Stressed – Can’t see the wood for the trees?

Ghrrrrrr ….. Stressed?

How many times do you tell yourself “I’m stressed.” I can’t tell you how many times I hear those words. It seems everyone and their dog is complaining of feeling stressed, and it’s not surprising really – given the many pressures of modern life.

But actually stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A healthy amount of stress keeps us motivated it helps us achieve things and helps even when doing the house work!
It’s when that stress becomes chronic and you feel overwhelmed, that’s when it can have a long term negative impact on your mental health.

Now, most of the individuals I treat for symptoms of stress believe that it’s stuff “out there” like paying the bills, having to deal with that obnoxious work colleague, job insecurity, difficult relationships, the kids, illness etc that’s causing them difficulties.

But in actual fact, you might be surprised to discover that it’s not those external things that are the problem, it’s how we are thinking and reacting to those external sources that creates stress. Yes, it’s our thoughts about stuff out there, it’s that insidious negative internal dialog that causes those feelings of irritability, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems etc

So what do we do about it?

Well, first and foremost, we need to learn to relax. Yes, relax! You see when we learn to relax it’s so much easier to begin to recognise those thoughts wizzing through our heads at a million miles an hour, you know, those thoughts that most of the time we are totally unaware of because they have become so habitual and part of our belief system. Once we begin to recognise those thoughts then we are in a position to change them. But first we need to be aware of them.

Ways to relax

  • Learn a simple technique called Mindfulness, there are plenty of apps on the market that you can use. Mindfulness is a form of meditation, and all the research suggests if you do the technique on a regular basis it starts to rewire your brain. describes it as….. “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

  • Exercise, and gentle movement. Just simply going for a brisk walk for 10-15 minutes a day can be surprisingly therapeutic. It helps clear your mind or just some simple yoga movements, dancing in the kitchen like no one is watching. Get moving.

  • Soak in a warm bath.

  • Start a journal, it’s a good way of getting in touch with your thoughts.  Once you get those thoughts out onto paper, it helps us get more perspective and understanding into what really is going on in our mind, this in turn enables us to identify that habitually negative internal dialog.

  • Breathe, yes breathe, we all forget to breathe. Whenever you remember, take 3 deep relaxing breathes, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel…. really.

  • And last but not least, perhaps consider hypnotherapy – Talk to Ailsa – I’m just a phone call away from a stress free life.
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