to such conditions.

Being dismissive that their behaviour is causing problems at home or work

Becoming secretive and withdrawn emotionally

Seeking out situations where they can indulge in their compulsive behaviour

Learning to manage stress effectively can avoid long-term psychological stress that may contribute to a range of negative emotions, including fear, guilt and anxiety that could lead to mental health problems such as Panic Attacks or Depression.

What are the Signs of Stress?

Stress affects our emotions, behaviour and body in three key areas:

Emotional Changes

If you are stressed, you can experience a range of negative emotions, including frustration, anxiety, sadness and anger. These feelings can produce physical symptoms and contribute to symptoms of depression.

Behavioural Changes

You may start to behave differently if you are stressed. You may notice that you are not sleeping properly—either having difficulty falling asleep or you are waking throughout the night. You may be irritable, withdrawn, indecisive, tearful or angry. Some people notice a change in their sexual habits and others may smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs.

Changes to the Body

Stress often induces physical problems, such as headaches, indigestion or nausea and you may feel that you have more aches and pains than usual. Your eating habits may change and you may feel less like exercising.  Some research has linked long-term effects of stress to cardiovascular disease, stomach ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

A therapist shows a drawing of smiley face to a young girl - Direct Focus Solutions

Therapies and Management

Direct Focus Solutions has a multidisciplinary team to deliver therapies that can help you to identify and understand triggers so that you can apply appropriate techniques for dealing with stress effectively. For example, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can allow you to understand and cope with what you are feeling. This involves assessing and analysing the effects of stress within your daily life and finding ways to counteract them on your own terms. Along with mindfulness, this therapy is a “go-to” intervention to help ground a brain stuck in hyperarousal.

Our facilities allow for psychological interventions, biofeedback training, neurofeedback, occupational therapy, and restorative yoga so we can offer blended, customisable programs to develop a stress therapy that meets your individual needs. Schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Sydney and Wollongong, or organise a Telehealth appointment with us from the comfort of your own home.

“Breath is the power behind all things……I breathe in and know good things will happen.”

Tao Porchon-Lynch

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