Everybody feels the effects of stress to varying degrees throughout their life. Stress is our body’s natural response to situations or events that make us feel under pressure. There are a few different types of stress – acute stress prepares our body and mind for a situation that requires our attention, concentration and organisation, such as sitting an exam, meeting a deadline or preparing for a job interview. The body generally bounces back from this type of stress. However, sometimes acute stress can feel abnormally amplified and can be debilitating. This is when we need to monitor our stress response and assess for chronic stress.
Chronic stress occurs when the stress response continues over a long period of time. The effects of stress begin to have a negative impact on our physical and mental health.
Chronic stress is usually the result of ongoing stressful situations, such as high workload, relationship issues, health problems, financial pressures, parenting, caring for someone with complex needs, residing in an unsafe environment or social isolation. It can also be caused by multiple stressors occurring around the same time.
Most of us know when we are feeling the effects of acute stress. Symptoms of ongoing stress can be a little more difficult to identify as they can be both physical and psychological, affecting many aspects of our health and wellbeing. We may experience extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances (e.g. insomnia), weight loss/gain, headaches, poor immune function, high blood pressure, digestive symptoms, muscle tension, poor concentration/memory, worry, overwhelm, anxiety, fear, anger and irritability.
Seeking help from a Psychologist
Many of us feel like there is no end to chronic stress, as the demands and pressures feel as though they will never go away. It is important to know that there are a myriad of treatment approaches that have been proven to reduce and manage stress. It is not as simple as saying “stress less”. On the other hand, a thorough approach to stress management empowers us with the skills to identify stressors and manage stress, enabling us to lead a balanced life that supports our overall health and wellbeing.
Our psychologists are highly trained in helping their clients identify and address the underlying causes that are contributing to their stress. Our team provides evidence-based interventions in an empathetic and supportive environment. Effective techniques that may be used to help manage and overcome stress include:
- Relaxation techniques
- Mindfulness-based stress management
- Lifestyle assessment and alterations
- Cognitive behavioural stress management
- Problem solving
- Goal setting
We would be humbled to help you. You do not need a referral from your doctor to book an appointment with us, however, doing so may attract a medicare rebate. Please contact us for more information about this.