Positive Stress and Anxiety: Use them to your advantage

Looking From a More Positive Angle

Recent research highlights how viewing stress and anxiety from an alternative perspective can be beneficial. Positive stress and anxiety can change a person’s outlook on life. Typically, stress and anxiety are viewed as negative concepts, from events that are generally accepted as negative. Examples are something like the loss of a job or family bereavement.

A picture of someone biting their nails - not positive stress and anxiety!

The research, which is summarised by Science Daily here, points out that positive events can also bring on stress and anxiety. Bringing a newborn baby home for the first time is cited as an example. A very positive part of a person’s life but it can come with much stress and anxiety as the new parents work out how to provide for the infant.

Anxiety: Positive early warning

Considering anxiety alone for a moment, it can be useful to view it as an early warning system. As a therapist, I often point out to clients to listen to what their body is telling them. For example, if someone notices tension in their body, it can be a sign they are experiencing an increased level of anxiety. By paying attention to physical sensations in the body, raising awareness, gives control back to clients. For example, noticing a tightness in your chest may be a sign that you are anxious about an upcoming exam. At this point, using relaxation tools such as breathing, meditation or grounding can help to arrive at the exam in a more positive, calm mental state.

Listen to Your Body

However, if stress and anxiety go ignored for too long, that is when more serious problems occur. There is only so long that the body can continue to function in an extremely stressed state. Stress increases cortisol levels, which if maintained for a sustained time can lead to auto-immune conditions such as chronic fatigue or fibromialgia. Therefore, it is very important to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Notice the tension, energy levels and unexplained pains. They are there for a reason – to use as a positive sign that our bodies have been functioning near their limits for too long. If we do not take action, our bodies will – by beginning to shut down!

Viewing events from the alternative perspectives outlined above is a part of counselling. Many times the alternative perspectives can change our view to a more positive one. Stress and anxiety are givens in modern life, so learning to use them positively is a great skill.

To find out if I can help you do just that, please get in touch.

Could a New Idea Be Changing Counselling in Bristol?

Is There a Need for Changing Therapy in Modern Bristol?

The modern day causes us to re-evaluate many aspects of our life. Looking at the big picture one begins to realise that our journey though life is dynamic. As such, it feels fitting that the world around us adapts (or indeed prompts us to respond, depending on your viewpoint…). For example, I think most people would agree that the invention of smartphones has revolutionised our lives. Just think how easy it is to navigate unknown roads with a ‘sat nav’ app. You may ask though, how this links to changing counselling in Bristol – read on…

Changing counselling in Bristol by booking online

Therefore, it would only be right to have an open mind to how the talking therapies can better fit in with ever changing lives. Things are already quite different to the days when clients (or patients, as they were known) where expected to lie on a couch. The therapist provided minimal input. Now, we have Skype, SMS and phone counselling, to name a few. These forms of therapy are well established. As an article (click here), in The Guardian newspaper suggests, another evolution aims to make counselling as normal and easy to access as the gym.

The New Idea

The article talks about a company set up in London that aims to do just that. Therapy is bought in a bundle, ahead of time. You book sessions online at a regular time or as it suits. I agree that this sounds very convenient. However, I believe in the importance of building a strong relationship with my clients. Gaps in therapy are noticeable. It then takes a little longer to work closely and effectively.

Can This Work at a Deep Relational Level?

When a session is booked with the company, you can even select a different therapist. On one hand it’s great that it is so easy to change. If you feel as though your current counsellor isn’t right, there are no awkward conversations. Once again though, going back to the counsellor-client relationship, there can be a great deal of learning to be had. For example, discussing why things aren’t working can reveal a lot about the client. Or being allowed/encouraged to have an awkward conversation without consequences or argument can be cathartic.

Further Reducing Stigma

Nevertheless, I applaud the ethos of the idea. Some of the ways clients can use the service don’t agree with my relational way of working. However, it will suit many people, especially in a large city such as London. Furthermore, anything that helps to further reduce any remaining stigma of reaching out for mental health support is welcomed! Not only that but the online nature of initiating the service really helps integrate therapy into today’s modern lifestyle.

However, are we likely to see changing counselling in Bristol? In my opinion, Bristol isn’t quite ready. Bristol already embraces counselling. As a city, we seem to prefer not to be anonymous service users but value knowing and recognising people. This aligns with my belief in the power of building a healing relationship through personal interaction. Please leave a comment or contact me if you would like to find out more.

Counselling Social Anxiety

Counselling Social Anxiety

Counselling Social Anxiety and Awareness

Social anxiety is a serious condition that I am passionate about helping clients to manage. The news and society frequently pay no regard. My experience counselling social anxiety has shown that the talking therapies can be very successful. Counselling aims to raise awareness of oneself and empower the client to choose change. Awareness is so important to us as human beings. Without it, we can find ourselves meandering through life wondering why we don’t seem to have much control. However, once we are able to start noticing how we are feeling or checking that what we are about to do/say is what we want – then we have choice.

 

Choose Change

With choice, we can choose a different course of action. In the case of social anxiety this can take time. Generally, I find that clients need to build up to choosing change at their own pace. They need to feel sufficiently fed up with living within the constraints of social anxiety that change becomes the favourable option.

At this stage of counselling, there will be great trust in the relationship with the counsellor. It will be feeling safe enough to discuss things that have not felt possible until now. The openness and ease of sharing these parts of one’s life is where the understanding and potential change lies. This is the time, as hard as it may feel, to become fully committed. Supported by your counsellor, you have the opportunity to explore unreached parts of yourself. The opportunity to break free and become the person you would like to be. 

 

Read More in My Article on the Counselling Directory Website

My article, published on the Counselling Directory website can be read here. In it, I discuss counselling social anxiety in more detail with the hope that more people may be inspired to conquer this major mental health condition.

Please contact me directly if you would like to discuss any aspect of counselling social anxiety.