Identifying and combatting the causes of stress in your everyday life
Updated 08 October 2014
by Sarah Graham
Tuesday 30 September 2014607 10384
Stress is an experience that affects everyone from time to time, whether at home, at work or in social situations. How well you deal with that stress can make a big difference to the way you feel about yourself and your ability to cope. We asked some RSCPP therapists to explain some of the everyday causes of stress, and how therapy may help you deal with these causes and live a more stress-free life.
Low self-esteem can lead to a significant level of stress. If you lack confidence it's easy to find yourself in situations where you feel others are taking advantage of you. It may be the boss at work who is always pushing additional work on to you, knowing you won't say no. Perhaps you feel friends and family ask 'favours' of you they wouldn't ask of others. Trying to suppress these feelings is a major cause of stress. Therapy may help you to recognise your personal value and increase your sense of self-worth. Working together you and your therapist can explore the origins of your negative perception of yourself and work towards a more balanced self-concept.
A common source of daily stress is the apparent pressure of time. Having too much to do in too little time can bring about intense stress. The more stressed you feel, the more you feel you have to do, and the less time you feel you have in which to do it. Your fear may precipitate a number of physiological reactions, such as holding your breath, sweating, not sleeping properly, shaking and so forth. I would take these concerns seriously and take an interest in why this particular situation has such a hold on you. Through the process of talking about your worries, and feeling heard, understood and less alone, you may begin to slow down and find your own solutions to habitual stress.
Fear of appearing unreliable
What happens to you when you're running late? Maybe the traffic is worse than usual, maybe you forgot your phone and had to run back home... And now you're late. Do you notice your heart beating faster, sweaty armpits, a tightness in your tummy? Do you start thinking about how you'll be judged for your lateness? Does your mind leap ahead, imagining you'll end up losing your job or the friend left waiting for you? No one can live a life without stress; therapy is about learning how to understand yourself and your patterns of behaviour, so you can look at how you might deal with such stresses in a different way.
One cause of stress might be changes, such as new management or policy implementation at work. Stress can build as you experience a loss of control and worry about your future. Therapy may help you explore how you might open up clear lines of communication and manage your time better, to ensure you remain more in control of things.
You can find out more about symptoms and causes of Stress
, including how to find a therapist. If this route is not appropriate for you, your GP can assess you and direct you towards support.