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Understanding and Managing Stress

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

A small amount of stress can help keep you energised and focused. However, too much stress can be detrimental, triggering your body’s threat system. This allows it to become flooded with stress hormones, ultimately making it harder to heal.

Factors influencing stress

Stress is a form of anxiety created by a sense of pressure either from:

External factors – such as financial issues, housing or relationships


Internal factors – such as having high expectations, unhelpful thinking styles like our inner critic, catastrophising, using ‘I should’ and ‘I must’.

Does this sound familiar?

Stress can trigger your fight and fight response resulting in:

· racing thoughts

· poor concentration

· increased heart rate

· cold or sweaty palms

For example:

Two people are stuck in a traffic jam on their way to work.

The first person feels trapped and angry. They become restless, gripping the steering wheel, experience shallow breathing and increased heart rate. Their thoughts are racing, “What a waste of time”, “I should have gone a different way” and “Why can’t the person in front move out of the way?”. They arrive at work agitated and it takes some time for them to settle and focus on the meeting.

The second person sees they are not going anywhere fast, acknowledging that this situation is out of their hands. It becomes an opportunity to listen to music, to get lost in their thoughts about the weekend or a holiday to plan, and to relax. They will get there eventually, just not as planned. They arrive at work feeling calm and focus their attention on the next task at hand.

Three tips to help manage stress

1. Problem solving – what can you change, accept or let go of?

2. Maintaining a balance with a calm body and mind – using activities such as journaling, mindfulness and meditations.

3. Daily self care – taking some time for you to do something you enjoy, having a balanced diet instead of the instant easy to grab junk food and snacks, exercise and time to heal.

If you haven’t tried any of these tips before, have a go and see what happens….

Get in touch if you’d like to know more of these techniques and how CBT can help at or use the contact form at the bottom of my home page.


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