Reducing The Stress In Your Life Personal Realistic Solutions

Reducing The Stress In Your Life Personal Realistic Solutions



Stress,​ like the​ weather,​ is​ ever present in​ our lives. While unavoidable,​ we can make it​ more manageable,​ just as​ we can dress appropriately to​ suit weather conditions. Stress,​ defined as​ our reactions to​ external situations or​ internal psychological states,​ affects our physical health and emotional well-being. Despite all the​ advice that has been written about stress,​ why are so many of​ us overwhelmed by it?

One reason is​ that we find it​ difficult to​ accept that living itself causes various forms of​ stress,​ making it​ impossible to​ eliminate. Nor is​ all stress bad. the​ satisfying excitement of​ achievements and happy events in​ our lives result in​ a​ stress that we welcome. But it​ is​ realistic to​ avoid--or at​ least reduce--the harmful forms of​ psychological stress (e.g.,​ worries,​ anxieties,​ fears,​ irritability and depression) and the​ damaging physiological reactions (e.g.,​ increased heart rate,​ elevated blood pressure,​ muscular tensions,​ and an​ impaired immune system). Stress may also cause us to​ behave destructively.

Let me say that in​ coping with stress,​ we should avoid ineffective or​ self-defeating techniques,​ including overindulgence in​ alcohol,​ smoking and the​ use of​ illegal drugs. These temporary methods not only fail to​ relieve stress but cause more damage--physically,​ emotionally,​ relationship and job- wise. Users become addicted to​ them and all too often spiral out of​ control.

Another approach to​ controlling stress is​ the​ use of​ psychotropic drugs prescribed by physicians. But as​ a​ psychologist,​ I use behavioral and other psychotherapeutic techniques. With most people,​ these treatments are effective. But they involve the​ persons participating in​ their own recovery. However,​ if​ the​ person's stress is​ severe,​ medical consultation could be indicated. Knowledgeable physicians will treat their patients with an​ effective drug that has the​ fewest side effects and will follow up on​ the​ patient's progress. They will also reduce or​ eliminate the​ medication when the​ stress is​ manageable. the​ patient should not hesitate to​ question the​ psychiatrist about the​ medications and their effects. Often,​ psychotherapy may be indicated to​ make more effective and lasting progress.

Physical causes for stresses should not be overlooked. a​ good physical work-up may be necessary to​ find out if​ medical treatment is​ indicated. Sometimes,​ medications themselves can cause stress reactions. in​ considering the​ cause of​ stress,​ we may need to​ play detective.
Let us keep in​ mind that people differ in​ their coping styles. Even with the​ loss of​ a​ loved one,​ a​ relationship breakup,​ losing one's job or​ a​ serious financial setback,​ some people are more resilient. Others recover more slowly or​ are even stymied in​ moving on​ with their lives. Those whose suffering is​ severe or​ lengthy should not avoid seeking professional help. as​ a​ consumer advocate,​ I would suggest that the​ person consider the​ various treatment options and consider the​ pros and cons of​ each.

Strange as​ it​ may sound,​ stress can be helpful! Like pain,​ it​ can motivate us to​ make changes in​ our lives or​ to​ obtain the​ necessary treatment that can not only reduce stress,​ but also improve our lives. I can give two examples in​ my own life. One concerned a​ job that was damaging my physical health and psychological well-being. Those stresses made me quit the​ job,​ return to​ school and change my career. a​ second was an​ overwhelming workload and a​ weight gain that were taking a​ physical and emotional toll on​ my health. I switched to​ a​ nutritious eating pattern and started practicing meditation techniques; both improved my physical and psychological health. I must admit that I had the​ same difficulties as​ my patients in​ overcoming these self-destructive patterns. While we are creatures of​ habit,​ we can be motivated to​ change if​ we strive for health,​ longevity and greater happiness.

Having used myself as​ a​ case study let me give an​ example from my psychotherapy practice. a​ patient worked for two years without a​ pay raise. Finally,​ he was encouraged to​ approach his supervisor. He discovered that the​ supervisor was unaware of​ the​ situation and promptly got the​ patient his raise. This problem arose because of​ a​ personnel glitch and the​ patient's not speaking up sooner. He had underestimated how valued a​ worker he was. His insecurities contributed to​ the​ problem! as​ a​ result off this experience,​ he was also able to​ consider other situations in​ his life that he could confront.

But let's be realistic. Another supervisor could have acted differently and defensively. if​ he had,​ my patient could have considered all possible options,​ such as​ appealing to​ a​ director,​ looking for another job or​ biding his time if​ he was not ready to​ quit. While not wanting to​ unnecessarily prolong our suffering,​ we should avoid acting impulsively. it​ is​ best to​ carefully consider our options,​ including a​ change in​ the​ situation. For several of​ my patients the​ difficult supervisor was transferred or​ quit. Since we are each unique,​ there are no boilerplate solutions. Know thyself is​ a​ good maxim. One person may find it​ better to​ quit,​ another to​ bide his time. But each should consider the​ consequences of​ each choice.

Let me now mention couple relationships which offer not only many satisfactions but,​ as​ we all know,​ stresses as​ well. While we realize "talking it​ over" is​ helpful,​ all too often,​ each person goes into the​ defensive or​ critical mode. Criticizing and complaining are counter-productive,​ escalate the​ conflict and make a​ bad situation worse. Communication,​ while highly desirable,​ has to​ be constructive All too often we ignore the​ basic ground rules of​ effective communication. They include: a​ calm situation where both are willing to​ spend the​ necessary time to​ listen as​ well as​ talk. Rather than criticizing,​ or​ complaining and defensively not admitting to​ any fault,​ just listen. Don't neglect to​ say what you​ like about the​ other person and the​ positive aspects of​ the​ relationship. if​ neither existed,​ why would you​ want to​ remain in​ such a​ relationship? Present the​ difficulties in​ perspective. I can't go into all of​ the​ effective communication techniques that help resolve conflicts,​ but be assured there are many. if​ such discussions don't help,​ consider other alternatives,​ including couple counseling. if​ your partner is​ unwilling to​ go,​ consider going yourself to​ get help as​ to​ what to​ do. Often,​ the​ partner who's unwilling to​ come may change his or​ her mind. With a​ skilled therapist,​ couple counseling will help both persons realize what each is​ doing to​ contribute to​ the​ problems and what each can do to​ improve the​ situation.

One recent example is​ the​ couple that came to​ me,​ the​ wife saying,​ "He threw me out!" while the​ husband said,​ "She left and wouldn't return." it​ soon became clear that after a​ heated argument,​ he told her,​ "If you're unhappy,​ you​ can leave." After she left,​ she refused to​ return. By the​ way,​ anger,​ a​ stress itself,​ interferes with listening and thinking. the​ couple,​ after several sessions,​ realized that their intentions were not to​ end the​ relationship but rather that their words were expressing anger and frustration. They decided to​ again live together and in​ counseling learned to​ discuss and resolve their conflicts more rationally. if​ all efforts fail to​ resolve differences,​ couples may consider divorce to​ end a​ futile situation. Hopefully,​ each can learn from the​ experience and move on​ with their lives. if​ there are children,​ the​ couple should avoid involving them in​ their conflict and reduce as​ much as​ possible the​ damaging effects on​ them.

Let me summarize my approach,​ which is​ appreciably condensed in​ this brief article. First,​ realize stress is​ an​ inescapable aspect of​ living and may even prod us into improving our lives. Two,​ consider the​ causes of​ the​ stress (don't leave yourself out!) and the​ options for reducing or​ eliminating it. Three,​ realize that many stressful situations have developed over time and may be complicated. So don't expect instant solutions. Consider solutions a​ process in​ which we may be stymied,​ enter blind alleys,​ make blunders,​ but always consider the​ ways to​ recover and better resolve the​ situation. Four,​ realize that reactions to​ stress are not limited to​ fight or​ flight. Our human species has the​ capabilities for considering constructive options if​ we are motivated,​ realistic,​ persistent,​ flexible and are open to​ getting professional help. And lastly,​ realize that a​ realistically optimistic attitude can be maintained or​ learned if​ necessary to​ help us effectively handle the​ stresses in​ our lives and live more happily.




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