How I can help you: Book a session with me A way through depression How to manage your anxiety Simple relaxation techniques Unhelpful thinking styles How to increase your self-esteem Take control of your stress How to silence self-criticism Why persistence is the key to change The key to managing your anger Mindfulness: how to live in the now Courage before confidence How to stop procrastinating Compassion and mental wellbeing How to weather life's storms Does your life lack meaning? Coping with redundancy Why digital media can cause stress The power of language Dealing with financial insecurity The mind-body connection

Take control of your stress

The key thing to understand about stress is that it's not something that 'happens to you'. Of course, external factors like your workload, a pressurised job, long hours, the culture of your workplace and organisation, your boss and colleagues, and financial pressures, all have a major part to play in how stressed you feel. But in cognitive therapy, the way these factors impact on you depends on your thoughts and beliefs. This is called the 'ABC' model, which works like this:

A = Activating event (redundancies are imminent in your organisation)

B = Beliefs and thoughts ('I'm bound to be made redundant'; 'If I lose this job I'll never get another one'; 'If I can't find a job I'll lose everything.') 

C = Emotional and behavioural Consequences – you become anxious and stressed; your work suffers as a result, so you feel even more worried about being made redundant; you become irritable and snappy with your colleagues, further affecting your performance at work, making you even more worried, anxious and stressed...

'Stress occurs when pressure exceeds your perceived ability to cope.'
Stephen Palmer

Although no-one would underestimate the stress-inducing nature of imminent redundancies, it's the fact that you feel sure they will affect you (which sets in chain a string of negative, anxiety-provoking thoughts predicting the absolute worst – what's known as 'catastrophizing') that makes you so stressed. Then at C, it's clear that this stress affects your emotions and behaviour in ways that make you more stressed, and so it goes on.

Being human means we must deal with bereavement, heartbreak, illness, failure, disappointments – they are part of all our lives, to a greater or lesser extent. The key to managing them with grace lies in the way we interpret them, what we believe about ourselves and the world. You can't avoid A, but you can control B, which affects how you feel at C.

That said, there are a number of simple, practical tools at your disposal that will have an immediate impact on your stress levels. These include:

The good news is that you have the power to manage your stress levels, through modifying unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, and using these simple tools on a day-to-day basis. After all, life is too short to spend feeling stressed out and unhappy.

I run workshops through my company, Calm Self Workshops, for people struggling with stress. The Overcoming Stress workshops take place one Saturday a month at my East Finchley office and cost £150 for a full day.

If you would like to arrange a session or book your place on a workshop call me on 07766 704210, email or use the contact form to get in touch.