How to Work Effectively with Stress

Here’s a crazy fact: 75% to 90% of all doctor’s visits are stress related. High blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, headaches, depression and anxiety, are now known to put a tremendous strain on our bodies and minds. Still, there seems to be no decline in these figures.
As a Holistic Coach or Counsellor, you will support many clients with stress-related issues. However, helping someone with stress can sometimes be a challenge.
Why can stress be hard to work with?
Firstly, stress is a general term affecting many parts of our physical and emotional selves. To get beyond this, we must help break the concept of stress down for our clients and remove the blanket term so we can support our clients on a deeper level.
Secondly, many people don’t yet know that, more often than not, there is an underlying psychological reason for all symptoms of stress, even if they look physical. It’s never “just stress”. Therefore, there is no point in helping our clients start a meditation or mindfulness practice unless they become aware of the real reasons for their tension. Thus, helping our clients to become aware of the underlying cause of their stress needs to be a top priority.
To help your clients combat stress, we need to support them on three levels. To help them effectively, you must know your client’s current level and aim to enable them to get to the next level.
Let’s break it down:
Awareness Level – Stage one is to help clients become aware of their stressors and break them down. This will be your first action when assisting clients as Coaches and Counsellors.
Start by being curious about your client’s stressors. Ask them what causes the stress and ask them to describe what happens to them under stressful situations.
Can they describe their experience? If not, you may want to encourage them to practise describing what is going on with them. Some people have a “blanket attitude”, meaning they use single words to describe big topics. For example, “I felt anxious” or “I felt stressed” are blanket statements. Blanket statements are not helpful as they generalise various feelings, events and emotions under one name. If you notice your clients using this form of language, see if you can help them go a bit deeper by asking questions like:
“You say it made you anxious; what do YOU mean by anxious in this situation?”
“How did you know it was anxiousness.”
Encouraging your clients to explain their experiences will help them start to differentiate situations and separate events. This will help them become more aware of what is happening and hopefully see that not all situations are necessarily the same even though our brain tells us they are.
Perception Level – Most people believe stress causes pain, but the truth is, it’s our relationship to stress that causes pain. Stress is only possible when we perceive our world or situation to be hostile. Therefore, after we become aware of our stressors, step two is to take action to change our relationship to stress by getting curious about how we see our stressors. Helping our client shift perceptions is a big part of what we do. Be curious:
What attitudes are holding them back?
Are they connected to something deeper than themselves?
Use The Four Levels of Transformation to take them further and connect them to a greater part of themselves. Offering resources, specific tools, and scientific facts can also help them change how they see their situation.
Habitual Level– Once our client recognises their stressors better and have started working to change how they perceive themselves and their world, the most challenging part begins: the act of repetition.
There is a reason no diets work long term or routines die fast: People get comfortable and fall back into their ways. But without repetition and creating new habits, NOTHING will change long-term.
One of the reasons Holistic Coaching & Counselling is so powerful is because we help people stay on track and focused on how they want to live, instead of focusing on what’s not working.
But remember helping someone stay on track is not the same as accountability! It’s not our job to convince or motivate our clients. Our job is to help them find the passion for bringing about change and a deeper meaning for transforming their lives.
Follow these stages and real effective change is 100% possible. Not only will working through the steps change how they deal with known stresses, but it will also build their resilience muscle so they will be able to be less affected by unforeseen future stress.
Adversity is inevitable, thriving is optional.
There’s power in resilience building through awareness, action & repetition. It takes the complicated and simplifies it into small bite-sized chunks that literally changes lives.
Tell me, what insights did you have reading this article, and how can you use this information to help your clients on a deeper level?
Love, Madelaine

PLUS – Whenever you’re ready, there are 2 ways we can work together:

  1. Sign up for one of our current courses at ASHC and get taught by my team of advisors and me. All our courses are internationally and nationally industry approved and will equip you with all the tools to open up your own professional private practice.
  2. Apply for 1 of only 3 spots as my private client. Yearly Mentorship for the Enlightened Achiever (1), Transformational Leadership Journey (2).

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