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Before batteries die, they get drained! Men are as vulnerable to stress as women are, but they are often less likely to recognise it or admit to it. We are socialised to believe that men must not cry, admit to stress, depression or anxiety and be strong all the time. This can often exacerbate levels or stress and prevent men from seeking help when it is needed.
We can think of stress in two ways: eustress, which can be thought of as helpful stress and distress, which can be thought of as unhelpful and damaging stress.
Men are not always good at recognising stress in them, and stress is clearly an individual experience. What one man finds stressful, another will not, and what can be stressful at one time may not cause stress during another time of your life.
Below are some of the physical signs and symptoms of stress experienced in men.
Remember that stress is an individual experience and that symptoms are too:
The psychological signs and symptoms of stress include:
The language of stress is largely borrowed from engineering in which we talk of stress, strain, tolerance, resilience, breaking points, flexibility, elasticity, etc. of materials. Stress is a protector in that it gives us a mechanism for dealing with threats. We have the ability to confront threats or avoid them; the so-called "fight or flight" mechanism.
Stress can be good as well as bad. Without some stress we would not get the adrenaline up to win races, solve problems, take exams and make important changes.
Stress, particularly long-term stress, can be a factor in the onset or worsening of ill health and a shortened lifespan. Stress management is essential to wellbeing and something we should practice every day.
Contact me on 084 779 4889 to help you develop a strategy to manage stress. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
There are many factors in our lives that can cause stress. Things like work deadlines, financial troubles, congested traffic, and arguments can cause stress.
Stress is a natural reaction. Stress can become a problem when these pressures become overwhelming, and in some cases, can be a precursor to anxiety disorders and depression.
Thankfully, stress is very manageable, and a little stress can even help you perform better. There are many ways to deal with stress, and simple techniques practiced frequently can really help.
The body deals with acute stress by releasing chemicals that tell the body that it is in danger, and therefore activates the flight or fight response. This response is a survival mechanism that prepares the body to face danger. Changes seen during this response include increased heart rate, rapid breathing, dry mouth and sweating. Long term exposure to stress, and the exposure of the body to high levels of hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, can lead to increased vulnerability to illnesses, such as depression, obesity, heart disease, among others, and is not a healthy state to be in.
The symptoms of stress can vary between different individuals. The most common symptoms are:
These symptoms, in turn, affect how you deal with the events that cause stress, thereby worsening the stress.
You can learn to manage stress by using various techniques, such as monitoring and challenging the way you think about events, slow breathing, and solving your problems in a structured manner. In addition to this, exercising, cutting down on drug and alcohol use, and doing things you enjoy can help in coping with stress.
We all want to feel healthy and happy, but the reality of life is that there are good times and bad times. Everyone has ups and downs. Even though you may feel as if you are alone you are not. Many people struggle with stress daily, but things do change, and stressful times do pass.
You don’t have to do get through this by yourself. Help is only a phone call away. Contact me on 084 779 4889 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Managing Stress In a New Marriage
The word newly-weds is synonymous with a happy, joyful and pleasant couple. Where you and your partner are meant to be head over heels in love with one another and seen to be gliding through love. But with any relationship that requires human interaction, stresses will arise, internally and externally. Here is how newlyweds can navigate through stress:
Keeping Your Marriage Alive With the HELP of Counselling
Counselling can be very hard on a marriage; it can first expose the cracks and hidden truths about you or your partner and thus impact your daily lives before starting the healing and fulfilling process. While it is important and beneficial for couples to undergo therapy and to complete the cycle, it is important to not take your problems home, but rather practice the solutions at home. Here are solutions you can practice to keep your marriage alive while undergoing counselling:
• Feedback – Post a therapy session, both partners can be left feeling embarrassed, betrayed, shocked or disappointed. Instead of leaving the issues outside of the therapist’s door, why not unpack it at home once you have both calmed down. Take some time out to digest it separately and don’t go to bed without sharing your feedback to one another.
• 10 things I love about you – In the height of intense therapy sessions, jot down 10 things you love and appreciate about your partner and keep this list around you. In a time of doubt, go back to the list and it will keep you calm and remind you why you are working through your issues.
• Date night – Schedule a weekly date night and rotate who is in charge of the booking. At the date night, no phones or distractions allowed. No need to discuss pertinent issues from therapy, treat these evenings as casual dates to catch up each other.
• Engage other couples – Identify another couple whose energy you admire, a couple who is open about their journey and willing to be there for you in good times and bad. Check in often with this couple, even in good times to merely share experiences. Sometimes it takes an external viewpoint to help you appreciate what you have.
• Revisit the places where you first fell in love – Revisiting the places and people that evoked your love will warm your heart as you remember activities linked to that specific place. This should bring joy to the both of you and help lessen the tension.
• Laugh when you can - Nurturing your sense of humour can be another great asset in learning to embrace the ups and downs. Try saying something out of character to shake things up a bit. Because you share the same values and stand for the same things, perhaps the absurdity will help the situation.
Contact me to help work through your marital challenges - email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
The month of love - a time for love letters, red roses, chocolates, and marriage proposals! But let’s remember marriage is more than just the wedding. Some ideas about marriage to discuss with your partner before crossing the threshold:
Marriage Is a Covenant, Not a Contract
Western societies make the individual’s happiness the ultimate value, and so marriage becomes primarily an experience of romantic fulfilment. Getting married these days is like having a relationship with your internet service provider. “As long as you keep providing the internet, I’ll keep paying.” Far too often we treat marriage the same - a formal contract based on happiness or some legal benefit.
A covenant however is not a legal contract that lays out terms, but a mutual understanding that regardless of performance, you’re still all in. It’s a love that understands that the essence of marriage is a sacrificial commitment to the good of the other. It unites not just duty and passion, but emotions and promise.
Marriage Will Intensify Your Problems, Not Fix Them
Marriage puts all your problems under a microscope and intensifies them. Once the mental switch of “forever” comes into the mix more flaws pop up - that’s the perfect storm.
Far too often we think by spending enough time with another person those inconsistencies and flaws will get smoothed out. But once you realise you might have to deal with them forever? It’s easy to get cynical, bitter, jaded, and angry. The person you marry at the altar that day will be the same person forty years from now, so don’t delude yourself. Sure, improvement is necessary for any relationship to thrive, but those flaws you’re ignoring and think you might change, or marriage will somehow fix – think again.
So, if you walk into a marriage thinking little things won’t become big things, or you don’t learn how to compromise and communicate, failure is around the corner and waiting.
Get Your Issues Together Before You Get Married, Because You’re Past Will Come Back to Haunt You
Learn about yourself. Grow. If you have issues plaguing you, then spend the time dealing with them - before getting married! The amount of conflict and grief you’ll save yourself will be worth the investment.
Premarital counselling is a form of therapy that is provided to couples to prepare them for marriage. This counselling plays a vital role in this preparation. It is provided with the aim of helping couples have strong and healthy relationships, thereby giving them a greater chance of enjoying a stable as well as satisfying marriage.
Getting premarital counselling is a great way for partners to enhance their ability to communicate and establish realistic expectations from one another. It’s also an excellent way to develop conflict-resolution skills.
Often, people get married believing that it will fulfil their emotional, financial, social, and sexual needs – and it does not turn out as they had expected.
When differences and expectations are discussed before marriage, the couple can develop ways to understand as well as support each other after they are married. Early intervention is crucial because the risk of divorce is normally at greatest early in marriage.
Benefits of Premarital Counselling:
You gain insight –When two people are in love, they often overlook those things that they ultimately have to face when married. Premarital counselling can shed light on these issues and help the couple solve them before it takes them by surprise.
You strengthen communication skills – Good communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. Without communication, there’s nothing to hold the relationship together and help it function smoothly. Counselling is a great way to help couples strengthen their communication skills.
You understand each other’s major triggers – Identifying the “push buttons” you and your partner are most sensitive about is an important step toward avoiding and overcoming the personal triggers.
You identify potential conflicts – No two people believe or have completely similar ideas regarding life in general. It is important to identify any potential conflicts before they even occur.
You establish shared vision – To have a successful marriage, you need to have a a shared vision you and your partner both have expressed to each other. The vision is a conscious and deliberate way to create your relationship together towards your destination.
Too often couples get so tangled up in spending time planning the perfect wedding, that they fail to address issues that would serve as a foundation of their marriage later on. Yet, for many couples, pre-marital counselling is a positive, affirming and bonding experience that enhances their commitment to marry.
Contact me to help work through your personal challenges in your married or for pre-marital counselling – starting off on the right foot- firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: heartsupport.com and spiral2grow.com
We are already in the middle of January – so how are you feeling? Everything is back in full swing – school has started, we are back at work, the traffic is hectic. Real life, I guess. So how do we cope and make the best of 2019?
While there are no easy or quick answers, here are some guidelines that may resonate with you.
Take a deep breath. It is easy for our fears to overwhelm us. Panic, fitful sleep and intense anxiety can escalate quickly. There is much research evidence as well as clinical best practices that underscore the importance of taking some long, deep, and diaphragmatic breaths to help calm us down and both help organise and centre us. While the popular suggestion, “don’t forget to breathe” seems a bit silly, it really is wise advice to pay close attention to your breath and be mindful that your breath can help you manage daily challenges. It is free, always available, easy and effective – try it!
Grow where you are planted. It is easy to be overcome with all the challenges of our nation and world. Know what you can’t change and what you can – and make a difference right where you are – your home, community, work - leave someone feeling better after an encounter with you. Be kind – to yourself and others.
Reflect on your own values. Regardless of what goes on around us and what we hear about in the media, we make daily choices about who we are and who we want to be. We can decide what values we hold near and dear to us and live them. Living a life of honesty, integrity, responsibility, concern for others inspires and motivates us to thrive in challenging environments.
Be thoughtful about media exposure. With the presence of 24/7 news as well as the influence of social media, it is easy to feel overwhelmed about the troubles of the world. Be thoughtful about too much media exposure. Spend time in nature away from computers and smartphones. Research suggests that too much screen time is bad for our mental health and time in nature, as well as with caring and supportive others, is good for our mental health too.
Becoming a mentally strong person takes practice and mindfulness. What happens to us plays far less a role in our happiness and success than our response to what happens to us.
To develop and maintain the kind of mental resilience that contributes to a healthy and happy life, daily attention must be given to our thoughts and behaviours.
Help keep yourself prepared for whatever comes your way tomorrow by practicing good habits of mind and attitude:
Contact me to help you build emotional resilience - email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: inc.com: psychologytoday.com
Starting off a new year is both exciting and anxiety-provoking. It is often a transition period for many – the start of a new school year, a new job, or trying to resolve issues from the previous year. Whatever you are feeling, it is normal to have a variety of emotions around the New Year.
It is important to be comfortable with your feelings – no matter what they are. Trying to suppress or deny them is of no use. It is better to acknowledge them, feel them, talk about them, and move on.
Being emotionally healthy does not mean you are happy all the time. It means you are aware of your emotions. You can deal with them, whether they are positive or negative.
Emotional health is an important part of overall health. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. They can cope with life’s challenges. They can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from setbacks. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships.
Research shows that emotional health is a skill.
Here are some steps to build a robust emotional skillset:
Contact me to help you build emotional resilience - firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
What emotions come to your mind when you hear the word “holidays”? Are you flooded with a sense of excitement imagining twinkle lights, summer braais and family gatherings? Or are you consumed with feelings of stress, racing thoughts and what-if questions on how you are going to manage getting everything done in time?
Perhaps the holidays bring about a great sense of sadness or loss and are an acute reminder of what could have been? Realistically, you may feel all these things in one form or another at this time of year.
Here are a few ways to help carry your own mixed bag of emotions:
Contact me to make sense of this season - email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Christmas is a time for festive fun and family dinners, but often brings about heightened emotions.
Spending some time coming home to ourselves and compassionately examining our true feelings, can lead to healthier emotions round the festive tree.
To avoid frazzling during the frenzied festive period, we need to put as much effort into preparing ourselves mindfully as we do decorating the house, buying presents, stocking up on food, and putting the final bits of tinsel on the tree.
Families failing to get themselves in the right frame of mind for Christmas may cook up a recipe for disharmony and an emotionally fraught few days.
In theory, Christmas should be a time to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones without having to worry about the stresses of work. Too often the furious pace of the build-up and the holiday period itself can leave many with lower tolerance; fatigued and frustrated.
A few helpful hints to get through this period:
Only spend what is truly affordable
Buy gifts with true intent and forethought
Give without expecting anything in return
If it didn’t work last year, does it make sense to want to do the same this Christmas?
Be prepared – buy things in advance – reduce any last-minute rushes
Only buy what’s really needed
Be kind to yourself
When we slow down, even just a little, and focus on our presence (be here, now), are kind to ourselves in mind and body, then our loved ones will notice peace in ourselves and appreciate some higher tolerance levels.
Social isolation can be more problematic at a time of year when relationships with others are magnified in their importance. Look for local community events you can attend, there are LOTS!
The Christmas/New Year period can often be one of reflection of the year gone by and contemplation of the year to come. Try to focus on the progress you have made and the positive things that have happened in the year.
Get outdoors and enjoy some exercise or some relaxing time in peaceful surroundingss; the park, the beach, a lake. Consume food and beverages in moderation. Overindulgence is detrimental to our health both physically and mentally.
Remember, Christmas is just one single day. Don’t place too much importance or emphasis on what you think it should be. Maintain realistic expectations. Remember your personal value.
Contact me to help you through this season - firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: grow.org.au; angliacounselling.co.uk
The definition of resilience is adapting and responding positively to stress and misfortune. Resilience isn’t an empty idea: individuals can and do respond differently to the challenges of life. This is particularly relevant to those who support others in the role as a care-giver – whether as a therapist, doctor, nurse, looking after elderly parents, looking after sick children, or just being a friend to someone in need. Resilience is an acquired skill. So how do you make sure you come out on top?
Here are some guidelines to building resilience:
1. Let yourself feel lousy occasionally. True resilience doesn’t mean you never get discouraged. If you never encounter painful struggle, you never get to discover your resilience. This is why pain is almost universal among the resilient - it happens. Resilience isn’t about masking your pain and pretending everything is fine - you’re human, not a machine. In short, what matters isn’t how you feel in the moment, it’s that you overcome it and stand back up.
2. Know that you’re the only one who can control your fate. Take decisive action. It’s tempting to use fate as an excuse for your future but take control as best you can.
3. Keep yourself value-centred. It’s all fine and good to make executive decisions, but if the right decision isn’t clear, it can be easy to make mistakes. Studies have found that having a moral compass - an internal system of values and ethics - goes along with higher resilience.
4. Recharge with a workout. Dealing with setbacks can be exhausting, so it’s important not just to push your way back too hard, but to rest and recharge along the way. Exercise is often a mini metaphor for life’s larger challenges: We set short-term goals that build mental momentum to reach larger goals in the long term.
5. Don’t set unrealistic goals. Challenge yourself and aim high but be fair to yourself.
6. Express your feelings.
According to a study of student nurses doing emotionally exhausting work in a literal life-or-death environment, those who were able to draw on support from friends and colleagues, and genuinely express their emotions from sorrow to frustration to joy, were less prone to burnout.
Tell people you trust how you really feel. Be honest and authentic rather than trying to please everyone and you’ll come out feeling relieved and sane.
Let me help you build resilience - email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Maintaining your health and wellbeing provides the energy and capacity to endure the challenges that you may face in your role of caring for others. Good health and wellbeing mean that you can provide the best care to yourself, your family and your clients. Carers need to maintain their health and wellbeing to provide the best frame of mind to care for another individual or group.
To ensure caregiver burnout does not occur, you must practice emotional care with the same diligence you take when caring for others.
Emotional care refers to the practice of being mindful of our psychological health and adopting short but frequent daily habits to monitor and address psychological wounds when we sustain them. In your care-giver role – whether that is as counsellor, psychologist, coach, nurse or any other role where your main function is to care for another - burnout can manifest itself in a variety of ways. A few common signs to look out for include: anxiety, depression, irritability, new or worsening health problems, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, drinking, smoking or eating more, or neglecting your self-care, health, and wellness.
Some of the most important tips for carers include:
The cumulative effects of stress can build over time and not be noticed until problems emerge. Apart from the above, there are plenty of useful strategies for managing stress, including:
Guilt, anger, resentment, fear, stress, anxiety, depression and grief are some of the emotions that will be encountered in your role. It is normal to feel as if you are going crazy at times, and it does not help to try to suppress or deny what you are feeling. The best way to deal with your feelings is to accept them, but make sure you can talk about your feelings with someone who understands, whether it is a family member, friend, counsellor or support group.
Depression is always a potential concern, and you should seek professional help if it becomes a serious issue.
Maintain an identity of your own separate from your role and keep your links to the world outside your job and role.
Contact me to assist you. HELP IS ONE CALL AWAY - firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: psychologytoday.com; synapse.org; blog.careacademy.com; caregiver.org; nih.gov
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