STRESS COUNSELING IN CINCINNATI

WHAT IS STRESS?

As a stress therapist in Cincinnati, I explain stress to my clients as our body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When we feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus.

 

This is known as the “fight or flight” stress response and is your body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, stress helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

 

Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you'd rather be watching TV.

 

But beyond your comfort zone, stress stops being helpful and can start causing major damage to your mind and body.

WHAT CAUSES STRESS?

The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you or forces you to adjust can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion.

 

Of course, not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be self-generated, for example, when you worry excessively about something that may or may not happen, or have irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.

 

As a stress counselor, my clients have reported various reasons for stress in their lives. Some are caused by external factors such as:

  • Overwhelming schedules

  • Life transitions and changes

  • Difficulties in personal relations

  • Problems with money

  • School and/or work

  • Family, spouses, significant others and kids

 

Some are caused by internal factors such as

  • Negative though patterns

  • Negative sense of self

  • All or nothing thinking

  • Seeking perfection

  • Worrying about everything

  • Expecting worse case scenarios

 

 

WHAT ARE SOME SYMPTOMS OF STRESS?

Stress counselors hear their clients describe how their stress manifests in numerous and different ways. Some of the most common symptoms reported by clients in stress therapy are...

  • Elevated or irregular heart beat

  • Feeling dizzy or nauseas

  • Susceptibility to illness (common colds etc.. )

  • Moodiness

  • Irritability or short temper

  • Agitation, inability to relax

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Depression or general unhappiness

  • Memory problems

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Poor judgment

  • Seeing only the negative

  • Anxious or racing thoughts

  • Constant worrying

  • Eating more or less

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Isolating yourself from others

  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities

  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax

  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

 

This list is in no way exhaustive. Different people experience different symptoms for stress that can range in severity and manifestation.

HOW A STRESS COUNSELOR CAN HELP?

Because stress is rooted in feeling burdened and overwhelmed, as a stress psychotherapist, my first priority when working with stressed clients is to create and foster a sense of safety and simplicity in my relationship with my stress clients. Despite sounding like a very basic thing to do, it is quite challenging to achieve because clients who are stressed bring their stress behaviors with them to counseling. I will often challenge my client’s negative though patterns, negative self-talk, and practice relaxation techniques.

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