Stress is a necessary response to certain situations. It’s designed to release cortisol and adrenaline in order to sharpen our reactions, prepare us for action, and reduce unrequired mental and physical functions. Where would we be if didn’t have this response when confronted with a threatening situation? Yet clients come to me often with an overdeveloped stress response where it fails to be deactivated long after the threat has passed. What can we do to reduce this so that we can use it in a healthy and more helpful way?

Stress can quickly and easily flood our mind and body, leaving us feeling unable to cope. In many ways, it blocks our ability to act, holding us hostage to our worries and fears. Further still, it catastrophises, exaggerates, amplifies, and deletes key information leaving us feeling completely overwhelmed. It can cause us to generate thoughts that stop us from taking action. Our own stress then becomes one more thing to be stressed about – and so the spiral goes on. 

Get Specific

A technique that can be particularly helpful is to reverse the catastrophising and reinsert the deleted information. We do this by getting specific. Ask yourself, ‘what specifically am I stressing over?’. Step away from the catastrophising that rushes in, the one that lists out all the unwanted consequences if you took some action. You’re looking to narrow your field of focus. If you get an answer, for example, shopping, ask yourself the question: what is it specifically about shopping that I find stressful? You may find that the answer has more than just one solution. You can then choose the most appropriate one to resolve the issue.

Here and Now

This links closely with ‘Get Specific’. It’s very common for thoughts to spiral out of control. They can launch into the near and distant future, generating stressful, harmful, and unhelpful thoughts. A way to approach this is to focus on the ‘here and now’. What is happening right now that you can do something about? Discard anything that takes you to future scenarios and focus on what’s immediately in front of you that you need to deal with.

Write Down Your Thoughts

Unbeknownst to us, our thoughts can be running at rapid speed. Both in awareness and out of conscious awareness, our thoughts are often racing around. It may be difficult at times to talk about what you’re thinking. Set aside some time to write out your thoughts. It can be a great way to reduce the intensity of the stress.

What you Control, What you Don’t

It is easier said than done. However, I encourage you to harness this mindset. When you’re faced with a situation that causes you upset, anxiety, or anger, check to see whether you are in a position to control the outcome, influence it, or have no control over it. If you have control, what action however small can you make to its being achieved? The same question can be asked if you have some influence over it. If we have no control, then sit with acceptance. Accept that there is no control and find a way to be compassionate to yourself. In this way you’ll find it easier to let it go.

NOTE: Please note that this article is general signposting and is not a specific endorsement or recommendation by Ben Jackson Coaching.

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No-cost

Appointment Times: Weekday, daytime sessions
Availability: Limited spaces
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Low Cost

Appointment Times: Weekday, daytime sessions
Availability: Limited spaces
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Cost Per Session: £20

Standard

Appointment Times: Weekday and evening appointments only
Availability: Greater available sessions
Maximum Sessions Available: Unlimited

Cost Per Session: £60

Premium

Appointment Times: Weekday appointments either morning and evening, plus access to weekend appointments
Availability: Rapid access: no waiting list
Maximum Sessions Available: Unlimited

Cost Per Session: £90

** Clients can stop or pause therapy at any time. There is no obligation to attend all sessions.

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