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How can I manage stress more effectively?

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Despite increasing prosperity, Canadians, on average, are less happy than they were a generation ago and a significant number of people feel they have lost control of their lives.

Change is stressful, even positive change can be stressful. One of the best predictors of strain is the Life Events Scale through which you are simply asked to indicate how many of a variety of common life events you have experienced in the past year. You add them up and more events predict more stress. Change = stress.

Too much change happening too fast, too much uncertainty, and too much demand on peoples’ time and energy can leave them feeling anxious and “stressed out.”

Many physical illnesses are the result of stress and most, if not all, mental health problems are due to stress. In fact, 43% of adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress and 75 to 90% of all visits to family doctors are stress-related.

We all have some stress in our lives; some stress is good and we are built to handle it! Stress is stimulation. Stress is arousal. Arousal motivates us and moves us towards acting and coping in adaptive ways. No arousal is no good. Too little stress, uncertainty, stimulation and challenge is boring!

However, too much stress for too long leaves us feeling anxious, stressed, and “burned out.”

When we get stressed our body responds to adapt and that response in humans includes a cascade of physiological changes that are fine and adaptive in the short-run but really problematic if experienced for too long. Symptoms of long-term stress include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased metabolism
  • Decreased protein synthesis, intestinal movement (digestion), immune and allergic response systems
  • Increased cholesterol and fatty acids in blood for energy production systems
  • Localized inflammation
  • Faster blood clotting
  • Increased production of blood sugar for energy; and
  • Increased stomach acids

These physiological changes result in:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Cancer
  • Ulcers
  • Impaired immune function
  • Workplace injury
  • Sleep problems
  • Anger/irritability
  • Changes in appetite/eating
  • Muscle pain
  • Depressed mood; and
  • Anxiety

Carrying too much stress for too long can lead to serious mood and anxiety problems, including major depressive disorder. Fortunately, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been demonstrated to be very effective in helping people to manage stress better. Because stress is associated with a number of other kinds of problems, including anxiety, depression, and substance use , the first step towards effective CBT for stress management is a proper and thorough differential diagnostic assessment by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Why choose CBT Associates?

CBT Associates is a large, well-established and rapidly-growing network of clinics that provides evidence-based psychological services to children, adolescents, adults of all ages, and couples.

We are a highly-qualified group of over 50 psychologists and psychological associates who provide personalized, compassionate, respectful and discreet treatment with the highest level of... Read More

What is the policy for cancelled or missed appointments?

To help us reliably meet the needs of all our clients, we must ask you to provide 24 hours’ notice when cancelling or rescheduling an appointment. Appointments without sufficient notice will be charged the full fee.

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What is a psychologist?


  • Are registered healthcare professionals who are regulated like physicians, surgeons, and dentists.
  • Work with individuals, groups and organizations to promote positive change by assessing and treating psychological problems.
  • Are trained to assess problems accurately using psychological tests and semi-structured interviews.... Read More
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Psychologists are closely aligned with psychiatrists as both are highly-trained professionals. Psychiatrists are oriented toward pharmaceutical solutions (some illnesses in fact lend themselves to medication versus talk therapy, such as severe depression or schizophrenia); while psychologists are oriented toward talk therapy as a solution.

Psychologists and psychiatrists both undertake... Read More

What is the difference between a psychotherapist and a psychologist?

The first important difference between psychotherapists and psychologists is the number of years of education and training required to register by each college. The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario requires members to complete any recognized training program in psychotherapy, with 450 hours of direct client contact, and 100 hours of clinical supervision. In contrast, to... Read More

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