Is Heightened Stress Pushing You Toward The End Of Your Line?

Man in Bed

Do you feel overwhelmed, out-of-control and/or like you can’t keep up with a never-ending to-do list? Are you often exhausted, totally depleted of energy and worried about how stress is affecting your work performance, relationships and physical health? Perhaps you’ve started experiencing muscle spasms, stomach problems, increased body tension or a concerning change in eating or sleeping patterns. Or maybe you feel like a hamster on a wheel, constantly moving but getting nowhere. It may be that you’re highly productive, but unendingly afraid of dropping the ball and being judged, criticized or rejected by your partner, family or colleagues. Are you always anticipating worst-case scenarios and trying to manage hypothetical situations? Do you struggle to ask for help and/or get the people in your life to be attentive to your needs? Do you wish you could find a way to effectively manage stress, feel calm and centered and know that you can confidently handle anything that comes your way?

woman having headacheLiving with high stress can be an agitating, exhausting and depressing experience. You might feel powerless in your own life, especially if you also feel trapped in an unfulfilling job, relationship or family situation. The pressure to perform well all the time may have become overwhelming and even debilitating, causing you to feel like you’re nearing the end of your rope. Coping mechanisms that once worked might now provide little to no relief, creating increased feelings of irritability, uncertainty and frustration. Worrisome thoughts may be disrupting your concentration and causing you to make errors and lose more time making corrections. While you’re trying hard to keep up, you might increasingly feel like you’re trapped in a looping cycle of worry, stress and fear, constantly exhausted and with no relief in sight.

Heightened Stress Is Extremely Common In Our Culture

If you’re struggling to manage stress, you are not alone. Studies show that most American adults are suffering from moderate to high stress, with 44 percent reporting that their stress levels have increased over the last five years. Biologically, we are all wired to experience and respond to threats or danger. Stress prompts us to act and preserve our safety. External sources such as divorce, illness or other major unexpected life changes, may increase stress, but everyday stress that is constant and chronic arises from our inner worries and fears and make us feel helpless and out of control of our day-to-day existence. Whether we are facing a demanding boss or a troubled relationship, the anticipation of what will happen next arouses threatening feelings and activates the stress response. We then feel like fighting, fleeing or freezing, and the constant preparation to react impacts all aspects of our lives, including our physical health.

man pinching noseMany of us also experience difficulty expressing our feelings and needs. This ingrained, behavior is generally learned in childhood, especially for people who struggled to get their needs met and/or were unable to say what they really felt while growing up. The inability to speak openly often makes the world feels like a hostile and unforgiving place. As a result, many people end up with long-term, chronic stress. Other people grew up believing that they had to be perfect and please the people around them and now, as adults, believe that they have to manage everything—and do it well—or they are failures, unlovable or unworthy.

Regardless of the source of your stress and how it’s manifesting, the good news is that the underlying causes of stress can be identified and resolved. With the help of a skilled and experienced stress management therapist, you can accept your human imperfections, build resiliency and learn how to manage stress effectively.

Stress Management Therapy Can Provide You With Insight, Support, Skills And Relief  

woman in lying in bed suffers from a headache and taking tabletIn the safe and confidential space of stress therapy sessions, you can identify, express and explore anything and everything—internal or external—that is creating and fueling your stress. I can help you understand how normal stress is in our culture—especially in cities like Los Angeles—and that the heightened stress you are experiencing today has been built up over many years. Together, we’ll get to the primary, root cause of your stress, develop awareness around the sources of current stress threats and develop a stress management therapy plan that best addresses and supports your specific personality, history, experience, needs and stress counseling goals.

As you enter into stress management therapy sessions, it’s important to understand that most of us perpetually anticipate threats coming up in the near future, and we become vigilant and on guard in an attempt to avoid feeling helpless or out of control as we did in similar situations in the past. Usually the expected threat fails to materialize. But, we are left spent and exhausted, having geared up for a battle that didn’t occur. This negative loop of always expecting and preparing for the worst makes it difficult to judge whether you need to protect yourself or not. Insomuch, in stress management therapy, I will guide you in “reality testing,” which can help you discriminate between actual threats and those that you are anticipating, but are not present or likely.

In stress management therapy, I can also help you tune into the smaller experiences that build up over time and create an overwhelming sense that you are not in control and don’t know how to cope. The early signs of stress that you have missed may surprise you. Once you pay attention to them, however, and recognize that they are the precursors of feeling helpless, you can nip them in the bud. I can point out the moment when you are anticipating a threat, and help you become good at doing it yourself. We will practice recognizing stress triggers and deal with them while you are still able to think straight and act appropriately. Your feelings of insecurity will markedly decrease. The success you achieve in identifying the stress trigger naturally alleviates distress. We’ll then work on emphasizing your skills in early detection, so that everything around you continues to feel safe. This is especially true in terms of your significant relationships. When you feel that first alarm while interacting with another person, such as your heart racing or your jaw tightening, you’ll be able to identify certain body sensations as stress triggers and use the tools you learn in sessions to effectively address the situation and manage stress before it escalates to the point of making you ineffective.

Young woman biting lip, close-upI’ll also work with you to create effective boundaries and balance in your life. You can learn to recognize what you can control and what you need to let go of. It’s a part of understanding your own humanity, which is an essential part of stress management. Once an immediate threat such as, “My wife’s going to be mad if I am late,” is labeled, we can dialogue about the situation that provoked stress so that it loses is power. And, throughout sessions, you can learn effective tools that can help you identify, reduce and relieve tension—mentally, emotionally and physically.

With the help, support and guidance of a trusted, skilled therapist, you can learn that you are not superhuman and that it’s okay to express your truth without the fear of being wiped out. It truly is possible to learn how to manage stress and feel confident, centered and grounded.

You still may have questions or concerns about stress management coaching…

It seems like everyone I know is highly stressed. Other people seem to manage stress on their own, and I should be able to, too.

In all honesty, if you could manage stress on your own, you’d already be doing it. A compassionate and skilled stress management coach can offer you support, guidance and skills so you can begin functioning in a vibrant way instead of pushing yourself to the brink each day just to get by. As you understand the root causes of your stress and gain insights and tools, you can shift your perspective and live with less stress and more ease. And, in sessions, you have permission to take a break from the rest of the busy, crazy world and take space just for you.

I am so overloaded. I have no idea how I could make time for stress therapy.

My guess is that right now, you don’t have enough time to do anything. And, it’s this way of thinking that is causing heightened stress and anxiety. By engaging in stress management counseling, you can learn how to effectively manage stress, which will inevitably free up more time and slow you down so you stop making errors that only stress you out more. Your judgment will be more accurate and your performance more consistently on the mark. You can release the sense of urgency that is hindering you far more than helping you, experience a different tempo and realize that the world won’t stop if you take an hour a week for yourself. We can also get really clear on what is fueling your stress and develop a plan to reduce it. With stress management coaching, you can let go of what is holding you back and achieve an optimal level of functioning.

I’m afraid that, in stress management counseling, I’ll be told I need to make major changes in my life, which I’m not sure I’m ready for.

As we explore your expectations and way of life, we look at the pay offs and costs for your chosen path. As your sense of overwhelm reduces, and your sense of personal control increases, you’ll have the chance to evaluate whether the balance of costs and consequences is right for you. Nothing changes overnight, but you can make alterations gradually if you want to have more balance in your life—it’s up to you.

You Can Live With Ease, Confidence And Clarity

You don’t have to continue trying to manage stress on your own. I invite you to take the next step and call my office at 310-985-2491 to schedule an initial appointment. Your happiness is an investment that matters.