Stress and its outcomes vary greatly by individual but in effect stress hormones create a ‘fight or flight’ response when we feel under extreme pressure.
This response is meant to help us deal with dangerous situations rather than day to day life.
Some stress in our lives is inevitable but if it is constant in our normal day to day life this can create a range of issues and can simply wear us down until we aren’t able to function effectively.
Strong fight or flight reactions can also cause anxiety and panic attacks as our worries build in our minds.
Ongoing stress can end up with us trapped in a vicious circle…
We feel stressed and under pressure, this makes us feel that we are lacking somehow and that we are unable to cope like others can, we then feel that there is no point to looking after ourselves or that we are too tired mentally and physically to do the usual activities, we then feel bad about this and lack the feeling of achievement we had before which leads us back to our feelings of being stressed and low.
How do we break this cycle? Try keeping a ‘balanced boat’…
Our Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, Nicole Crichton, suggests ‘Keeping a Balanced Boat’. This is a method that is often used in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to help those dealing with stress.
If you imagine yourself or your life as a boat, ideally it should be well balanced with a mix of routine tasks, necessary tasks and pleasurable tasks.
Is there something that is currently unbalancing your boat or threatening to tip it over?
We sometimes feel that doing pleasurable activities just for ourselves is wrong and we feel guilty but looking after ourselves instead of others, but is a very important part of a balanced boat. If we can find time to do enjoyable things we can start to break the cycle of low thoughts associated with stress, anxiety and depression.
Looking after ourselves and doing something pleasurable will help us feel more positive about tackling tasks we feel are stressful.
A task to do yourself
Consider your own boat and where the gaps are for you and create a plan to work on ‘keeping a balance’
Routine – do you need to build in a regular sleep pattern?
Pleasurable – do you need to allocate some time for YOU?
Necessary – is there something you have been putting off and need to make time for?
If anxiety about a particular task or situation is stopping you from tackling it you may find this article ‘Dealing with anxiety and 4 questions to ask yourself’ useful.
At Talking Therapies we offer a range of CBT depending on your individual requirements.
1-2-1 Sessions – In a number of locations around Surrey.
Skype/Phone Sessions – Very helpful for those who are unable to travel or find it easier to talk this way.
Computer CBT – This enables you to work at your own pace at a time and location convenient to you.
Group Courses – We run a number of group courses dedicated to helping those with Long Term Conditions (LTC’s) such as Diabetes and Heart conditions.
If you feel that CBT could benefit you then you can refer yourself (as long as you are over 18 and registered with a Surrey GP) directly to us here