Stress management for life, sexuality and relating
So, why stress management coaching? Well, I can promise you that staying healthy, vibrant and cognitively engaged with life is possible at any age, if you make the effort to successfully reduce your stress levels. I know this based on my psychological training, my years of experience as a coach specialising in stress management, my background as a former counsellor, and from my experience and training in Strala Yoga. But, most of all, I know this because I’ve successfully made stress management and mind-body wellness a central element of my own personal life journey. Whether you are in your teens, twenties, forties, seventies or much, much older, I’m really saying that, quite literally, age is nothing other than a number! However, that’s only true if you decide to make this happen in your life. Furthermore, you can live almost the same life in your sixties, seventies and upwards as you would have wanted to live (or maybe did live) in your twenties. And crucial to bringing this about for yourself is, first and foremost, getting your stress under control. Everything else follows from this. Allied to getting your stress under control you will find it important to develop positive thinking in your life, and feed your body good quality naturally-produced food (goodbye junk "food"). You’ll also find it helpful to develop improved breathing techniques, and give your body and mind the exercise they require to retain -- or develop -- greater flexibility / ease of movement and good cardiovascular health.
It takes the right approach, and consistency to achieve this -- and it's never too early or too late to make a start on changing your life for the better. As you'll see from reading through my website, I'm passionate about stress management and emotional and bodily wellness, whether achieved through coaching for specific areas of stress, or more generally through mind-body exercise such as Strala Yoga. I love the huge improvement in life quality and mind-body wellness that can occur over time as stress levels are reduced.
What is stress management coaching?
Stress management coaching is a form of coaching designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge which you need to recognise what causes stress in your life, then manage or resolve these issues in order to achieve lower stress in your life. This also includes, of course, your sexual and other relationships, work, education, family life, etcetera. As in my case, it may be offered along with some form of optional mind-body exercise (yoga or tai chi), or it may be offered by itself. Coaches help clients identify their existing strengths and their stress-creating contexts and circumstances, then use this knowledge as the basis on which to move forward into applying stress reduction techniques to their lives. This almost always involves clients being coached into learning how to manage, or resolve, their stressful problems in a non-counselling manner. In my view, stress management, and overall mind-body wellness is the most crucial area of life served by coaching, because if a person is suffering from high levels of stress on a day-to-day basis, every single aspect of their psychological and physical health is suboptimal.
Do I coach individuals, couples, or groups?
I provide stress management coaching across all aspects of your life, whether it be personal, work-related, sexuality-related or concerning stressful areas of loving relationships. I am, therefore, happy to work with adult individuals, relationship couples, or small groups across all areas of stress management. You will find my approach caring, warm and professional, motivational, positive and relaxingly informal.
Basically, I will be pleased to work with you directly, and thoroughly, on any problems in your life whatsoever that are causing you stress and making you feel anxious. My aim is to help you discover how to get your stressful areas of life under better control, thereby avoiding, or at least minimising, the potentially dire, medical, social, sexual, relationship and emotional outcomes that stress may create for you.
Is coaching for stress management the same as counselling?
No, not at all, though a qualified and registered counsellor may do both, as I did from 2000 until 2013. Coaching for stress management is very different in most respects from counselling. People come to coaching because they’re not satisfied with one or more aspects of their lives and they want to make effective changes and achieve their goals, supported, guided and encouraged by a professional who is trained and / or sufficiently knowledgeable in that area to motivate and help them. As a coach focused on stress management, I work closely with you to identify your positive areas, your strengths (which you will certainly have, I promise you), and your wishes for where you’d like your coaching to take you to. By contrast, sadly, most counselling tends to be very focused on the perceived negatives in one’s personality. Whilst coaching deals with many of the same areas in life, sexuality, and relationships as counselling, the coaching approach is a very different and highly positive, motivational one. Coaching is also, not surprisingly, a much less formal and far more friendly, upbeat, and more emotionally comfortable process.
Unlike counselling, coaching focuses only on the present and the future -- I don't explore your past personal or family history at all, and I don't use any psychotherapeutic counselling models or approaches whatsoever. Coaching is based on taking you from where you are now, to where you wish to be, based on your personal goals that we will establish together at our first consultation.
Three important points need to be made here:
Firstly, if at any time I feel that your needs will be better met by counselling or some other intervention instead of, or concurrently with, stress management coaching, I will immediately discuss this with you and I'll help you to consult with the appropriate psychological or medical professional.
Secondly, just as in counselling, for your protection and peace of mind all of our stress management coaching together will take place with a written contract between us. This will incorporate our agreement to a strict code of professional ethics and client confidentiality, which you will have a signed and dated copy of.
Thirdly, I wish to make a point here regarding my respect for your personal physical / bodily boundaries.
As a former integrative counsellor and experienced coach, used to working in-depth with people who have suffered greatly through sexual abuse and unconsented physical / bodily boundary infringements, during coaching with me I will NEVER make physical contact with you without receiving your consent. I respect, and wish to validate completely everyone’s right to maintain their own established boundaries. I also appreciate that, in many cases, once you are touched without consent it’s already too late, since the traumatic effects of that unwanted touch cannot be undone. I understand how important this is to you, and I also understand how difficult it often is to construct your boundaries in the first place, let alone maintain them.
What happens in stress management coaching?
Once we have decided to work together, during our first conversations and meetings we will need to identify your stress areas, the places, people, situations, contexts, etc., that create stress for you, and then plan our pathway to helping you learn how to manage these, or even eradicate them from your life completely. A major parallel focus at this point will also be working closely together to identify your positive areas, your strengths, and your wishes for where you’d like your coaching to take you to.
As a coach I can help you to do this, and support and motivate you while guiding you through this process, for however long it may take. Unlike in counselling, in coaching our consultations or contacts after the first few sessions will not usually be weekly, and – depending on the complexity of our specific work together -- we may only have a few in-person meetings in total, usually being able to continue much of our work by phone and email. This means that we can work together at short notice more easily if this is necessary for you. It also means that it can save you a lot of money in the process, because a face-to-face consultation is obviously more expensive than email or phone contact.
Once we agree on your goals, our work together is all about helping you to get these stressful areas of your life under better control, thereby avoiding, or at least minimising, the life-changing, or life-threatening outcomes that stress may create for you. Just that feeling of not being sufficiently in control of aspects of your life is often enough to initiate a chronic stress response within your body.
In this process of helping you to discover how to better manage your stress, our work together may involve me in guiding you towards new ways in which you can look at your life. This will probably focus on examining your existing perceptions, and challenging unhelpful beliefs that are locking you into stress. This may also involve me in guiding you towards perceiving your life differently. We may need to work together on you re-framing unhelpful and stress-creating beliefs into a new, stress-reducing, life approach to achieve your desired goals. Inevitably, I will introduce you to new skill-sets and strategies to deal effectively with your stress area(s), giving you the feeling of being more in control of such situations and emotions. Prime amongst these will be various kinds of breathing techniques which I will almost certainly share with you. These are each scientifically shown to activate the relaxation response (Parasympathetic Nervous System), and one in particular (taken from traditional yoga and from psychological therapy) can be used virtually anywhere, anytime, for a fast-acting calming response. Other strategies / skill-sets that we may develop together for you include positivity of mindset and mindfulness. The following is a short sample list of some other strategies and skill-sets that we may work on together:
*Identifying toxic elements in your life, and then devising strategies to minimise their effect on you, or even removing them if possible
*Reassessing your priorities in life
*Improving your communication skills
*Assertion training and learning to take, or regain, control over situations in your life
*Developing your communication and partnering skills further in your sexual relating (as an individual or couple)
*Review of your decision-making and life-choices skills in life, relationships, etc.
There are, of course, many other strategies and skill-sets that we can work with, depending on what you desire from your stress management coaching with me. Even the way in which you hold your body, your posture, and your physical tenseness can initiate a severe or even chronic stress response.
In coaching, together as a team, we can begin to put whatever is necessary into your life and relating to begin the stress reduction process. From that new space in your life you’ll find that almost any desired changes can be achieved by you, and challenges in your life can be successfully dealt with. This is providing that you re-frame negative perspectives into positive ones, remaining flexible in your thinking and attitudes. Stress management coaching can help you to develop such flexibility of thought and action, and break free from unhelpful habit and conditioning that holds you locked into stressful and unhelpful life-choices.
A structure for your life is important, but rigidity of personal and occupational life patterns, and feeling eternally stuck in your relationships and sexuality, is not a structure, it's a prison into which you've either placed yourself, or, more than likely, you've allowed someone else to place you! Always doing life in the way someone else expects you to do it, rather than feeling free to develop your own patterns of living in these areas of life, leads only to high stress levels, frustration and psychological and physical illness. Reinvention of yourself, of how you do life, and learning to move with your own flow, thereby self-defining your own life-direction, is crucial. And, if you apply consistent effort to changing your life, or dealing with a challenge, such changes needn't feel like hard work! If you approach a task from a highly positive perspective, with consistency, enthusiasm and determination, then it's possible to make everything feel so much more fulfilling and carry it through with far greater ease.
Stress management coaching can help you to discover what changes you need to make to advance on this stage of your life journey to where you would like to be, and it can support you to facilitate all of this, making the necessary changes in your life, one gentle step at a time, of course.
In addition, where helpful, I also offer mindfulness training as part of my stress management options. Mindfulness training can help you in learning how to be mentally present and fully aware of the present moment, appreciating and understanding what you are currently experiencing in order that you avoid spending all of your life lost in fantasy escapes that will never become reality. Mindfulness training, when taught properly, can also be a highly effective aid to reducing stress by helping you to stay grounded and avoid focusing on your fears and anxieties. Furthermore, it's also highly effective in reducing stress and fears in sexual situations.
What areas am I qualified and experienced in working within?
All of the above are areas that I have coaching and counselling experience in, and I can offer to help you with as part of my stress management coaching service. I can also offer you relationship and sexuality coaching to help you evolve a less stressful sexual and relationship lifestyle that satisfies your emotional and sexual needs (whether it be traditional, or some form of non-monogamy, polyamory, bisexual, lesbian, gay, or queer relating, etc).
Some general coaching and mind-body wellness points to ponder on!
Life is a journey of exploration, and the quality of your life-journey is absolutely crucial to enjoying any goals that you may seek to attain along the way. Stress destroys the quality of both your psychological and physical health, thereby severely impacting the quality of your life. If there is any stress in your life that's causing you problems, then I'll be more than pleased to turn my attention to it and work with you on helping you to manage, or resolve, the necessary stress and tensions.
And, of course, ideally, a high quality life-journey requires good nutrition from wholefoods, and a proactive self-responsibility for maintaining your psychological and physical fitness through a healthy level of regular, mind and body-challenging physical exercise. In this latter area I can lead you in Strala Yoga, either as an element of your private coaching with me, or as a freestanding element complete in-and-of itself.
Finally, I also offer you the thought that it's helpful to develop and maintain a large dose of kindness and compassion for yourself (you are certainly worth it!), and to offer this to others in your life as well. And, one final stress-reducer, we all need to show respect for our fellow humans, and for the environment that we all share together.
regarding stress management coaching?
My approach with my clients is always ethical, professional, warm, empathic, caring, highly supportive and motivational, and completely confidential. And I have a sense of humour! Whether coaching you, or guiding you in Strala Yoga, I consider that the quality of our professional relationship together is the most important determinant of success. I always approach my stress management and mind-body wellness work, whether through coaching or through guiding Strala Yoga, from a strong interest in helping you to develop effective control of stress in your life. This process of taking back control of your emotional state is the key to avoiding the very serious results of letting stressful living dominate and -- over time -- erode away your personal, sexual, family and work life, while also imposing disastrous emotional and physical health outcomes on you. Please follow this link to find out about my background and qualifications.
For a more detailed look at my background, philosophy, vocational / professional qualifications, etc., please browse through my website, reading what I have written about the effects of stress, my areas of coaching, and the services I offer. Should you have any questions it will be my great pleasure to chat informally with you and answer them, either by phone, by email, or in person. Please contact me using the email form, or other contact information shown in the contact box.
I aim to keep my fees affordable, and my stress management coaching charges range from £8 to £40 per session, depending upon what work we are doing, how we are working, length of our session together, and whether I’m working with you as an individual, a couple, or as part of a small group. And, as mentioned above, shorter follow-up coaching sessions, or “top-up” motivational sessions by phone or email with me can also be an area where you can save money. So, stress management sessions may be far more affordable than you might think.