Stress is a normal part of our lives. As the demands of life keep increasing, people are finding it more and more difficult to manage stress. Having excess stress can be damaging to your health, your relationships, and your happiness. Many people who are overly stressed do not even realize that they are stressed. They have gotten used to the constant pressure and fast paced lifestyle they have been living. Do you have too much stress in your life? Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you get enough sleep each night?
Do you take time each day to relax and enjoy yourself?
Do you rely on high doses of caffeine to stay awake and stay productive?
Do you experience frequent headaches or muscle aches?
Do you feel overwhelmed by the demands in your life?
Do you feel guilty when you are not working?

Answering no to one of the first questions and yes to one or more of the following questions may indicate that you are overly stressed. Stress counseling usually involves two major components:

  1. Practical changes: Practical changes include changing one’s environment and behavior in order to help reduce workload and stress. These changes may involve one or more of the following:
      1. Reducing procrastination
      2. Improving time management
      3. Evaluating priorities
      4. Learning relaxation methods
  2. Changing perception: Changing your perception means changing the way you think about things. An overly stressed person may need to develop confidence and begin to believe that they have the ability to complete important tasks. People often feel stressed when they believe that they do not have the resources to deal with the demands of life. Counseling may involve one or more of the following:
      1. Recognizing negative thinking patterns
      2. Learning to use strengths.
      3. Improving self-esteem and self-confidence