Stress Counseling at
BasePoint Psychiatry and Wellness
Stress. We all feel it. In normal doses, stress is not only normal but imperative for proper functioning. Stress can be defined simply as our body’s response to any external demand or threat. When we sense danger- small or large, real or imaginary- our body’s stress response gets triggered (otherwise known as “fight or flight”) to protect us.
When this response works as it should, it can help us be productive, stay energized, focused, and in emergencies can even give us extra doses of adrenaline to defend ourselves. The sympathetic nervous system that’s activated during a stress response releases stress hormones that can help us stop quickly in traffic, rise to meet challenges, push ourselves during a competition, or motivate us to achieve a goal. Stress counseling may be a solution to getting it under control when stress feels chronic or debilitating.
When to Seek Treatment for Stress
When stress is not working effectively, or when life events or stressors bombard our fight or flight system to the point of chronic levels, stress can shift from helpful to detrimental. This can cause damage to our moods, productivity, health, relationships, and overall daily living.
If you’re experiencing chronic stress, BasePoint Psychiatry and Wellness’ counseling team can help provide the catalyst that those enmeshed in stress cannot access alone.
Stress can be temporary or chronic. Chronic stress, if left unmanaged, can contribute to additional mental and physical health conditions. Frequent stress, which is common in today’s world, can cause your body to operate in a consistently heightened alert condition most of the time. This can lead to serious health conditions.
Stress, left untreated, can even rewire your brain. This can leave you more susceptible to additional mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Stress has many symptoms, including mental, emotional, behavioral and physical changes.
If you are stressed, paying close attention to your mind and body can alert you that it may be time to reach out for help.
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Stress and the Body
Our bodies aren’t skilled at differentiating between emotional and physical stress. According to the American Institute of stress, stress is “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” This means that our body’s fight or flight mechanism can be triggered over things like an argument, work situation, or financial pressures that are presumed to be beyond our control. This can result in physical symptoms. Stress is something that can be helped by therapy, counseling and developing better coping mechanisms.
Mental & physical signs of stress may include:
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Food /eating issues
- Sleep disruption
- Digestive issues or stomach aches
- Headaches / Body aches
- Skin conditions (acne, dry skin, hives)
- Tense or twitching muscles
- Increased blood pressure
Behavioral symptoms of stress may include:
- A change in eating habits (eating more or less than typical)
- Sleeping disturbances (sleeping too much or too little)
- Withdrawing from others
- Neglecting responsibilities
- An increase of nervous habits (biting, chewing, pacing)
- Disinterest in maintaining social connections or relationships
Emotional symptoms of stress may include:
- Feeling anxious
- Feeling depressed or sad
- Feeling unmotivated
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Changes or disruption in sleep
- Racing thoughts or constant worry
- Problems with your memory or concentration
- Making bad decisions
Coping strategies, or behavioral modifications, can have a big impact on stress reduction. Our team may teach you techniques like belly breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, relaxation, mindfulness practices, and visualizations. Responses to these exercises vary by individual. Your care provider will work with you to identify which of these strategies may work best for your own stress management.
What Will Stress Counseling at BasePoint Psychiatry and Wellness Look Like?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
One of the best tools for managing stress is through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. CBT teaches patients to identify triggers, behaviors and thought patterns, and then equips them with tools to shift their thinking in response to stress triggers.
Take care of yourself (sleep, eating, exercise, meditation, counseling).
Self care is often a neglected piece of a treatment plan. BasePoint Psychiatry and Wellness’ care team will help you identify and incorporate self care as part of your path forward.
Things like exercise, healthy eating, relaxation, meditation and connecting with a support system are all effective ways to manage the mind-body connection that comes from stress.
When stress is extreme, sometimes medication may be needed to help control it. Our psychiatric team will come alongside you to determine if a medical approach could best help treat your stress.
Stress is a part of life. Learning techniques to manage it, or talking through it with a trusted care provider, can ease the effects on your mind and body.