Your Internal Weather System

Jun 13, 2024 | Blogs, Mental Health

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When I’m counselling clients, I often end up talking about stress management. Whether it’s career identity, workplace conflict, or figuring out how to navigate conversations, clients are often in a  reactive state, which makes them more prone to fear responses. In other words, when our automatic nervous system kicks in, we have less access to the part of our brain that takes care of things like negotiating with others, decision making, or logical thinking.

When we learn to manage our “fight or flight” responses and learn how to tap into a “rest & digest” state, we tend to learn how and when to use more parts of our brain that allow us to find safety and emotional support in stressful moments.

I have clients who feel they are in a constant state of danger at work, not because they are actually in danger but because they have learned to navigate the world in a way that makes it harder for them to detect safety and sometimes leads them to misread other people’s cues or interpret neutral situations as negative or threatening. These responses can lead to anxiety and chronic stress. That being said, being alert to danger is often helpful and adaptive in many situations like when there is conflict going on or when your life is being threatened. The nervous system and brain are there to notify you that something is wrong so you can be protected when needed. But these are sometimes involuntary responses and that can sometimes lead to chronic discomfort.

The problem is, we often don’t know why we are triggered or how we get into these “fight or flight” states. Counselling can help people learn about their triggers and provide them with coping mechanisms when faced with certain patterns of behaviour or challenging situations.  It’s sort of like mapping out your internal weather system so you can learn to relate to your stress or anxiety in different ways.


  • Laura Cohen

    Written by Laura Cohen, a Career Counsellor and Registered Counselling Therapist at Canada Career Counselling – Halifax. Laura is experienced working with clients in numerous industries including finance, the military, business, education, non-profit, arts, IT, and healthcare. She completed her MA in Counselling Psychology at McGill University. If you’d like to connect with Laura, email [email protected] to schedule a 15-minute complimentary consultation. You may be able to use your insurance plan or extended health benefits to cover counselling and assessment fees.

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