How to Cope With Work Related Stress the Viva Therapies Way
Life is full of stress even in good times. But there are ways to manage your stress so it doesn’t get the better of you.
“Stress is a constant. But though a situation may be beyond your
control, how you respond to it isn’t,” says Kathy HoganBruen, a clinical
psychologist and senior director of prevention for the National Mental
Health Association. HoganBruen says physical health and mental health go
hand-in-hand, and the steps that promote one also promote the other.
“Just generally taking care of yourself is a key,” she says. “Start with
exercise and healthy eating, and getting enough sleep. “Aerobic
exercise has been found to reduce stress and depression,” HoganBruen
adds. “And when we eat better, we feel better. A lot of people’s
self-esteem is related to their body image, so when you’re looking
better, it helps a lot of people feel better.”
Other aids to stress reduction include:
Meditation. “It can help a lot of people,” HoganBruen says.
Spirituality. “There is evidence to suggest that faith can be helpful,”
she says. “We do find that people with an active faith life report fewer
mental health problems.”
Relaxation. “Lie down with candles and soft music,” HoganBruen says. “Or
get a massage. It’s hard to be stressed when you’re getting a massage.”
The most common sources of stress are work, relationships and money,
experts say. But distant events are increasingly heightening the stress
in our lives. Eric Dlugokinski, a psychologist in Oklahoma City, says
that modern mass communication has greatly expanded the list of things
we worry about. “We’re now impacted by things that go on at the other
end of the world,” he says. “The world is our place of residence.”
Events both near and far can stir our emotions. But we shouldn’t be
frightened by our emotions, even angry ones, Dlugokinski says.
“Feelings are automatic. You don’t have a choice,” he says. “What we do
with them is what matters, not that we have them.” Dlugokinski,
professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center,
advocates a four-step approach to dealing with stressful emotions:
Try to put a word – or several words – to the emotion you’re feeling.
Just describe the feeling as best you can and you’ll feel better.
Pause. Take a deep breath. Count to 20. Give yourself a chance to think before you react automatically.
Think of ways to express the feeling that don’t hurt yourself or other
people. “I’m irritated because I feel I was treated unfairly,” for
Act. Do something that makes sense to you right now. It may not make
sense next week, and it may not make sense for someone else. But if it
makes sense for you, right now, then do it.
“People who learn to cope more effectively with their emotions can
reduce the impact of what they’re feeling,” Dlugokinski says. “People
with unresolved feelings experience a toxic effect. “They go to
alcohol, they go to drugs. They become depressed, they become phobic,
they become mentally distraught,” he adds.
Men and women – different reactions
And when it comes to dealing with stress, men and women can learn from
each other, says Amy Flowers, a psychologist in Macon, Ga. “Men and
women tend to deal with stress in different ways,” Flowers says. “Men
may tend to do something more physical: run, go to the gym, go to a
ballgame, have sex. Women tend to talk to their friends more when
they’re stressed. Women are more likely to use their support system,”
she notes. “I think the most successful people are the ones who have a
variety of options,” Flowers adds. “It’s nice to have a support system,
but it’s nice to have other outlets, too.” “When you have only one
particular coping style, that can get you in trouble when you can’t use
it or it doesn’t work,” she says.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 at 4:56 pm and is filed under Viva Therapies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.