a plan and not quite enough time.” - Leonard Bernstein
Not all stress is bad but many times we become overwhelmed and feel out of control. We live in a world that offers many stressful circumstances. How we react to a stressful situation is influenced by many factors such as: biological, emotional, personality, culture, society, and environment. Some people are more vulnerable to stress than others; some are able to manage stress better than others. Have you ever asked yourself: what can I do to reduce stress?
Understanding stress Stress can be understood in different ways. Stress can be either perceived as a response to a threatening situation or the threatening situation itself. We can define stress as a response of individuals to difficult circumstances that are called stressors. Dealing with stressors can impact person’s natural coping abilities. The nature and the frequency of stressors influence how a person perceives the severity of the threat. Sometimes what we call “daily hassles” can trigger very stressful responses. Examples of daily hassles could be, tide schedule, heavy traffic, missing an appointment, forgetting something, etc. Most people experience stress because of these quite often, insignificant events. People perceive these events as stressful because they are linked to personal expectations and to expectations of other people.
People also experience stress in a time of change. Even a desired and positive change, such as: going on vacation, buying a house, starting college, getting married, etc. can bring stress on a very high level. Stress is a natural response to events; it helps people to succeed, to manage, and to cope with a situation. Problem starts when the coping abilities are diminished because of the intensity of emotional reactions, because of physical exhaustion, or because of the constant worries…
There are also very stressful situations that may happen at certain times in life. For example: a death of a loved one, an accident, illness, natural disaster, or being a victim of a crime. In these situations professional help is advised. Counselling and Life Coaching provide means to alleviate stress and alleviate emotional and physical discomfort. Coming to One Plus One Counselling would not be “one more thing to add into my busy schedule” – in contrary, it would be a step to bring improvement and to experience relief.
One of the coping strategies with stress is Self-Efficacy. We can define Self-Efficacy as a personal belief that one can master the situation and produce a positive outcome. The Self-Efficacy – the belief in personal capacity, influences how people behave, e.g. how they solve problems and how they achieve goals. The Self-Efficacy influences also the planning stage of a project: belief in one’s capacity influences personal goals. For example a person who would like to loose weight needs to believe that he or she can do it. If the person does not believe that the change is possible, he or she would not engage n the process but stay in the contemplative stage.
One of the most efficient strategies of coping with stress is Relaxation, Meditation, and Prayer. Many people are spiritual and incorporate Meditation and Prayer in their daily life. At the end, Meditation, Prayer, and Relaxation bring people to “here and now” and redirect them to become more positive and full of hope.
Another coping strategy with stress is positive Self-Talk. To start positive Self-Talk a person needs to realize the negative aspects of the Self-Talk he or she is engaging into. The process of analyzing one’s thoughts brings self-awareness and is the first step to becoming more positive. Many times people do not notice how negative they are in the way they think. Negative thinking may influence emotions and behaviours. In the retrospective of the past, one needs to dilute the ego-defeating aspect and to focus on positive self-regard.
Some examples of positive Self-Talk:
Situation: Losing one’s job
Negative Self-Statement: I will not find another job. I am worthless. It puts me in a financial trouble.
Positive Self-Statement: I found a job in the past and I am going to find one this time. I need to start looking for a job more actively. I can manage my finances. ____________________
Situation: Failing a test
Negative Self-Statement: I guess I am really dumb. I can’t pass a test. I will never succeed in school.
Positive Self-Statement: It is only one test, I am sure that I can pass the next one. I need to study more. I can always ask for help. _____________________
Situation: Breaking with a person you love
Negative Self-Statement: My life is over. There is nothing to live for.
Positive Self-Statement: Life goes on, I need some time. I thought that it was the right person but it was not. There is somebody else waiting for me; I just need to be patient.
Do you know that Self-Illusion can positively influence Self-Efficacy? Some people who see their abilities slightly above the actual functioning level are more efficient than people who see things too accurately. Here again, the belief in one’s capacity is very important.
At One Plus One Counselling the Psychologist and the Life Coach can help you to cope with stress through increasing your Self-Efficacy. They can help you to gain a new perspective, to make changes, and to achieve your full potential. Excessive or prolonged stress can negatively influence health and daily functioning. Do something about it! With professional support you can make changes. Believe in yourself!