Stress

While you may or may not be coming in to psychotherapy for stress management, I want to speak to stress because many of the difficulties people come in to psychotherapy with; anxiety, depression, relationship problems, work issues, school issues often have stress at their core.

Here is a great two minute video interview with Robert Sapolsky, Stanford’s leading researcher on the brain that will differentiate between good and bad stress and what impacts changing your lifestyle can have on your overall well being.

This Emotional Life – Stress and Well Being

As a culture, we value a productivity lifestyle rather than a lifestyle that values ease, connection and presence.  What often comes up inside the psychotherapy room, as I work with clients, are the origins of our “productivity-oriented” value system, which often is replaced with a value system that values ease, play, fun and connection….all the good stressors that contribute to meaning and joy rather than the kinds that contribute to depression and anxiety. In therapy, you will learn tools for reducing stress but we will also unpack the suitcase of beliefs that you have carried around with you that either do not apply today, never were true or fundamentally sabotage you.

Faulty self-belief examples;

  • My personal value is based on what I achieve
  • I don’t deserve to relax
  • I have to be better than everyone else
  • I am not lovable the way I am so I have to do or be more

What often comes up inside the psychotherapy room, as I work with clients, are the origins of our “stress-oriented” value system, which often is replaced with a value system that values ease, play, fun and connection….all the good stressors that contribute to meaning and joy rather than the kinds that contribute to depression and anxiety.

Are there any tools I can use right now for stress reduction?  Yes!

  1. Exercise according to research published by the APA helps.  “…exercise thwarts depression and anxiety by enhancing the body’s ability to respond to stress.”
  2. Mindfulness Practice is a part of many stress reduction treatment programs.  Here is a great 6-minute beginning mindfulness audio.
  3. Connect with others and try not to isolate.  “It’s true, talking about your stress with a calm and balanced listener will make you feel better instantly. Although it’s not always realistic to have a pal close by to lean on, building and maintaining a friendship network is ultimately good for your mental health. Between quick stress relief techniques and good listeners, you’ll have all your bases covered.” -From Helpguide.org’s Quick Stress Relief Tips