COUNSELLING BLOG

Posts tagged stress

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The Benefits of Mindfulness

1. It helps us to let go of the tiredness, stress and negativity that clutters up our mind. That then frees us to be still, and get in touch with our true self.

2. It helps us get in touch with our feelings and emotions - so we’re able to respond, and not simply react.

3. It helps us get in touch with our empathy - so we’re more able to listen, understand, connect and get inside the world of other people in our lives.

4. It keeps our focus on the present - so we’re not trapped by the past, or the pain and regret that can stop us moving on. Or, by concerns about the future, which haven’t happened yet!

5. It helps to keep us grounded in who we really are. That can increase our self confidence and self esteem, and we’re able to access and draw upon our strengths.

6. The body and mind are closely intertwined. Thus, if we’re careful to attend to our mental wellbeing it’s like to be good for our physical health, too.

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7 Unconventional Ways to De-stress and Release Tension

1. Massage your ears. The ear massage is a fantastic way to release endorphins in your brain and make you feel good. Start by gently rubbing your earlobes with your thumb and index finger. Then squeeze the outer edges of your ears all the way to the top. These parts of your ears have tiny reflex points that can relax specific areas of your body. Finish by using your index fingers and middle fingers to massage behind the ears on the bony part of your skull.
2. Finger paint. Finger painting allows you to have fun, be artistic and play in a child like way. It gives you permission to express your creativity and spontaneity without expectations.
3. Declutter. Take note of how much stuff you have lying around your room. Then, get rid of anything and everything you don’t use or need. It’s easier to relax when you are not surrounded by stuff – especially stuff like, work, electronics and even reading materials because your subconscious mind then feels you’ve things to do.
4. Try laughing yoga. We all know that laughter has a wonderful effect on our mood and is one of the best feel good things we can do. However, the opportunity to laugh like this doesn’t always come easily and often. A fun and crazy way to make yourself laugh uncontrollably is to find (google) a class, club or yoga studio in your area that offers laughing yoga.
5. Procrastinate. Make a list of things to do and then don’t do it. Call it your procrastination list. Then make the decision to engage in something you really feel like doing. If and when you become inspired to do something on your procrastination list then go for it.
6. Be brutally honest. Instead of bottling things up inside you, which causes stress and tensions, why not let it go through the power of honest speech. Express your emotions and tell people how you really feel without being rude or obnoxious. Notice how relieved you feel.
7. Dance in the rain. Next time it rains, have a little fun, get wet and do a little dance. Engage all your senses and enjoy the moment. If you live in a colder climate, try dancing in the snow or making snow angels.
Source: http://zenhabits.net/8-unconventional-ways-to-de-stress-and-release-tension/ (Abridged)

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How to Stay Peaceful Around Stressed People

When we’re around people who are stressed and negative it can upset our own sense of inner peace and calm. Here are some suggestions to help you with this:

1. Imagine there’s an invisible shield that separates you from them. See their attitudes, reactions and high expectations as being their choice and decision- they’re not a part of you. You are two separate people – don’t let them influence you.

2. Disconnect from the source of negativity. End the call, close your email, or get up and walk away. When we feel stressed and angry we’re more likely to react – so maintain your control by taking steps to decompress.

3. Avoid toxic people if you possibly can. Avoid people who guilt trip you, or are constantly complaining, or who like to sit in wallow in their misery. They’ll quickly drain your energy and drive you to despair.

4. Be a positive person. Go on the offensive and reach out to people who need some encouragement, a smile or a kind word. That will keep you feeling peaceful and positive.

5. Spend time with people with whom you can connect, and who inspire and motivate you to be a better person. Look out for people who improve your self-esteem, who are positive role models and live life to the full. They’ll broaden your capacity to give and grow as well. (So let them be your focus – and not the stressed out people!)

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How to have a more peaceful life

1. Recognise how much your thoughts affect your feelings – and work on changing your self-destructive thinking.
2. Stop trying to be someone you’re not meant to be.
3. Stop trying hard to please other people all the time.
4. Expect to meet hurdles and to experience disappointments.
5. Enjoy experimenting with your creativity.
6. See life as an adventure, full of possibilities.
7. Be grateful for the small things that brighten up your day.

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Tips for Cultivating Calmness

1. Try and develop a calm morning ritual instead of starting the day off in a stressful rush.

2. Notice how you tend to automatically respond to a stressful or irritating person or event.

3. Decide to not take things personally; be the kind of person who it’s hard to offend.

4. Develop an attitude of gratitude – and decide to be thankful for the little things in life.

5. Develop healthy ways of coping with stress (as stress is an inevitable part of life.)

6. Single task instead of multitasking (as it leads to fewer mistakes in the end.)

7. Make more time for quiet and reduce the constant noise.

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Emotional Wellness

If you want to boost your emotional health then build the following into your life:
1. Develop a good group of friends. If possible, try and have quite a wide group of friends. That then means if someone moves away, or you change your school, your hobbies and so on, you’ll still a healthy support system in place.
2. Learn to appreciate solitude. Isolation isn’t the same as solitude. Isolation is being cut off from others for negative reasons; solitude is enjoying space and time for yourself – so you can recharge your batteries, and enjoy just being “you”.
3. Invest time in get fit. People who are fit and healthy generally feel better about themselves. Also, exercise releases feel good hormones so we feel happier, more optimistic and relaxed.
4. Allow yourself to “goof off” and have a laugh – as too much work will drain your energy.
5. Discover your passion and invest time in that. We all have something that brings us alive, and seems to resonate with who we are inside … So investing in your passion is extremely satisfying!
6. Plan for difficulties and problems. We all encounter problems and hard times in this life. Expecting that to happen helps us feel more in control - as we understand it’s normal - so we don’t just fall apart.
7. Work on increasing your self-awareness. As above, we all have blind spots and idiosyncrasies. If we can learn about ourselves, and our natural tendencies, we can learn to master weaknesses, and work to change and grow.
8. Be willing to take risks. Though it’s hard to step out into unknown territory, you’ll find it’s more rewarding to stretch yourself and grow.
9. Watch out for energy vampires. There are plenty of people who will drain your energy so learn how to say “no”, and to set some boundaries.
10. Ask for help when you need it. We all need support and encouragement at times … And offer help to others when things are tough for them.

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How our wrong beliefs can stress us out

Often the thoughts we carry round in our head – and our basic beliefs about the way things should be – are actually a source of unnecessary stress. So, check out the beliefs that we have listed below and see if there’s something that applies to you:

1. Demand for Approval: This is the belief that others must always treat us well. We must have love or approval all the time, from every single person who matters to us, or else we feel we’re worthless and unloveable.
2. High Self Expectations: This is the belief that we must always succeed, and even excel, in everything we do – or it means that we’re a failure and we don’t have any value.
3. Dependency: This is the belief that we can’t cope on our own. We need to lean on others to help us all the time – and we can’t be independent and just make our own decisions.
4. Helplessness: This is the belief that the events in our past have determined our future and the goals that we can set. That is, we think we’re helpless victims – and that’s why we have these problems.
5. Emotional Control: This where we give control to other people, and say that they’re the ones who make us feel the way we do. If only they were different then we wouldn’t feel this way.
6. Personal Idealism: This is the belief that other people and the world must always be predictable, and fair and just.
7. Problem Avoidance: This is the belief that problems make life hard and should be avoided wherever possible. We don’t believe they central for developing new skills, resilience, perseverance and character.
8. We Must Be Free From Anxiety At All Times (Discomfort Anxiety): This is the belief that we can’t cope with feeling anxious, nervous, worried or uncomfortable. Instead, life should be stress free so I don’t have to have these feelings.
9. Perfectionism: This is the belief that there’s a perfect answer, or that there’s only one solution, to the problems I am facing. Hence, I’m frightened to act in case I make a mistake.
10. Over Caring: This is the belief that I must become upset and show that I care when others are upset – or it means that I am heartless and I lack compassion.

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Quick Tips for Relieving Stress

1. Go for a walk around the block – and even longer if you have the time.

2. Make faces in a mirror to reduce the muscle tension (and the chances are it will make you laugh as well).

3.  Stretch – and loosen the muscles in the shoulders, neck and jaw

4. Make a thankfulness list.

5. Find a place to withdraw from everyone. Five minutes on your own can really make a world of difference!

6. Turn off your phone and any message notifications.

7. Switch off the inner critic in your head.

8. Look for humour in the situation.

9. Have a cup of herbal tea.

10. Eat a banana. It increases your levels of potassium (which are depleted in times of stress) and gives an immediate boost in energy.

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Mental Health Tips

· Daydream – Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a dream location. Breathe slowly and deeply. Whether it’s a beach, a mountaintop, a hushed forest or a favourite room from your past, let the comforting environment wrap you in a sensation of peace and tranquility.

· “Collect” positive emotional moments – Make it a point to recall times when you have experienced pleasure, comfort, tenderness, confidence, or other positive emotions.

· Learn ways to cope with negative thoughts – Negative thoughts can be insistent and loud. Learn to interrupt them. Don’t try to block them (that never works), but don’t let them take over. Try distracting yourself or comforting yourself, if you can’t solve the problem right away.

· Do one thing at a time – For example, when you are out for a walk or spending time with friends, turn off your cell phone and stop making that mental “to do” list. Take in all the sights, sounds and smells you encounter.

· Exercise – Regular physical activity improves psychological well-being and can reduce depression and anxiety. Joining an exercise group or a gym can also reduce loneliness, since it connects you with a new set of people sharing a common goal.

· Enjoy hobbies – Taking up a hobby brings balance to your life by allowing you to do something you enjoy because you want to do it, free of the pressure of everyday tasks. It also keeps your brain active.

· Set personal goals – Goals don’t have to be ambitious. You might decide to finish that book you started three years ago; to take a walk around the block every day; to learn to knit or play bridge; to call your friends instead of waiting for the phone to ring. Whatever goal you set, reaching it will build confidence and a sense of satisfaction.

· Keep a journal (or even talk to the wall!) – Expressing yourself after a stressful day can help you gain perspective, release tension and even boost your body’s resistance to illness.

· Share humour – Life often gets too serious, so when you hear or see something that makes you smile or laugh, share it with someone you know. A little humour can go a long way to keeping us mentally fit!

· Volunteer – Volunteering is called the “win-win” activity because helping others makes us feel good about ourselves. At the same time, it widens our social network, provides us with new learning experiences and can bring balance to our lives.

· Treat yourself well – Cook yourself a good meal. Have a bubble bath. See a movie. Call a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in ages. Sit on a park bench and breathe in the fragrance of flowers and grass. Whatever it is, do it just for you.

Source: http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/mental-fitness-tips/#.ULGTHvXNk4w

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8 Unconventional Ways to De-stress

1. Massage your ears. The ear massage is a fantastic way to release endorphins in your brain and make you feel good. Start by gently rubbing your earlobes with your thumb and index finger. Then squeeze the outer edges of your ears all the way to the top. These parts of your ears have tiny reflex points that can relax specific areas of your body. Finish by using your index fingers and middle fingers to massage behind the ears on the bony part of your skull.

2. Finger paint. Finger painting allows you to have fun, be artistic and play in a child like way. It gives you permission to express your creativity and spontaneity without expectations.

3. Declutter. Take note of how much stuff you have lying around your room. Then, get rid of anything and everything you don’t use or need. It’s easier to relax when you are not surrounded by stuff – especially stuff like, work, electronics and even reading materials because your subconscious mind then feels you’ve things to do.

4. Try laughing yoga. We all know that laughter has a wonderful effect on our mood and is one of the best feel good things we can do. However, the opportunity to laugh like this doesn’t always come easily and often. A fun and crazy way to make yourself laugh uncontrollably is to find (google) a class, club or yoga studio in your area that offers laughing yoga.

5. Procrastinate. Make a list of things to do and then don’t do it. Call it your procrastination list. Then make the decision to engage in something you really feel like doing. If and when you become inspired to do something on your procrastination list then go for it.

6. Be brutally honest. Instead of bottling things up inside you, which causes stress and tensions, why not let it go through the power of honest speech. Express your emotions and tell people how you really feel without being rude or obnoxious. Notice how relieved you feel.

7. Dance in the rain. Next time it rains, have a little fun, get wet and do a little dance. Engage all your senses and enjoy the moment. If you live in a colder climate, try dancing in the snow or making snow angels.

8. Enjoy a staycation. Instead of travelling somewhere on a holiday, stay at home and enjoy a local vacation. Maybe try a new hobby or activity, or just visit some local cafes, bars or restaurants.

Source: http://zenhabits.net/8-unconventional-ways-to-de-stress-and-release-tension/ (Abridged)

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Stress Busting: Functioning Well in the Heat of the Moment

Develop your stress busting skills by working through the following three steps:

1. Realize when you’re stressed – The first step to reducing stress is recognizing what stress feels like. How does your body feel when you’re stressed? Are your muscles or stomach tight or sore? Are your hands clenched? Is your breath shallow? Being aware of your physical response to stress will help regulate tension when it occurs.

2. Identify your stress response – Everyone reacts differently to stress. If you tend to become angry or agitated under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down. If you tend to become depressed or withdrawn, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating. If you tend to freeze—speeding up in some ways while slowing down in others—you need stress relief activities that provide both comfort and stimulation.

3. Discover the stress-busting techniques that work for you – The best way to reduce stress quickly is by engaging one or more of your senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing and/or energizing to you. For example, if you’re a visual person you can relieve stress by surrounding yourself with uplifting images. If you respond more to sound, you may find a wind chime, a favorite piece of music, or the sound of a water fountain helps to quickly reduce your stress levels.

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq5_raising_emotional_intelligence.htm

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