Stress and anxiety are part of normal life and within normal levels they need not be changed or remedied. Indeed, within normal levels they both serve constructive purposes. Simply put, stress within normal levels helps us maintain our energy and alertness to make decisions to help us survive and stay alive. Anxiety within normal levels can help us appreciate, for example, the value of important connections we have with people and our special life experiences. However, when both stress and anxiety exceed normal levels, and continue to endure, psychological and physical health and overall quality of life are compromised.
When Stress Becomes a Difficulty
The overall impact and the neurobiological underpinnings of chronic stress are well documented. The human body is not capable of dealing with the ‘snowballing’ effects of accumulated stress. In particular, the ongoing circulation of high levels of the hormone adrenaline combined with the ongoing impact of high levels of the hormone cortisol can contribute to or exaggerate health problems and adversely compromise the immune system. In addition, the psychological impact of chronic stress can diminish self-awareness leading to difficulty in managing emotions and thoughts effectively and difficulty making clear decisions. Moreover, anxiety can develop due to the ongoing physical responses of stress. There is also a risk that depression might develop.
When Anxiety Becomes a Difficulty
The neurobiological underpinnings and the overall adverse impact of the different kinds of problematic anxiety states such as debilitating panic, generalised anxiety and social anxiety are well documented. As with stress, problematic anxiety can adversely impact on physical and psychological health and quality of life.
As an example we can look at what happens in generalised anxiety. The activation of the stress response by either an external stimulus or an internal stimulus (such as ongoing negative worry), and the ongoing production of the hormone noradrenaline, can create sensations of hyper-arousal leading to hyper-vigilance. If sustained, health difficulties such as muscle tension, sleep disturbance and chronic fatigue can ensue. Psychological impacts can include diminished self-awareness and a sense of not being in control as well as difficulties in maintaining attention and concentration.
The good news is that ongoing problems with stress and anxiety can be managed and wellbeing can be restored and maintained. Psychological counselling is verified in the literature, including by recent findings in neuroscience, as one of the valuable pathways to effective management of stress and anxiety and to ongoing proactive management of wellbeing. The many benefits of counselling include:
Glenda Lehmann is one of the counsellors at Melbourne Holistic Health Group who will be able to assist with stress and anxiety management. Glenda has a particular interest in neuropsychotherapy, a fundamental principle of which is that we can use our brains to change our brains, and therefore our behaviour, our health and our quality of life.
As part of her on-going professional development, Glenda has recently attended workshops by Dr. Pieter Rossouw, including The Brain and Anxiety: Utilising Neurobiological Information as Psychotherapeutic Tool.
Contact us to make an appointment today.
Posted in Mental Health
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