Stress and Counseling

Ask three random people to define stress and you'll likely to get three different answers. This is because stress is as subjective as it is common. The symptoms of chronic stress can be pervasive. They include physical symptoms (such as exhaustion, headache, and tension) as well as psychological symptoms (such as irritability, anger, and trouble concentrating). As we learn more about stress, it has become clear that the chronic stress that comes with much of what we do, day in and day out, is not something to be taken lightly. It can have wide-ranging and serious health consequences if left untreated. It is also frighteningly common. 

So many aspects of our modern lives can be stressful. Our brains evolved to respond to stressful events that had clear beginning and end points: We see a tiger. We run away from the tiger. Now we relax because the tiger is gone. Needless to say, the stress that we face day in and day out is not the kind our brains are adapted to handle. We are left swimming in a sea of stress without any good way to disconnect and turn off.

That is where counseling comes in. By looking at our thoughts and becoming more aware of our automatic reactions, we can learn the tools we need to manage and reduce stress. Numerous studies have found that counseling is effective in this (Hoffman, Asnaani, Sawyer, & Fang, 2012). The benefits of reducing stress are manifold and range from alleviation of physical symptoms to increased sense of fulfillment and happiness. It can also be transformative for our relationships.
Links and resources
National Institute of Mental Health
The American Institute of Stress

Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427–440.