Are You Suffering From Stress, Anxiety or Depression?

Feel Like There Is A Huge Weight On Your Shoulders?

I Can Help You Reduce That Burden And To Feel Better

What is Stress?

Stress is everywhere.  We encounter stress when stuck in rush hour traffic, when our train is delayed and we’re running late, when we’re having a disagreement with someone.  Stress can be good for you in low doses, for example when completing a deadline.   Yet too much stress or chronic stress can lead to anxiety and depression.

"Like email and spam email, a little stress is good but too much is bad; you'll need to shut down and reboot," says Esther Sternberg, MD, a leading stress researcher and the chief of neuroendocrine immunology and behaviour at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Do You Have Any Symptoms of Stress?

Physical

  • grinding your teeth
  • clenching your jaw
  • headaches
  • muscle tension or pain
  • poor sleep
  • sore eyes
  • feeling tired all the time
  • change in appetite
  • constipation or diarrhoea

Emotional

  • irritable
  • overwhelmed
  • uninterested in life
  • lack of self-esteem
  • lonely
  • anxious

Mental

  • racing thoughts
  • constant worrying
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty making decisions

Behavioural

  • drinking or smoking more
  • snapping at people
  • biting your nails
  • eating too much or too little
  • picking at your skin
  • avoiding things or people you are having problems with

Stress Bucket Analogy

We all have a different capacity for stress in our lives. Imagine this capacity is represented by a bucket. Everyone will have a different size bucket which can be dependant on various factors such as genetics and social background as well as life events.

Now imagine a tap above the bucket and this represents all the sources of stress in your life. The source of stress can be such things as your job, relationships, finances, moving home and even getting married. Yes, its worth noting that stress can even result from positive experiences not just negative ones. This points to the fact that NOBODY’S life is going to be stress-free.

Now as long as your bucket can hold the amount of stress in your life, there are no problems and you’re coping fine. You could even have a tap on the side of your bucket which allows the stress to drain away. This might involve coping strategies like exercise or meditation. As soon as your bucket starts overflowing however, thats when things can start to go wrong and so its important to stop that from happening.

How Do I Keep My Bucket From Overflowing?

Whilst you might not be able to alter the size of your bucket, below are a few simple strategies you may be able to introduce to reduce your stress.

  • 1

    Exercise

    Keeping active can be a great way to combat stress. Doing exercise releases endorphins and other chemicals that help us feel better and reduce stress.

  • 2

    Mindfulness / Meditation

    These ancient techniques help us to create the space in our minds to choose what is essential and what isn’t. Just practicing for 10 minutes a day can retrain your brain to increase your mental resources and cope with stress more peacefully.

  • 3

    Eat Well

    When we are stressed we often feel pressed for time and then turn to quick food such as takeaways. This can be the worst solution as such foods can make us feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress. Eating low-fat, high-fibre, carbohydrate-rich meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help as they soothe us without sapping our energy and give us the nutrients we need to boost our immune system.

  • 4

    Get Enough Sleep

    People that are stressed often don’t make time to get a good restful sleep each night. So maybe less screen time just before bed might be a good place to start.

  • 5

    Reduce your alcohol/nicotine/caffeine.

    Alcohol is known as a mood suppressor and all three are known to activate the fight or flight response which increases the level of cortisol in the body (also known as the stress hormone).

What’s the link between Stress, Anxiety and Depression?

Dealing with stress is normal part of life but when your bucket begins to overflow and you become overwhelmed it can cause mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is when we have a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.  So basically we worry or are afraid about things that we think are going to happen e.g. I'm going to look really bad giving this presentation.

What happens is we avoid doing the activity.  Whilst that reduces the fear initially, it usually returns the next time we encounter the difficulty.

Another way to look at it is, stressful situations can come and go for example moving home or changing job.  Once you’ve moved home, your stress levels tend to go down once you get settled in.  Anxiety on the other hand can persist whether or not the cause is known to the sufferer.  

Fight or Flight?

Anxiety is your natural response to stress protecting us from danger.  Most people have heard of the fight or flight response. 

In cave man days when we were under threat from a woolly mammoth our bodies would respond to protect us from danger. Our bodies release various chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline.  These have the effect of increasing our heart rate, quickening our breathing and tensing our muscles all to ensure we are ready for action or to run from danger.

Humans have evolved since then but unfortunately our ancient fight or flight response has remained.  Whenever we get anxious that is our fight or flight response kicking into action, often unknowingly, to everyday stressful situations.  Once the situation has passed, our bodies release more hormones to relax the body.  What happens in today’s world is that stress can build up, causing us to feel more anxious and have that fight or flight response continuously activated.  The consequence of this is chronic stress which affects us physically and mentally.

What about Depression?

mind.org defines depression as: a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.

We all have times when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually these feelings pass in due course.

But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don't go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you're experiencing depression.

When we experience chronic stress (when our bucket is overflowing), or when we experience a stressful life event like loosing a job, these can trigger depression.  Chronic stress in particular, leads to elevated levels of cortisol, which is often referred to as the stress hormone, and reduced levels of serotonin and other chemicals which have been linked to depression.

When we are functioning healthily these chemicals help maintain biological processes such as like sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive, and permit expression of normal moods and emotions.

The mood self-assessment provided by the NHS can help you determine if you are anxious or depressed. Please note this is not designed to replace a GP.  If you need further medical advice please contact your GP.

I've Tried Everything That You've Suggested Above And I'm Still Struggling.  What Now?

Now Might Be The Time To Speak To A Professional.

So How Can I Help You?

Through counselling I can help by:

  1. Helping you understand the root cause of your stress and anxiety.
    Sometimes we just feel stressed and anxious but don’t even know the cause.
  2. Helping you gain the autonomy to make the changes you want to make to lead a happier life.
  3. Providing the non-judgemental space for you to offload your difficulties.
  4. Helping you express your emotions which will help reduce your stress.

How Much Does It Cost?

Sessions will usually take place on a weekly basis and are charged at £40 per session. 

Sessions last 50mins.

I'm Interested. What Do I Need To Do?

All you need to do is complete the contact form below

with your name, email address and brief description of the difficulties you are experiencing.

If you prefer you can send me an email at

keithfernandescounselling@gmail.com or text me on 07935 566 085

After that I will:

- contact you within 48 hours.

- arrange to give you a brief call

- arrange a free initial meeting

The initial meeting just gives you a chance to meet me and see if you feel comfortable working together.

After that the choice is yours.

A Big Step!

Getting help can be a big step.  If you are still a bit unsure or have any questions, send me an enquiry anyway - it's free!!! Click here to visit my Testimonial page and read about the experiences of some of my previous clients.

Keith Fernandes Counselling