Is Stress Really a Big Deal?

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Life throws curve balls. And sometimes we end up feeling we are under too much mental or emotional pressure. In other words, we are stressed.

Some stress is manageable. We have one too many things on our to do list, we are running late, or we have a presentation coming up. We feel stretched to our limit, and we might be irritable. But things get done, and we go back to feeling ourself.

But ongoing stress is another matter. It might be workplace stress, a challenging relationship, a sudden life change, or family conflict. We are overwhelmed and feel under seige.

Stress becomes an issue when we start to have ongoing symptoms.

  • moods begin to be erratic
  • feeling always on edge
  • a rollercoaster of high then low energy
  • drinking more alcohol than usual
  • overeating.

Then there are the many physical symptoms stress brings.

  • muscle tension, headaches
  • beating heart, sweatiness
  • disrupted sleep
  • changes in appetite and/or upset stomach
  • ongoing colds and flu.

Still not convinced you are really stressed? Eavesdrop on your thoughts. Enough stress, and we start to suffer from ‘cognitive disortions’. We think negatively and it's all black and white, doom and gloom, panicked predictions about the future.

The good thing about stress is that it inevitably has a root cause. If you sit down and talk about your stress you can identify the trigger (or triggers). Even better, you can then make a plan towards finding a solution for what is upsetting you, or asking for the right support.

If you find that you can’t seem to understand why you feel so stressed, and your thoughts aren’t just negative but completely irrational? Then your stress might have turned into anxiety.

Suddenly everything seems dangerous and upsetting and completely out of your control.

Stress can also lead to depression. You can no longer think straight, you are drained of energy, and it’s like you are pushing through sand. You start to lose interest in things you used to like, perhaps you don’t want to see people, and your thoughts are veering towards despair.

So while some stress can be useful, helping us get things done, or make that big push to win a promotion or pay off that debt? Too much stress lands us with more difficult to manage psychological issues like anxiety, anxiety disorder, and depression.

Do you need to wait until stress becomes anxiety or depression before seeking support? Absolutely not.

The best thing to do is to seek help before your stress becomes a more difficult to treat diagnosis. A counsellor or psychotherapist creates a safe space for you to vent about your stress free of feeling judged. They then help you identify the real triggers of your stress. Together you can help you find coping methods that work for you and plan a way forward.

Ready to tell a therapist about the stress you are under, and find a way forward? Book now, and have a session as soon as tomorrow. With therapists for every budget, and Skype counselling if you can't make a session in person, what are you waiting for?

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