everday stressFINAL2Research actually finds that a moderate level of arousal (stress) is associated with optimal performance. This suggests that some stress is actually beneficial. However, too much stress interferes with peoples’ memory, ability to think accurately, problem solve well, and perform at a high level. There are many factors that create stress; sometimes the onset of stress follows a happy occasion while other times it is in the shadow of difficult or unfortunate situations. The following is a list of some common areas that can often become overwhelming for individuals and lead to unhelpful levels of stress:

–   Work and/or school related-pressures
–   Getting a promotion
–   Losing a job
–   Family conflicts
–   Starting a family
–   Dating and relationships
–   Performance related activities, such as sports, music, and theater
–   Being bullied
–   Financial concerns
–   Body image struggles
–   Exercise (not exercising or exercising to an unhelpful degree)
–   Unhealthy alcohol consumption
–   Cigarette use
–   Other substances
–   Time management
–   Performance anxiety

Life is often stressful. The key is learning how to effectively handle the stress so that it does not become incapacitating. The approach for working with everyday stressors depends on the specific person and that individual’s situation. Techniques may include collaboratively examining the current factors contributing to the onset of problems, assessing what is helping to maintain the undesirable situations, brainstorming alternative options to implement and evaluating their effectiveness. Often times, underlying factors such as fear of failure or fear of success or feelings of not being “good enough,” “smart enough,” “good looking enough” or “worthy of” can cloud one’s perspective and prevent an individual from taking the necessary steps to alleviate stress and improve overall happiness and success. In session role-plays to practice how to handle specific difficult situations is another aspect that is often helpful to build one’s sense of confidence and mastery. Between session assignments is another integral aspect of the therapeutic process for it helps ingrain the concepts and skills discussed and practiced in therapy and apply them to real-life situations.