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Success Over Stress

I don’t know about you, but this year feels a little different from last year. For me, it seems like there are just more things to do and more work to get done. For you, maybe it’s the start of new life chapters like a new job, starting a business, moving to a different city, getting a promotion, starting a family, buying a house, etc. Maybe it is healing after a loss, letting go of an unhealthy relationship, quitting a job due to burn out, or going through a physical illness. Whether it is a positive or a negative situation, stress tends to rise as we are trying to figure out the next steps. So, what exactly is stress? Stress is a mental tension caused by an expected or unexpected circumstance that is stored in our bodies and may affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is worrying about not having enough time, capacity, or ability to do something and/or having too many things to do at once. It's the feeling of being overwhelmed under the pressure of what seems to be high stakes.

What can we do?

If you live around Atlanta or Smyrna, some simple things that you can physically do to relieve stress are going on a bike ride on the Beltline or at Piedmont Park, going up and down the stairs at work, walking around the Market Village, or walking to dinner or to your gym. If it takes 3 minutes to drive somewhere then it will typically take about 15 minutes to walk there and back. How do walks release stress? As you move your body, your eyes are focused on the things around you and your mind will remain in the present and in the moment, which is one of the things your brain requires to relax. Why is this? Honestly, it’s because the present is usually more pleasant than our thoughts.

Find a way to release your stress emotionally as well. Sometimes that looks like crying and other times it looks like having a venting session with one of your friends, but whatever form you choose, make sure that it is effective and helpful for you. How will you know if it is? Well, if at the end of the venting session you feel more stress or your anger has increased, then it is time to try something different because that is not working for you. The way to measure effectiveness in releasing your emotional stress is the degree to which the intensity of the emotion has decreased. If stress is caused by anger or anxiety, remember to move your body (run, speed walk, dance, wiggle, or literally shake it off) and then do relaxing breathing techniques (close your eyes go into your happy place or think of a positive word and take deep breaths counting to five as you inhale, hold your breath, and count to five as you exhale).

Mentally releasing stress means that you use your mind for tasks that are different from your day-to-day tasks. If you sit at a computer all day, then it would mean to do a sudoku on paper, read a book, or do a puzzle. Put your phone away and sit outside on your front porch to people-watch. If stopping for a few minutes stresses you out more, try setting a timer and remind yourself that nothing will be lost in those couple of minutes that you are taking for yourself. Resetting your brain in this way will help you to be more productive or look at the problem from a different perspective.

Another type of stress that you can have is spiritual stress. This simply means that you are not able to find comfort or peace in your Christian faith in the same way you always have. Something might happen that makes you question your faith and your connection to life loses meaning. This can happen at any stage of life, but it is mostly seen when finding out a cancer diagnosis of a loved one, onset of chronic pain, or emotional pain that is long lasting. People who go through deconstruction of their faith are going through spiritual stress. Those who come from religious backgrounds may have to reconstruct their beliefs.

Seeing a counselor during times of stress is key to your overall health. We encourage you not to wait to see a counselor because stress that goes unmanaged causes anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and forgetfulness. Stress affects you as a whole; there is no part that will go untouched. Remain Connected therapists are ready to help you navigate this season of stress.

How does therapy help?

Therapy for stress is sitting with a counselor to figure out where you hold stress in your body, how it affects your thinking, and how it is released emotionally. Every part of you is connected - it's a little bit like a car: If one tire is flat, it drastically affects how the car drives and behaves. You can push the car and you can even drive it, but it will not last long in this state before major repairs are needed. Our counselors are trained in asking questions to identify what needs to be discovered. We pay attention to the whole person and address physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual concerns. We are also trained to equip you with all the tools needed to not only manage stress but find the underlying root of your stress. We use a holistic approach to counseling and have seen our clients achieve their best results over and over.

Peace of mind, tranquility, confidence, and hope is what Remain Connected counselors want to guide you to attain, whether that’s again or for the first time in your life. We will find the best therapist fit for you and help you get your life back on track. You cannot control circumstances or people, but you can control when to start learning how to handle stress and begin healing. We want you to live a life you love.

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