As I have said in many previous articles, stress can be one of the most debilitating emotions we can have. This is not only mental stress but also in many circumstances can lead to physical health problems – both short term and more long term in nature. The sad thing about stress is often not so much the stress itself, though this is very unpleasant for the person who is stressed, but rather the fear of other people’s reactions if the person wishes to confide in a friend, family or work colleague – even stress management specialists. Another sad fact about stress management, and being a stress and anger management professional myself I know this all too well, is the widespread opinion that stress management does not matter; that it is a ‘fluffy’ concept that is not needed, or is only for weak minded people. From many years of experience now, I can tell you wholeheartedly that this could not be further from the truth.
We all know the effects that stress can bring about and if you are reading this in search of a cure, or at least some relief, from personal stress or that of a loved one, the effects of stress need no further explanation. What I will do in this article is to suggest the main reasons why from my personal professional experience, ‘stress management’ can be a helpful course of action.
STRESS MANAGEMENT CAN STOP THE STRESS GETTING WORSE – An old saying comes to mind here that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. From experience one of the main factors why stress is stressful, is that it starts off as something quite minor. This problem whatever it may be is often ‘swept under the carpet’ hoping that it will solve itself which is seldom the case. As such it is then left and turns into a much larger problem. By addressing the stress head-on can immediately stop this stress getting any worse – before stress reduction can begin. Which course of action to take and rates of improvement depend on many factors ranging in time, nature of stress and of course for each and every one of us as we are all different. However, a reputable professional will tailor their approach to best meet the needs of their client.
STRESS MANAGEMENT CAN GET TO THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE STRESS – This is often not as easy as it sounds. Quite often the cause the stress is not actually what the person thinks. Stress from the journey to work every morning for example may not actually be the root cause of our stress. This could be caused by a colleague at work or even something in our home life, but we have tricked ourselves into believing that this is the root cause of the stress because it is the simplest solution. Left to our own devices, the probability is that we would not even begin to solve this stress and probably leave it as an underlying problem. Speaking to a stress management professional can actually allow us to get to the root cause of stress – helped by speaking to somebody with wide experience of these matters, but also somebody outside friends or family – something I will discuss shortly.
STRESS MANAGEMENT CAN PROVIDE COPING TECHNIQUES FOR THE FUTURE – Getting to the bottom of the stress is one part of stress management but the other and equally important part of the process is gaining techniques for managing future stress. It is often the case that speaking to a stress management professional, while being a great help and initially relieving the present stress; is of little use if the person is going to get stressed again in the near future. Stress management therefore provides a means of providing each and every person the skills to relieve stress that may arise in the future – with the skills being tailored for every person. Therefore this stress management is not only for the here-and-now but also can greatly improve future well-being.
ENABLES US TO TALK TO AN EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL WHO IS COMPLETELY NEUTRAL – It can be difficult discussing anything with family and close friends, especially stress. We may fear that family members will simply tell us they love us and that it does not matter, friends may be very biased, especially if it a family member or another close friend who is causing the stress and we may not want to tell work colleagues for fear of being seen as weak or unreliable. Also with the current employment market we may simply not want to run the risk of losing our job if talk of this stress goes around the workplace. Speaking to a qualified stress management professional confidentially has a number of benefits here – (a) all information is kept in complete confidentiality so that we can be as open as we like and discuss everything, (B) most importantly, the professional while experienced, will also be completely neutral. Therefore there should be no fear of saying anything that will upset another family member or the professional taking the side of one person over another. They will simply sit back listen and judge the situation on its individual merits and provide the best advice possible having the whole situation discussed with them.
These are the four main reasons why, in my professional opinion, I think that stress management is a positive action to take if suffering from stress. As I have stated above, not only can stress management help with the current stress, but it can also help to pinpoint and solve other underlying concerns -many that may not have even been realised and indeed can also help provide techniques to hep to stop future stress from building.