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Understanding Emotional Stress - CBT Kenya
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  • Posted by: cbtkeadmin

Understanding Emotional Stress – CBT Kenya

Everyone experiences stress differently. If you believe emotional stress has impacted your life, never dismiss that feeling as “in your head” or something to trooper through things. When you bottle up stress, it can manifest in unhealthy ways including drinking too much, anger and damaging your overall quality of life. Emotional stress can be particularly painful and be challenging to deal with. It can take more of a toll that many other forms of stress.

Though we might strive to be happy all the time, that’s not actually how we’re built. We can’t always be happy and we’re going to have down periods and moments where we struggle. At the same time, if you’re feeling you’ve been on edge for a long time now without really feeling you’ve been able to get your head above water, then it might be time to take action.

What are the signs you’re experiencing emotional stress?

  • Do you suddenly have a short fuse where normally that isn’t a problem you struggle with? Do you find yourself blowing up for little to no reason? Then that could well be down to emotional stress. It’s like the kettle that’s close to boiling.
  • Are you obsessing about bad things or feel that you have to do a certain behavior all the time in order to feel normal? Do you feel like something bad is just over the horizon? Do you worry about your safety and have to recheck that you’ve locked and secured everything? Then you’re dealing with some serious anxiety issues.
  • Do you lack energy or do you feel tired all the time? That might not just be down to not getting enough sleep. Often emotional stress can contribute to these kinds of problems as well. So if you’re feeling too exhausted to do things that you used to love, then you might well be dealing with emotional stress.
  • If you find that you don’t feel like going out and are declining social events, then this could be a sign that you’re experiencing too many emotions and that you are going through emotional stress.
  • Do you have physical pains or problems you can’t explain through some kind of physical cause? Then it’s very possible that mental stress is responsible. Some things to look for are headaches, rumbling stomachs, diarrhea, constipation and chronic pain. Of course, this list is not exhaustive. Other problems might just as easily be caused by emotional stress.

How to Cope with Emotional Stress

  • When we feel emotional stress, it’s also often experienced as physical pain. You may feel a ‘heavy’ feeling in the chest, an unsettled feeling in the stomach, a dull headache. It’s common to try to escape these feelings, but it can actually be helpful to go deeper into the experience and use mindfulness to really notice where these emotional responses are felt physically.
  • It’s been discovered that distracting oneself from emotional pain with emotionally healthy alternatives such as a feel-good movie, fun activities with friends, or a satisfying mental challenge can lessen emotional pain and help us feel better.
  • Journaling is a great technique to try here, especially if it’s done as both an exploration of your inner emotional world and an exploration of potential solutions. Talk to your friends about the problem, if you’d like. Fully immerse yourself. And then try some healthy distractions.
  • Meditation is very helpful for dealing with a variety of stressors. It allows you to take a break from rumination by actively redirecting your thoughts, and provides practice in choosing thoughts, which can help eliminate some emotional stress in the long term.


Stress is unavoidable. Yes, you can keep your stress levels relatively low through practicing mindfulness and working out regularly, among other things. But living a completely stress-free life is, unfortunately, impossible. The key to managing stress both emotional and physical manifestations of it is recognizing your own triggers. Then identifying coping mechanisms.

Also, don’t be afraid to simply take some distance for a while. Try to take a holiday. And don’t make it one where you run around like crazy and do lots of things. Instead, find a quiet place, away from it all, and spend a bit of time reflecting on your ‘demons’. Sometimes this can already be enough to get things back under control. Even if it’s not, you might just get the insight you need to take further steps that will help you.

Final word

Are you afraid you’re experiencing emotional stress? Or is it perhaps somebody in your environment who might be going through it? Speaking to a professional is a good idea as well. These people can often give you insights that you otherwise might not have. For that reason, why not seek one out near you? You don’t have to immediately commit to seeing them for months on end. Sometimes one visit can be enough for you to gain some insights.

CBT-Kenya (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Kenya) counseling center offers counseling and therapy sessions for persons from all walks of life. We focus on helping clients gain insight into themselves by going through a healing process. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or info@cbtkenya.org.

Author: cbtkeadmin
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