Stress is a part of daily life because of inconveniences, unforeseen circumstances, differences of point of view, and many additional circumstances within or without our control. People cope with stress, in some positive, but mostly negative ways. This ability and the ability to recover is what makes us all unique. I’m sure everyone has heard of the impact of stress on your body and satisfaction in life. How many of you have compared your situation to another’s and asked questions such as “Why did this happen?” “What can I do now?” “How did they get over it?” Chances are that number is high.
We help clients understand that stress is the enemy of peace and must be used only as motivation to change an undesirable situation. An individual can view this barrier as a nonpermanent problem that can be solved, and this helps to increase motivation. Stress causes unpleasant emotions and reactions that we strive to prevent and reduce, and this increases awareness of our surrounding environments (people, places, things, ideas). Steps to identifying likely contributors include:
- Identifying and labeling your current emotion - This helps to determine if you are experiencing stress or an unfamiliar emotion, which may require a different strategy.
- Identifying preceding events - This allows the individual to identify a “trigger” or situation that has caused the stress. This will be helpful in planning to avoid, prevent, or prepare for future stressful time periods and can likely reduce overall stress.
- Identifying your beliefs about the current situation - sometimes a simple change of thought can reduce stress, i.e. looking on the bright side, rationalization of facts and events. Remind yourself that this is temporary visualize a day when the stress does not exist.
As you can probably see, stress begins in your mind and may be reduced by your mind's power. It is important to recognize the power your mind holds and access this power accordingly. There are also times when the situation can require more physical or behavioral work, and this is what I like to refer to as developing appropriate coping skills. This includes: