Online sessions now available.Kristian S. Nibe - clinical psychologist and ISTDP practitioner.
Stress – muscle tensions in the body, rather than ones own feelings.
Stress is bodily tension that happens as a response to unconscious feelings that a part of the brain is trying to keep out of awareness. Stress is a so-called anxiety mechanism that activates the body with muscle tension because a person feels something (i.e. anger, sadness, joy, guilt, etc.), but rather than allowing the person to feel these underlying feelings, a part of the brain (i.e. the unconscious anxiety mechanism) tries to cover them up and keep them out of the person’s awareness through muscle tension, stress, and anxiety. What symptoms this stress/anxiety mechanism causes you can read about via this link.
Stress is not the same as fear. Fear is an adaptive and normal physical response to external threats that pose a danger to our chances of survival. When fear is triggered due to external danger the body’s “fight or flight” reaction activates in order to prepare for fast action. In life threatening situations fear may save life by providing access to the extra strength needed to defend oneself.
Stress on the other hand gets triggered by 1) a resistance to reality and a desire for reality to be what one desires in fantasy, 2) trying to control the outcome of a situation rather than being comfortable living with a certain degree of uncertainty, 3) wanting a specific reaction from others (i.e. approval, being liked, etc.) rather than accepting that people are whom they are and will have their own response either way, 4) a low connection to own feelings and a reduced ability in being able to both regulate and communicate these, 5) not taking responsibility for prioritizing the 24 hours available during the day but somehow believing that the day has more hours, 6) a lack of strength when expressing wants and opinions, and 7) not slowing down to a speed that is natural for that person, but hurrying along in order to please others’ demands and wishes.
Stress is also triggered by underlying assumptions about oneself and others. These are assumptions regarding; what one is entitled to, what one can expect from others, that one assumes responsibility that is other people’s responsibility, and that one assumes that tasks will take shorter time than they usually do.
Conversational therapy and psychotherapy may help the understanding of what assumptions and behavioral patterns that maintains the stress. Such awareness will enable you to let go of dysfunctional patterns and defense mechanisms, and this will contribute to greater calm and certainty, and as a result, a reduction of your stress level.
Consequences of stress over time.
Long term exposure to stress can lead to serious health issues. This is caused by the body’s secretion of adrenalin and cortisone during a stressful state. The body is only able to stay in this alerted state for a short period of time before it begins to exhaust itself and use up its resources.
If stress continues over a longer period of time it may lead to deterioration of the immune system which may lead to imbalance in several bodily systems. Chronic stress may increase blood pressure, disrupt the immune system, increase the likelihood of heart disease and stroke, cause less fertility, cause pain in the body, infections, cancer, diabetes, digestive problems, sleep disturbances, obesity, auto-immune disorders, skin disorders, and speed up the aging process.
Stress also causes changes in the brain’s neurotransmitters which increases vulnerability and likelihood for both anxiety disorders and depression.
Men under 55 years that are stressed have twice as much likelihood to die from heart disease than their stress-free peers. In total they have 30% greater risk of dying earlier than other men.
Buffers to stress.
If you over a long period of time have lived with a lot of stress, both mind and body will pay a price for that. If you often feel stressed and overwhelmed, then it’s time to get the body back in balance. Because of the physical and psychological health issues that stress brings, it’s important to know ones own limitations. Where exact this limit is varies from person to person. Some people are able to withstand intensive pressure over time, while others have a lower tolerance for stress.
The first task when wanting to overcome stress is to start taking it seriously rather than ignoring as you did before. This means paying attention to when stress is activated in the body, learn how you can regulate it, and become aware of underlying feelings that the stress is suppressing.
The ability to handle and regulate emotions play a central role in stress reduction. Exposure to stress is greatly enhanced if you don’t know how to calm down when you feel anxious, nervous, sad, angry, or scared. An effective stress reduction technique is found through this link.
Secondly, it’s important to be aware of and understand your dysfunctional defense mechanisms, underlying assumptions, and behavioral patterns that are involved in both triggering stress in the first place and maintaining it over time.
The ability to tolerate stress depends on many factors including the quality of relationships, self-esteem, how one views others and oneself in relation to others, the view on life and the world and whether it is mostly positive or negative, the ability to experience, regulate, and communicate feelings, and biological and genetic factors, which also includes quality of nutrition, sleep, fresh air, and exercise.
A supportive social network consisting of good friends and family is a buffer against the troubles in our world, and the lonelier we are and feel, the more vulnerable we are towards stress.
Self-confidence and the ability to influence events, and also endurance and resilience throughout the challenges of life makes it easier to handle stress during difficult periods. People vulnerable for stress have a tendency to be uncomfortable with uncertainty and believe that they have to control the environment around them in order to be safe.
How the world is viewed may either prevent or contribute to stress. People with a low stress level often have a more optimistic attitude towards the world. They have a tendency to like new challenges, have a good sense of humor, they do not take themselves too seriously, and they accept that change is a part of life.
If you feel that you live an existence with too much stress, the best way to deal with it is to address the underlying cause. Write me a message using the contact form below if you are interested in a consultation.
Online consultations available.
Use the contact form below for any inquiries. Please state briefly the nature of your problem, when and how you are available, and how you prefer to conduct payment (Credit Card or PayPal).
Consultations are available for either 45 minutes or 90 minutes, and are conducted by video either through Skype or appear.in. Alternatively I also offer sessions through chat/e-mail.
The price per 45 minute consultation is 160 Euro. The price for a 90 minute consultation is 300 Euro.