I believe that all counselling and coaching involves stress management and I have developed a particular focus in this area as I have yet to meet anyone for whom the treatment of stress is unneeded or inappropriate. When we identify the cause(s) of our stress and review some of our actions and reactions using techniques such as mindfulness and visualisation we can often arrive at a different "take" on our situation and feel more confident and more willing to make some changes.
Mindfulness consists of paying attention to an experience from moment to moment without drifting into thoughts of the past or concerns about the future. It is a very simple technique to learn and practise and can produce extremely beneficial and potentially life-changing outcomes whereby experiences of tension and anxiety (which can manifest as a sense of constant urgency, irritability, frustration and anger) give way to an overall inner calm and equilibrium. Mindfulness is not only a very powerful stress reduction technique but can also provide an enlightening gateway to self-reflection and self-knowledge.
I also make frequent use of a computer-aided Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback monitor which can be a useful way to measure how we are responding physiologically to our thoughts and feelings and how changes that we make are helping us to manage our stress better. Research indicates that regular use of some very easy-to-learn and quick-to-practise techniques can significantly reduce stress and that this has wide-ranging benefits for our emotional, mental and physical health.
Traditional approaches to stress management often focus primarily on cognitive areas such as time management and decision making and these are very important skills. There is, however, a growing body of research and media publications which point to the development of EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE as the key to managing stress well. It is our unmanaged emotions which create stress and negative emotions such as frustration, fear and anger can and do interfere with our ability to think optimally. My approach focuses on helping you to manage your emotions in positive and empowering ways and most people find that an improvement in their cognitive abilities seems to flow almost automatically from this enhanced emotional awareness.
Whilst there is no universal definition of Emotional Intelligence (often referred to as EQ or EI), psychologist Dr John. D Mayer is probably the person most worthy of credit for doing the original thinking on the concept of EQ. Please follow the link below to Dr Mayer's website which offers a wealth of information about the research into EQ and how it can be developed and measured.
Here is what some other eminent authors and researchers have had to say about the importance of handling our emotions effectively:
"Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the success in our lives." (Freedman et al., Handle With Care: Emotional Intelligence Activity Book).
"If we lack emotional intelligence, whenever stress rises the human brain switches to autopilot and has an inherent tendency to do more of the same, only harder. Which, more often than not, is precisely the wrong approach in todays world." (Dr. Robert K. Cooper, Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations)
I am a keen follower of the research related to stress being carried out by the HeartMath Institute in the USA. The ground-breaking research they have been conducting since 1991 provides compelling evidence of the pivotal role our emotions play in all aspects of our health and well being. Please follow the links below for more information.