A Stress Reduction Strategy That Works
We addressed the possible fatal repercussions of stress last month in our newsletter. Of course, we've all heard of the many coping skills that may help with eliminating stress, but everyone responds differently to each skill. We each have to find the ones that work best for us that we can add to our daily armoire of "living our best life". This month I would like to share with you 3 helpful steps that have become a stress reduction strategy that I promote using that may reduce stressful situations and environments in your future life experiences.
Ask yourself 1) Is this stressful to me?
Stress is defined differently by each person and based on the amount of supports that you have present at the time you experience your stressor. A basic definition of stress is the physical reaction of your body to negative and positive demands or threats. This is very subjective overall and anyone is capable of experiencing stress. However what is stressful for you is not necessarily stressful for the next person. What is stressful for your relatives is not always stressful for you. So identifying your own personal stressors is necessary because there are many times that other people define stress for you causing undue overwhelm, anxiety, and other negative body responses.
Figure out 2) Do I have the ability on my own to change this stressor or its associated aftereffects independently without external supports?
The answer to this particular question is important because it determines locus of control and takes into consideration the very commonly used Serenity Prayer - "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." This brings back memories of college Psychology courses that were required for my degree when locus of control was first introduced to me. I remember then realizing the profound impact knowledge of this information could have on so many others' lives. There is internal locus of control, which a person usually believes that they personally, their higher power belief system, or something that they have done causes specific results in life. External locus of control is the exact opposite that focuses on the belief system that outside things, such as fate, luck, or other people dictate your life experiences. Basically when you take ownership of things that occur in your life, whether they are good or bad, you have more ability to make changes and accept the positive or negative results. Once this question is answered, it can put everything into context for you. If the stressor is my employer is treating me differently than the other employees and I am not the employer, the answer is No. I must rely on the Human Resources process or employer to achieve the change that I would like to see in the future. If my stressor is that my husband is not helping with the financial responsibilities of the household creating overwhelm, the answer again is No because my husband is the only one that can make changes to his financial contributions unless our finances are shared.
Last, but not least, 3) Create a plan to reduce the identified stressor.
Now that you have figured out your capacity to make changes to reduce your stressor (s), you can easily create a plan that might be helpful overall. In the example used above, the employee might then read their employer's discrimination policy then follow the necessary steps that will allow the employee to gain the fair treatment that he/she desires. If this does not work, the employee might engage in requesting assistance from external supports, such as the EEOC, attorneys, and HR Specialists. If my stressor is that my vehicle needs repair work, but I am not a mechanic - my plan might include contacting a local mechanic that can complete the work needed to the vehicle and paying for it when complete. I know it seems simple when we break it down like this, but in reality it is not that simple in life. These are those same stressors that can have fatal results and cause anxiety & overwhelm as well as depression when experienced consistently over time. This is how All About You Counseling Services can help you - call us when you are dealing with too many stressors at once and you feel life is weighing you down.