If there's one thing I've learned about going into full-time independent practice, it's that finding the time in-between busy clinics to write a blog is not easy. Even when I do come across a rare window in which I can sit down with my laptop, I find it tricky to conjure up what I really want to say and how to word it. I'll often find myself wondering "What even is a blog anyway?"
So when some colleagues asked me to write a very short Top Tips for Stress piece for their newsletter, I rustled up a short synopsis of my thoughts. And I figured it might just work for a blog too....
There aren't many of us who can say we don’t get stressed from time to time, especially in our fast paced world. However, at times it can grow to become a particular problem. It can be helpful to break it down into four components: behaviour, thoughts, emotions and physical sensations.
This might include taking actions to lessen the source of stress (obvious as it might sound, it doesn't make sense to try to learn to endure the unendurable), or it might mean making life changes; for example, not checking phones first thing in the morning, reducing caffeine, seeking advice, changing job.
2. Thoughts (cognitive)
Our evolution means that feeling stressed will tend to take our thoughts towards fear. If you think this might be the case, you might talk it through with someone you trust to gain a different perspective. Think about what you would advise someone you love in that position. You might begin a gratitude journal to help move your thoughts to the positive.
Sometimes we can worsen a stressed feeling by trying not to feel it. It can be helpful to allow feelings in and learn to manage them by using mindfulness or positive affirmation (e.g. ‘this too will pass’). Strangely you might find it actually eases the feelings!
4. Physical sensations
These can be strong and scary during periods of stress, from muscular tension to panicky breathlessness. This is because we are equipped to go quickly into emergency mode. Knowing your body’s response to stress can help, as well as activities such as physical exercise.
Seeing a specialist practitioner such as a clinical psychologist can help us recognise our own individual factors that make us vulnerable to stress as well as giving a private space to consider concerns.
Curious about the benefits of seeing a clinical pyschologist in York?