Stress & Anxiety Management

Stress is different for each of us, what can be stressful for one person may not be for another. Each of us respond differently to stress, it could be making you more or more anxious or it could just be making life interesting. Some people enjoy the feeling of excitement whilst others become fearfull and panicky.Long term stress can lead to conditions such as obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, strokes, ulcers, constipation and CHD

Identifying sources of stress and learning how to manage it more effectively involves setting priorities and working on simple problems first. Reframing problems can also help you to look at situations in a different way - this can help to re evaluate issues. Stressful situations can feel overwhelming and support from a therapist can help you to find the courage to work through issues and face up to confronting problems in a more direct way. I work with clients to find methods that help them to destress - each individual needs a specifically tailored programme designed for them, which can include some of the ideas below. Alcohol and poor diets contribute to stress, as high sugar diets release sugar/insulin into the blood stream in a similar way to a high stress lifestyle. Stress causes sleeplessness not only due to worry but the high amount of cortisol in the blood stream.

Avoid drinking coffee, and ‘cola drinks” that are high in caffeine which produce cortisol in the body.
Using medications to manage stress can be counterproductive as camouflaging stress may prevent you from noticing the symptoms that alert you to vital signs that you need to reduce the strain on your physical and psychological systems. Anti anxiety medications such as Valium (diazepam), and other Benzodiazepines such as Xanax (alprazolam) and Ativan (lorezapam) are addictive and are not recommended for long term use. Use of Tranquillisers and sleeping pills can include acute withdrawal symptoms causing physical problems as well as increase in anxiety when withdrawing.

Stress is associated with over activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), the part of the autonomic nervous system that responds to fight, flight, freeze reactions. Sympathetic nervous system: A part of the nervous system that serves to accelerate the heart rate, constrict blood vessels, and raise blood pressure. The Sympathetic nervous system is triggered throughout the day by everyday stresses, but will increase when there are extra stressful situation to manage such as difficulties at work, long train rides into work or alive event such as moving house, a death of close one, divorce etc. Parasympathetic nervous system: The part of the involuntary nervous system that serves to slow the heart rate, increase intestinal and glandular activity, and relax the sphincter muscles. The Sympathetic Nervous System and The Parasympathetic Nervous System constitute the Autonomic Nervous system.
To relax we need to engage wth the parasympathetic nervous system - the body’s natural relaxation response. All too often we engage in activities that contribute to stress in an attempt to relax - alcohol and over eating raise blood sugar levels whilst over exercising increase adrenalin and cortisol levels.
To help restore the balance in our busy lives we need to start practising strategies that allows our bodies to restore itself to help reduce blood pressure, normalise blood sugar levels, increase “good cholesterol” levels, as well as improving digestion, fertility, reduce of muscle tension, insomnia and generalized fatigue.

Stress Reduction Strategies



A simple practice of mindfulness for stress and anxiety is to use an object or a favoured food. Use your five senses to look at the item - then touch it - what does it feel like? smell it - does it smell of anything? did you expect it to? taste it - what does it taste like? do you want to put it in your mouth? does it disgust you or do you want to enjoy it? Finally listen to it - if its not an object you can eat - drop it onto your desk or floor - if you can eat it - does it crunch? can you hear yourself eating it? The point of mindfulness is to bring your self into the present - our worries and stresses are often about things in the future or that we have very little power over. If we are waiting for a decision to be made at work or hearing from the new love interest in your life - guessing what is about to happen - rarely helps. Stress increases as we ponder our fate - learn to slow down and live in the moment.

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Learn how to meditate. Meditation can help you to become calm which reverses the effects of constant stress on the body.

White light therapy -

Breathing Techniques

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Have a walk in nature - getting back in touch with the pure natural world - helps us to slow down and appreciate life. Enjoy the simple things life - a vase of flowers, a cup of coffee with a friend, spend some time with your children or family, read a favourite book or eat some delicious food. Life too short to miss out on these things yet we sometimes prioritise everything else above the things that matter most.

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And finally - a sense of humour

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