Stress Management

Do you constantly feel exhausted or on edge?
Are you going through a divorce, career change or other major life transition?
Have you been told you need to “do self care” or “manage” your stress better?

You feel overwhelmed right now and more often than not at the end of the day you realize there is more left undone than completed on your “to do” list. In fact, sometimes the “to do” list seems so long that you don’t even know where to start and waste time trying to figure out where to start. Then there are the “big” stressors in your life right now. It’s hard to find motivation to really focus and buckle down at work when you’re also worried about stressors at home like a loved one who is sick, a divorce, a recent or upcoming move out of state or other major life transitions.

Stress is a daily part of life. In fact, a certain amount of stress and anxiety, motivates us to get necessary things done in our life. However, most of us also experience times in our life where that level of stress just gets to be little too much. It’s at these moments in life when it’s important to be intentional about how you are managing stress.

Signs Your Stress Level is Too High

Counseling to learn coping skills. CPT-I and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Tampa, FL 33609
Because stress often builds over time as multiple difficult situations come up in your life, it’s easy for your stress level to sneak up on you until one day you just feel overwhelmed. Here are some common signs that your stress level is too high and it may be time to make some changes to better cope with stress in your life:

  • Isomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Chronic Pain
  • Frequently Illness
  • Mood Swings & Irritability
  • Depression
  • Negative Self Talk
  • Memory Problems/Confusion
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Decrease in productivity
  • Missing deadlines or work/school
  • Headaches
  • Digestive Problems
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Racing thoughts or constant worry
  • Making poor decisions
  • Feeling overwhelmed

The Fight or Flight Response to Stress

Have you heard of the fight-or-flight response? This is how your body automatically responds when it is under extreme stress or perceives something in your environment as dangerous. Basically, your brain releases chemicals to prepare your body to either fight the threat or flee from the stressor/threat. The purpose of this primal response is to help you survive in the face of danger. For instance, when a car dangerously crosses into your lane of traffic and you are able to quickly respond to avoid an accident, this responses has kept you safe.

However, sometimes your body comes to operate with a certain level of stress when you’ve dealt with chronic stress for too long. Essentially, you’re always ready to “fight” or “flee” in any given situation. You’re left exhausted and may sometimes be accused of “overreacting” to situations. If this sounds familiar and you think your body is always ready for a “fight” or on edge in case you need to “flee” it might be time to get some professional help calming your nervous system and managing your stress.

Stress Management Techniques

Picture of meditation rocks to show how Wellness Psychological Associates clinical psychologists teach relaxation techniques in Tampa Bay
You’re tired of living with this level of stress. Being on exhausted and feeling like you’re constantly on edge is getting old. You are ready to find a way to relieve your stress and begin feeling productive & content again. That you need to do something to better manage your stress is a given…you’re just not sure where to even start. Maybe you’ve read articles on stress management and even those seem overwhelming when you look at your schedule and think of everything that needs to get done in the day.

Yet, we know that if you find ways to take care of yourself, prioritize your to do list and relax you’ll not only experience stress relief but you’ll be that much more productive! The psychologists at Wellness Psychological Services work with people experiencing a single stressful event (like a divorce or change in jobs) or who have experienced many smaller stressors that have added up over the course of months or years. In counseling sessions, our psychologists often help people implement some of the stress management techniques below into their daily lives.

Relaxation Techniques

When you are really stressed it’s hard to imagine relaxing. Even when you are supposed to be “relaxing” your mind is filled with constant worry. You try to rest at night, but your mind is busy making to do lists. While you’re on your lunch break, you can’t help but try to use the time to multi task and get a couple more things done.

In counseling, our psychologists help give you very specific (and often very quick) strategies for relaxing. You may learn new breathing techniques, to use guided visualization, progressive muscle relaxation or other ways to help calm your body. Some of these may take time to use while others will be things you can do in 30 seconds before a stressful meeting.

Learning to relax is an important step in beginning to manage your stress. Our psychologists each have their own “go to” relaxation skills they like to use but are trained in many different techniques that can help you relax.

Coping Skills

Coping skills is a broad term. And let’s be honest, you already have at least a few coping skills that have gotten you this far in life. You’ve been through stressful situations in the past. The techniques you used to get through those situations were your coping skills at the time…even if some things you did to cope were less healthy than others.

Through counseling, our staff can help you learn or commit to trying a variety of coping skills. Depending on the specific stressor in your life, your personality and how your individual life looks you may need to try out a new set of coping skills. Figuring out what coping skills work the best in your life is often a matter of trial and error and a mental health professional can guide you through that process. A few coping skills we may discuss in counseling sessions include:

  • Yoga
  • Exercise (running, swimming, lifting weights, playing basketball)
  • Reading
  • Finding Humor
  • Watching a movie
  • Spending Time with Friends
  • Purposefully Distracting Yourself
  • Positive Self Talk
  • Pros/Cons List
  • Praying
  • Journaling
  • Crying
  • Talking to a loved one
  • Meditation
  • Creative Expression (play music, draw, paint)
  • Create of Build Something
  • Practice Gratitude

The truth is that there are hundreds of coping skills to try! When you are really stressed, it can be hard to come up with new ideas of things to try. A skilled mental health professional can help you brainstorm coping skills you can try to apply in your own life to cope with stress.

Self Care

One thing we often do when someone comes to counseling for stress management or as they are adjusting to a huge life transition is developing a good self care plan. A Psych Central Blog Post defined self care as, “Any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health.” So, essentially, self care is very individualized and will vary from person to person. Self Care includes whatever feeds your soul and meets your needs.
Because we are all so unique in what we need, this simple page can’t tell you how self care will look for you personally. Istead, it’s important you take the time and space to look inside yourself and process what brings you peace, joy and satisfaction. When do you feel physically at your best? Spiritually? Emotionally? Socially? Those are the times you are doing self care.

As you reflect on what counts as self care for you personally, it’s important to develop your own self care plan. This plan should include ways you commit to care for yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually & in all other areas of your life. The more you engage in self care on a regular basis, the higher level of stress you will be able to tolerate.

Of course, no amount of self care can prepare you for some situations. But when those major life transitions and stressors show up, it is more important than ever to be deliberate in how you take care of yourself. This often requires the help of a mental health professional to help you figure out how to take care of yourself given your current reality.

Counseling for Stress & Life Transitions in Tampa

Our team of expert psychologists have helped countless people get through the most difficult situations in their life. Whether you’re moving through a huge change in your life or just tired of living with a constant, high level of stress, we can help. Contact Wellness Psychological Services today and we will help match you with a mental health professional at our Tampa Bay counseling clinic that can help you take back control over your life. You’ve tried to cope with this on your own long enough. We’re here to help.

Other Counseling Services at Wellness Psychological Services

At South Tampa mental health clinic, we offer a variety of therapy services. All of our therapists are doctoral level clinical psychologists having received the highest level of education in the field of mental health. Whether you are coping with the build up of every day stress or other mental health concerns including Trauma/PTSD, EMDR therapy, anxiety disorders, high functioning anxiety, health psychology, depression & bipolar disorder. We also offer psychological testing & evaluation services and therapy that integrates life coaching techniques. For couples & families our psychologists provide support for couples/marriage counseling, divorce discernment, & collaborative divorce facilitation. If you don’t see the issue you are looking for listed, please reach out and contact Wellness Psychological Services to ask if one of our therapists can help you with your unique situation. We look forward to helping you live your best life possible!

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205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 563-1155

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