Our lives are filled with demands of day to day living. As a result, it’s not uncommon for us to feel “stressed”. In small amounts stress can be helpful, for example it can help us plan, motivate us to work hard, perform at our best and even alert us to any potential danger in our environment. However, at other times you may find it difficult to brush off your stress and feel overwhelmed. If you find yourself frequently saying “I feel stressed out” or you are experiencing high levels of stress which you find distressing and it is interfering in functioning in areas such as work, school, family and social relations, it may be helpful to speak with a psychologist.
Often people assume that psychological services are only targeted towards anxiety, depression, mental health concerns or while facing a current crisis. Speaking to a psychologist can be helpful even if you are not in significant distress or dealing with a crisis.
Stress management services can provide you with a safe space to identify your problems, get a better understanding of the factors contributing to your current stress as well as develop effective solutions and strategies to mange your stress.
When we hear stress, our typical reaction is to consider a negative situation or circumstance that one might be facing. It’s important for you to consider that stressors can be negative as well as positive situations or events in our life. Any change in your life or circumstance can be a source of stress.
Consider the following:
Stress is often accompanied by thoughts of negative prediction or a perceived inability to deal effectively with a situation. For example, while experiencing stress you may have had thoughts such as “what if I don’t perform well at my new job”? “will this relationship work out?, “I can’t deal with making any mistakes at work”.
Stress can also lead to behaviours such as procrastination, and avoidance of situations or places. Some people find themselves engaging in nail biting or pacing when they feel stressed. Often individuals may deal with stress by doing “emotional eating” whereas others report losing their appetite. Other commonly reported behaviours include repeatedly checking and seeking reassurance from family and friends. Often people express that to help feel better they will ask the same question again and again to hear from others that “all will be okay”.
Stress is often accompanied by physical sensations such as palpitations, accelerated heart rate, sweating, shaking, nausea, abdominal distress, and feeling light-headed. You may also be having difficulty with concentration, fatigue, feeling tired, and run down. Stress can also make you feel restless, keyed up and unable to sit still. Sleep difficulties and irritability are also commonly associated with stress.
Long term stress has been associated with a variety of physiological changes in our body such as:
Prolonged stress has also been associated with anxiety disorder, mood disorder, irritability and sleep difficulties.
People seek therapy for stress management at different stages: One may be feeling overwhelmed due to a significant stressor you are facing. While other people may feel that they would like to learn more effective strategies and equip themselves with the resources for dealing with day to day stressors in their life or a recent change they have experienced.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been found to be highly effective in stress management. Research has demonstrated that individuals participating in therapy sessions have been able to learn strategies to manage their stress, overcome their negative thoughts, reduce unhelpful behaviours and engage in viewing their current situation in a more realistic manner.
Dr. Ahmed believes that no two people are alike and provides her clients with stress management services that are customized based on the goals they are hoping to achieve.
Although her approach to psychological services is grounded in research-based treatment such a CBT, she often integrates elements from other therapeutic modalities, (e.g., mindfulness, motivational interviewing, schema focused therapy and client focused therapy) based on her clients’ needs and preferences. Dr. Ahmed provides a supportive, collaborative, and non-judgmental environment so that you can feel comfortable expressing your concerns.
Contact Dr. Ahmed for a consultation and inquire further about the process.