Wales Counselling provides counselling for stress in North Wales and Chester

Claire McCluskey
M.Sc. B.A. Relate Cert C.C.
Registered Counsellor BACP & UKRC

Coast Road, Rhyl, LL18 3PL
07551 529 386


Stress is a fact of everyday life. Stress challenges us to problem solve- which can help and hinder us. Modern life is high pressured and we feel pressure to keep up.

If you feel like you are spinning plates and it has become so busy just keeping everything moving that youre exhausted then stress is building. You begin to fear it will come falling down around you.

It can drive and motivate us, helping us to perform to our optimum.

Stress is a force which has complex effects- too little stress can leave us feeling unmotivated but with too much stress can feel immobilised. You can feel stressed by being either under or over challenged.

We have a stress response to help us cope with a new or potentially dangerous situation so these symptoms are normal in these circumstances.

Your body is trying to prepare you, to ready you for what is to come next.

A stress response puts you into red alert mode.

How long we feel stress will also have an affect- the more prolonged the stress the more like it will be to have negative effects.

We can respond to stress in a physical way: with increased blood pressure, increased intestinal activity, increased sweating etc.

You might feel shaky, have palpitations, get a sinking feeling, or a churning inside feeling, you might get dry mouthed or breathe more quickly.

Being a person with perfectionist standards will keep stress high because expectations stay high.

Things like money worries, job se Stress affects work and home as well as you personally- financial security, family worries, health worries all add to the pressure to keep juggling the stressors and people may feel they have no option but to remain in high stress situations. Things which maintain stress are: perfectionist values, procrastination / avoidance, increasing work hours, not saying no or delegating, bottling up feelings, taking work home or working through breaks.

Holmes and Rahe's (1967) stress inventory shows how the accumulation of stress can leave you open to stress related problems over a short time period. Over 300 life units in a year means a person has an 80% chance of developing a stress related illness.

Life eventLife change units
Death of a spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Imprisonment 63
Death of a close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Dismissal from work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in health of family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Gain a new family member 39
Business readjustment 39
Change in financial state 38
Death of a close friend 37
Change to different line of work 36
Change in frequency of arguments 35
Major mortgage 32
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Change in responsibilities at work 29
Child leaving home 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Spouse starts or stops work 26
Begin or end school 26
Change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in working hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change in schools 20
Change in recreation 19
Change in church activities 19
Change in social activities 18
Minor mortgage or loan 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in number of family reunions 15
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Christmas 12
Minor violation of law 11

Consequences to stress can be: Physical (like high blood pressure or stomach ulcers), Behavioural (mood, eating or sleeping changes, increased alcohol or smoking), Cognitive (indecisiveness or critical thinking) and Emotional (anxious, moody, and tearful).

While we cannot live in a stress free world we can look at our relationship with stress and adjust it to help ourselves. Counselling can help you understand the sources of stress and aims to work to help you change your relationship with stress...through learning coping mechanisms, building self esteem and self compassion.