Are you irritable? Do you find it difficult to sleep? Are you struggling to concentrate or complete tasks? Do you keep getting sick?

You could be experiencing a stress management issue.

A certain amount of stress in life is normal, even healthy. This might be the tension you feel when you respond to a red traffic light or the anxiety you may sense when there is a real or perceived threat. But in today’s world, where the ‘normal’ pace can be anything but normal, stress management can be a big issue. The ability to be able to cope let alone flourish in life hinges on this very thing. Many physical and emotional illnesses have their roots in stress.

Where is it coming from?

  • Financial issues
  • Relationships
  • Life Transitions
  • Work issues
  • Health issues

Management

Sometimes we need to improve the boundaries in our lives, learn to say NO and exercise healthy limits. As Brene’ Brown says, ‘Boundaries are the key to self love’’

Other times we simply need to incorporate relaxation into our days. For one person this might surfing, for another it might be Pilates or a massage.

For many of us, we need to work on our relationships and minimize the unnecessary conflict and unrealistic expectations.

For others, it might be downsizing your home, so your mortgage is less.

What is the root?

Stress is a symptom. When it comes to symptoms, they often have roots. Sometimes we can be so busy trying to manage the symptoms that we forget to investigate deeper. Yes we need to manage symptoms, but we for sustained change we need to go to the root of it…

Here are some common root causes of stress

  • Perception It is our perception of external stressors that causes us stress. Do you perceive the issue correctly? Are you accurately discerning what is going on?
  • Attitude Is there a positive angle you could take on the situation? Could you re-write the narrative?
  • Unresolved emotion Are you carrying anger, grief, trauma or any other negative emotional baggage that you haven’t processed (talked through with someone)?
  • Relational disconnection Are you lonely or disconnected. Human beings are social creatures. Life gets hard when we do it alone.

By all means manage stress. Do what you need to do ‘externally’ to improve things. But also recognize that sometimes stress management is ‘an inside job’ requiring root issues to dealt with.

Nick Gwynn

Breathe Counselling