As a mental health therapist, I often work with people who struggle with stress and burnout.
In the previous post, I describe the difference between good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress). Understanding the difference between the two is vital to promoting mental well-being. However, since most of my clients often have histories of emotional neglect, I also want to highlight the impact of trauma on both good and bad stress.
How Trauma Affects Stress Responses
It's important to remember that everyone's experience of trauma is unique, and people's responses to trauma will also vary. Below are some ways my clients find trauma increases their distress experiences. This increase in distress also makes the emotional benefits of eustress more challenging to feel. After the challenges, I also list the considerations I take in therapy with clients to account for these emotional experiences.
Heightened Reactivity: Even small things will stress you out quickly. Under a high-stress state, your body will also seek quick relief. This reactivity can also lead to feeling annoyed and angry more easily.
Trauma Cues: Certain situations, events, and locations can remind you of past trauma. As a result, you can feel past pain as if it's currently happening.
Hypervigilance and hyperarousal: You may constantly scan your environment for potential threats. This scanning increases your worry and makes it difficult to relax.
Reenactment patterns: Some individuals with trauma histories may unintentionally reenact trauma patterns. Past trauma makes trust difficult. As a result, it can be hard to trust people even when they have proven trustworthy. So, for example, you don't take support from people when you need help, even when someone offers. This reenactment keeps you in a state of distress.
How Therapy For Stress Can Help
Trauma impacts a person's overall well-being. In therapy, clients learn that due to trauma, they are in a state of distress more often and for longer. Most of their emotional energy goes into resolving the trauma. As a result, they can start to view even good stress as a threat since their bodies find it so unfamiliar.
In treatment for trauma, building safety and trust is vital to healing. I work with clients on forming boundaries for physical and emotional security. From a place of safety, clients can learn to regain trust and take in further support.
With appropriate support, clients with trauma histories can experience eustress as an opportunity for healing and growth. Eustress can provide a sense of empowerment, allowing them to engage in new experiences, build resilience, and reframe their view of themselves as they heal.
Begin Receiving Stress Relief in Peoria, IL, and Across the State
Understanding the complexity between trauma, eustress, and distress is essential for mental health. Therapists use trauma-informed approaches to provide personalized care recognizing the complexities and individual differences in people's stress responses. Through these approaches, therapy can help individuals identify and manage their unique stress responses, develop healthy coping strategies, and create a safe healing space. If you are ready to take the next step in finding relief from distress and trauma, I would be happy to offer support. You can start your therapy journey with Live Lekko by following these simple steps:
- Take the first step by calling or texting 217-402-7817
- Schedule your first appointment at my Illinois-based practice
- Start coping with healthy and unhealthy stress
Other Services Offered with Live Lekko
Therapy for stress isn't the only mental health service I offer. I offer a variety of services to provide you with mental health support. Other services include counseling for women and grief and loss counseling. I also offer counseling for people-pleasing and therapy for childhood emotional neglect. Whether you are in Peoria, Springfield, Mahomet, or somewhere in between in Illinois I can help with teletherapy. Feel free to visit my blog for more helpful information.