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Today, we often live active lives, and that doesn't have to be a problem, but if you feel stressed, you may need to think about how to manage your stress. Here we explain what stress management is and what you can do.

What is stress?

Stress is a normal part of human life and is basically the body’s way of reacting to various challenges and stresses. It is a response that is activated when we face situations that require adaptation or change, whether physical, mental, emotional or environmental. While stress at work is a common problem, it is often more nuanced than that. If stress has become prolonged, it may be time to work on stress management.

What is stress management?

Stress management is different ways of finding a balance between activation and recovery in life in general. It can mean taking breaks in your everyday life, but also saying no to increased work tasks if you find it difficult to set limits. It is about identifying what gives and takes energy to prevent and treat more severe stress problems such as fatigue syndrome. By changing your everyday habits, but also with the support of a psychologist or psychotherapist, you can become better at managing your stress.

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Long-term and short-term stress

When we activate ourselves and focus our energy on something, we can experience a stress response. The evolutionary “fight and flight” response kicks in, which we have been using since we lived on the savannah. The brain reacts to threats, but in today’s society we are rarely afraid of predators, but instead it may be that we have taken on too much at work, that we are afraid of failure or that we feel inadequate in other ways.

The short-term stress is not dangerous but part of being human, but what can be problematic is if we live with the stress constantly for a long time. Then we are at high speed and initially it may work but in the long run it can cause severe symptoms. This is why it is so important to use stress management to review how you live, what you value and how you can recover.

When to seek help to manage stress?

Identifying stress is key to preventing long-term negative consequences. It is important to recognize the signs early, both in the short term but also to prevent problems later on.


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Symptoms of stress

If you are under a lot of stress over a long period of time, it is important to pay attention to your symptoms so that you can prevent further illness, but also to get help to break your patterns. Here are some common stress symptoms:

  1. Emotional and mental symptoms: These can include anxiety, depression, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty concentrating, and a decreased sense of well-being.
  2. Physical symptoms: Prolonged stress can lead to headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach, fatigue, and sleep problems. It can also affect the immune system, making you more prone to infections.
  3. Behavioural changes: You may start overeating or eating less, drinking more alcohol or taking drugs, avoiding social contacts, and becoming less effective in everyday life at work, for example.
  4. Health problems: Long-term stress can include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Stress can also contribute to weight problems, skin problems like eczema, and gastrointestinal problems like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

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Methods to deal with stress

There are many different ways to manage stress, from lifestyle changes to psychological treatment. Stress problems can be of varying severity from preventative to severe problems of exhaustion. It is important to work on finding a balance between stress and recovery in order to prevent long-term ill health. If you need to, you can also seek more help from a licensed psychologist or therapist.

Stress management with CBT

If you have mild or moderate problems, you can seek help from a psychologist, where you can work with CBT to manage stress. This includes using a stress diary to see how stress affects your daily life and various cognitive techniques to examine values and beliefs related to your behaviour. They also work on learning how to manage emotions related to performance and setting boundaries. They also work on increasing restorative behaviors in everyday life.

Stress management with ACT

Newer forms of CBT, such as ACT, can also be helpful for stress as it focusses on what you value in life and recovery through mindfulness. There is research showing that ACT can be helpful in managing stress.

Mindfulness and meditation

To manage your stress, you need to increase your recovery. There are several ways to do this, and mindfulness, or conscious presence, has become popular in recent years. There are elements of mindfulness in treatment with ACT, but there are also other mindfulness-based treatments such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is an evidence-based group treatment for managing stress and fatigue, that can be helpful. If you want to practise on your own, there are many apps, such as Insight Timer, that provide meditations to listen to. Alternatively, you can take a course in yoga or meditation.

When should you consider a psychologist?

If you feel that too much stress in your daily life is affecting your health and well-being, it may be time to seek professional help. A psychologist can offer support and tools to manage your stress more effectively.

Remember, it is never too late to address stress. Your health and well-being should always be a priority, and if you feel the stress is too much, don’t hesitate to contact us for support and guidance.


12 questions and answers about stress

What is stress?

Stress is a normal part of human life and is basically the body’s way of reacting to various challenges and stresses.

What causes stress?

Stress is a response that is activated when we are faced with situations that require adaptation or change, whether physical, mental, emotional or environmental. It can range from getting to the bus on time to a new job or becoming a parent.

How do you know if you are stressed?

Signs of work-related stress can include feelings of overwhelm, irritability, decreased motivation or productivity, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and changes in sleep habits. Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, or stomach problems can also be indications of stress. If these symptoms affect your daily life, it is important to seek professional help.

How can I reduce my stress level at work?

To reduce stress levels at work, focus on creating a healthy working environment. This can mean adjusting your schedule, setting realistic goals, and making sure you take breaks during the day. Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing can also be effective. Make sure you also take care of your physical health through regular exercise and a balanced diet. Maintaining a strong social support network outside of work is also important.

What are the long-term effects of stress?

Long-term stress at work can lead to several negative health consequences, such as fatigue, cardiovascular disease, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. It can also affect the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections. On a personal level, it can lead to problems in relationships and overall quality of life. Managing stress effectively is therefore crucial for both your physical and mental health.

Can the work environment affect my stress level?

Yes, the work environment plays a major role in your stress level. A noisy, cluttered or conflict-ridden environment can increase stress. On the other hand, a supportive, organized and positive work environment can contribute to lower stress levels. It is important to work towards creating a workplace that promotes well-being, which can include ergonomic workstations, sufficient light, and a culture that encourages breaks and social support.

What role does time management play in stress management?

Effective time management is crucial to reducing stress at work. By organizing and prioritizing your tasks, you can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. Learning to say no to tasks that exceed your capacity and delegating when possible are also important aspects. Using planning tools and setting realistic deadlines can also help keep stress at a reasonable level.

Are there any effective relaxation techniques for managing stress?

Yes, there are several relaxation techniques that can help manage stress at work. Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness exercises are effective methods. Short walks or stretching during the day can also help. Some people find that listening to quiet music or practicing yoga can be relaxing. Experimenting with different techniques can help you find what works best for you.

How can a psychologist help me manage stress?

Psychologists work with evidence-based methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT), which can be helpful in managing stress. You can work with different techniques and a stress diary to increase your recovery and life balance.

Where can I seek help for stress?

You can seek help from one of our licensed psychologists or therapists here at Lavendla. If you have more severe problems, you should seek contact with a doctor for assessment via, for example, your health centre.

Treating stress – step by step

If you need to manage your stress, there is help available and here you can get an idea of what a treatment could look like:

Understanding and assessment

The first step is to map your history and how your symptoms have developed. A professional psychologist or therapist can help you evaluate your situation and understand what is causing your stress. You may also be asked to complete assessment forms.

Psychoeducation

You will learn about stress and how it affects you both physically and mentally. It is important to understand what happens in your body, thoughts and feelings when stress occurs.

Tools to change behaviours and patterns

In CBT treatment, you will work on identifying patterns that are linked to your stress. This may include working on lifestyle values, completing a stress diary and learning to set healthy boundaries and identify needs. You will also be given homework to practice between sessions, which may include various mindfulness exercises.

Follow up and evaluate progress

You will have support from your psychologist throughout the process. At the end of the treatment, you will also receive a plan to continue practicing and maintain your progress over time.

Involve specialists (if necessary)

If your symptoms are severe, they may require more specialized care. In this case, it is a good idea to contact a doctor at your health centre for an assessment.

Book a first session with one of our licensed psychologists or therapists to see how we can help you.

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Written by melissa

Melissa is a Certified Kinesiologist who focusses on a client-centred, holistic and integrative approach to health and wellness. She has extensive experience in managing stress, anxiety, fears, phobias and trauma in her clients. Melissa uses visual and auditory feedback to directly access and solve the cause of psychological stressors in the body so that optimal well-being and balance is achieved.