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Itís a given that life almost anywhere on our planet is becoming increasingly stressful and coping with this stress is difficult, especially the chronic stress of an intense workplace, seemingly endless war-driven conflict, ongoing dissension in the family, and lingering disease or disability. Don't be afraid to seek out professional counseling that incorporates stress management therapy. Psychotherapy that targets anxiety can help you discover the source of your stress, providing you with not only stress relief but also enhanced insight. Even if an evaluation determines that you donít need deep psychotherapy, you may still benefit from stress management therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy focused in the proper direction will help you alter unhealthy and anxiety-inducing habits, which help with stress relief. Individualized stress management therapy uses a combination of time-tested approaches and more modern research-based techniques.

Therapeutic Options Offer Effective Solutions
The way that our society has evolved in the latter part of the 20th century has contributed, in part, to stress becoming a major illness. Other things also cause and contribute to stress-related illness, such as perfectionism, irrational beliefs, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties and life-changing events ranging from marriage, major illnesses or accidents to divorce, childbirth, retirement and bereavement. Both physicians and psychotherapists rely upon a variety of techniques for stress management therapy:

  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy - pioneered by Albert Ellis, an American psychiatrist who based his n approach on the simple notion that it is not external events that disturb us but rather our distress and problems are a result of the way we perceive and interpret them. Indeed, there’s nothing new under the sun, the 1st century philosopher Epictetus said, 'people are disturbed not by things but by the views which they take of them'. This exploratory stress management therapy uncovers negative and irrational underlying beliefs create and sustain stress and anxiety. It then challenges and disputes those negative and irrational beliefs in order to change them. The challenging or disputing of these irrational beliefs, and the process of changing them into more positive, rational and helpful beliefs and behaviors, is one of the major tasks and tenets of this stress management therapy.
  • Medication – a number of medications that were originally approved for treating depression have been found to be effective for stress and anxiety disorders. Some of the newer antidepressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These medications act on a chemical messenger in the brain called serotonin, which is a neurological chemical that plays a significant role in our emotional state. Similarly, antidepressant medications called tricyclics are started at low doses and gradually increased. Tricyclics have been around longer than SSRIs and have been more widely studied for use in stress management therapy. Additionally, tranquilizers known as benzodiazepines, which slow down the central nervous system, can relieve stress symptoms quickly with few side effects beyond drowsiness and developing a tolerance to continued usage. The drug manufacturers are continually developing new stress management medications as medical research advances.
  • Holistic/Alternative Therapies – these range from natural medications such as herbs, floral homeopathic essences, dietary supplements, and aromatherapy to art, music, hypnotherapy, guided meditation, bodywork, such as Reiki, Ayurvedic therapies, and group activities, such as yoga and exercise coaching. The key to applying these, singly or in combination, is an accurate assessment of the therapy’s effectiveness as it relates to the overall stress or anxiety pattern. A skilled counselor, clinician or other professional is the best source of guidance for using any of them in a stress management program.

Seeking therapy for any condition, whether physical, emotional, mental or environmental, no longer has the stigma formerly attached to it. Today itís well known that stress response narrows your ability to think clearly and function effectively, disabling you physically and emotionally. The goal of stress management is to bring your nervous system back into balance, giving you a sense of serenity and self-control. Controlling your life entails balance, not only in work, relationships and leisure, but also the physical, intellectual and emotional parts. Those who successfully manage stress see life as a challenge instead of a series of irritations. They feel in control of their lives, even while facing setbacks.

There are no ďone size fits allĒ solutions to stress management therapies. Each of us has a unique response to stress and anxiety, so a stress management therapist offering a variety of approaches to managing and reducing stress, in conjunction with your willingness to learn, will make the team that determines what stress management program works best for you.
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