Stress Management London N10. Work related stress. Anxiety. Depression



Stress management, Muswell Hill London N10

Research commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (1) has indicated that a total of 9.8 million days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety last year. The story of a City trader who lost her bank over £4 million when she went home early one day because of stress shows its damaging effects in the work environment. Stress originates from the Latin word stringere, which means to compress or to draw tight. Lesser (2005/2010) describes stress as a situation when “your body and mind’s capabilities fall short to meet the demanding situations in your personal, professional and social life” (2) Recent medical dictionary definitions all seem to associate the word stress with disease and include both a response-based and a stimulus-based approach when providing guidance on how it should be defined (3) Others view stress as “a force that puts a psychological or physical factor beyond its range of stability, producing a strain within the individual” (4)

Stress is where people have an adverse reaction to excessive pressures or other types of demand, where these exceed the person’s ability to cope. Prolonged exposure to this may result in unhealthy physical, emotional, mental and behavioural symptoms. Put simply, stress is a response to pressure. One person’s idea of pressure may be another person’s driver. It could be argued that most of us need some pressure in order to maximise our performance or effectiveness. Some situations could be described as distress whereas others could be thought of as eustress or “good” stress. Our own perceptions are the difference between the two. There is no doubt that too much stress can drive us into physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.


Stressors are triggers that induce negative reactions that ultimately lead to stress-related physical and psychological problems and illnesses. Quick, Quick, Nelson and Hurrell (1997) describe the stressor as “the physical or psychological stimulus to which an individual responds” (5)  Common workplace stressors include high or insufficient workloads, lack of control over work activities, lack of interpersonal support, people being asked to perform tasks to which they are unsuited, weak or ineffective managers, poor physical working environments, a “blame culture” within the business where people are afraid of getting things wrong, unresolved conflicts, lack of recognition, being constantly interrupted and personality problems within the workplace.

Common symptoms of stress include tiredness and irritability,indecisiveness and poor judgment, loss of sense of humour, poor timekeeping, lack of sleep, an increase in headaches, nausea, aches and pains, inexplicable mood swings, unexplained fatigue, high blood pressure, unusual weight gain or weight loss, chronic indigestion and chest pains.

There are many established ways of dealing with stress. Most techniques will work to a degree though they tend to fall into the stop-gap category – they offer temporary relief and can be effective yet they tend not to address the underlying problems associated with stress and focus predominately on it’s symptoms and not its causes. The Institute of Directors (IoD) has for over a century been the leading professional body for business leaders. It has a 14-point Action List (6) for dealing with stress that has become the industry standard in the finance and IT service industries and is being increasingly adopted in other corporate sectors as well as Local and Central government. It asks managers to recognize physical and behavioral symptoms, identify unreasonable pressures and to remove wherever possible the causes of stress. It advises managers to create smaller more manageable and achievable tasks and to avoid taking one’s own stress out on others.


Within the list is a simple set of rules that it suggests companies adopt:

Learn to recognize the symptoms
Identify the causes
Take action to sort out the problem
Get support

Learn to relax
Ignore stress
Keep your problems to yourself
Take stress out on colleagues and friends

Manage your time inefficiently
Get overworked

The many ways we are encouraged to cope with stress include adopting a healthy lifestyle, knowing our limitations, taking time to discover what is worrying us and devising a way to change our behaviors so as to reduce the worry, avoiding any unnecessary conflicts, accepting the things that we cannot change, taking time to meet friends (they can ease work troubles, help us see things differently and inject that all too important ingredient – humour!) and to avoid alcohol and nicotine as these faulty coping mechanisms will just add to the problem, and will only increase in time.

Time Management is important when combating stress. Good time-managers are less likely to suffer from the symptoms of stress than those who adopt a chaotic approach to the working day. Time is most effectively managed when we keep a journal or log book to evaluate our progress in terms of how we are using our time. In addition, it is necessary to be aware of three important points in relation to time management (7):

Know the goals you want to achieve in your personal and professional life

Understand how your time is currently being spent

Think of ways of investing this time most effectively to
achieve your goals


psychotherapy and hypnosis:
Therapy in relation to stress management aims to reduce and control the stress response by providing information and insight into identified stressors. During the first therapeutic session, you will be given an overview of self-hypnosis. This is a highly effective way of dealing with immediate stress.

In addition, during the first session you will be asked to identify your five most prominent stressors. Together with the therapist, you will work on each one of these individually, and on a hierarchical basis, by first focusing on the least important stressor before building up to the all-important PRINCIPAL STRESSOR. Also included will be a mixture of Cognitive Restructuring (a process of changing your existing thought patterns to view certain scenarios in a different way) Creative Visualization and deep relaxation techniques.

in the meantime:
Here is a short exercise. Next time you are in a stressful situation, try to remove yourself for just a few minutes and find a place where you will not be disturbed (you are least likely to be interrupted if you are situated in a toilet cubicle, by the way!) Try the following:

Choose a focus word, an uplifting phrase or a sentence that makes you feel good about yourself

Close your eyes

Relax your muscles

Breath slowly and naturally while repeating your focus word/phrase silently as you exhale

Think of a scene or a place you have visited in the past where you have felt particularly at peace. This may be a tranquil scene from nature, a beautiful beach or river etc. Focus on this scene and imagine yourself being there.

Assume a passive state by dismissing any random thoughts that come to mind

Continue for around for around five minutes

Don’t stand immediately. Open your eyes and sit for another minute before rising


You will feel a lot less tense, and much more in control, when you walk back into the situation you have temporarily removed yourself from.

the first step:
Recognizing the need to deal with stress is the first important step towards successfully dealing with the problem. Stress is an illness that is easy to diagnose and, when utilizing some of the techniques taught during the therapeutic session,  just as easy to overcome.


1)  Stress-related and psychologicald disorders

2)  Lesser.D (2005/2010) Stressed In The City – How To Better Manage Stress London/SITS Publications pg 7

3)  Sutherland.V, Cooper.G (2000) Strategic Stress Management – An Organizational ApproachLondon/Macmillan Press Ltd pg 61

4)  Cooper.G, Cooper.R, Eaker.L (1988) Living With Stress London/Penguin Books pg 12

5)  Quick.J, Quick.JD, Nelson.D, Hurrell.J (1997) Preventative Stress Management In Organizations  Washington/American Psychological Association pg 3

6)  The Action List can be downloaded in full from the Institute of Directors web site
7)  Adapted from: Lewis.D (1995) Time and Stress Management London/Piatkus



We are mentioned in the following magazines and news agencies discussing performance anxiety and stress in the financial services industry (please click on the titles below to access articles):

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