All people experience stress. It is a normal part of life and a necessary reaction to demands placed upon the body. When we are faced with a dangerous situation or feel under threat our bodies react in a way that increases our chances of survival. The instinctual reaction to danger is the fight or flight reaction (or in some cases freeze) and this reaction is seen in all animals.
When faced with danger the body will react by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream. These chemicals cause our body to undergo a series of very dramatic changes. These changes increase our chances of survival by making sure our bodies work effectively under extreme pressure. A normal stress reaction will result in changes, such as:
When our fight or flight system is activated, we tend to perceive everything in our environment as a possible threat to our survival. All this sounds great but unfortunately, our bodies do not know the difference between real danger and perceived danger, therefore the stress response can be triggered even when there is no actual danger or threat. It can be set off by feelings, ideas, memories and expectations, and for many people, stress can become a normal reaction to many life situations.
Many different things can cause stress, physical danger (such as fear of being hurt) to an emotional response (such as worry over your family or job) or lifestyle stress, such as not having enough time to relax, working too hard, feeling unsupported or dealing with difficult family commitments etc. Identifying the cause of your stress will be the first step in learning how to better deal with your stress.
If left untreated, long periods of stress can cause a great strain on the body, which research has shown can lead to major illnesses and cause premature death. Learning to deal with stress effectively could literally save your life!
At Cherry Tree Therapy Centre we have fantastic stress reduction services, including individual therapy, groups and workshops. Together, we will tackle any faulty thought processes that may be triggering an increased sense of danger. We will trace the root of your stress and work on ways of dealing with stress through simple but effective techniques. These techniques include cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, progressive relaxation and sometimes hypnosis if required.