Most of us feel like we are plagued with a variety of stressors at all times. To a great extent, you are both correct and not alone. Despite what you may think as you walk by strangers in the grocery store thinking, “Gee, they all look happy and fine. What am I doing wrong?” Just because people don’t have their issues tattooed on their foreheads, don’t assume they aren’t dealing with their own stressors. For most of us, life is a revolving door of stressors. It seems like just as soon as we unload a few, we pick up some more. This is reality for most people. On that note, let’s try not to plunge into depression, apathy, and hopelessness. The thing that differentiates those who are overwhelmed by their stressors and those who simply manage them, are a set of skills and coping strategies. Let discuss a few of them and see if we can get you in the right camp.
The first thing we need to be able to do is identify the source of the stressor. With this we need more than a general area such as work. We need the specifics such as I am overworked, under staffed, being harassed, in conflict with a coworker, etc. To tackle a stressor, we want to be able to get at the heart of it. When the plumber comes to your house, he doesn’t say, “Looks like your sink is leaking.” You could have figured that out on your own. You need the plumber to say, “Looks like you have a bad O-Ring that needs to be replaced.” Now you know exactly what to tackle. With each stressor that may stem from general areas such as: financial, legal, relationship, kids, medical, sexual, or mental health to name a few; it’s vital to be able to get to the specifics that are driving that stressor. With specifics, you can begin to tailor a strategy and plan to cope with it.
When it comes to strategies, our life stressors cannot all be as easily fixed as replacing that O-Ring. In many cases our goals with stressors have to be longer term solutions, learning some endurance and tolerance, reducing pressure, or increasing resources. Many of these things are not black and white, here or gone, fixed or broken. We are dealing in the shades of gray. Our mission maybe to take some dark gray clouds and reduce them over time to some lighter shades and enjoy only the slight overcast weather instead of the impending storms.
Keep in mind that every situation is unique and calls for different tools. What follows are some general techniques that may work for certain stressors and other for different ones.
- Change your reaction to the stressor: Often times our outlook and interpretation can make all the difference. Sometimes trying to see opportunity rather than catastrophe can make the stressor more bearable.
- Making room on your plate: Sometimes we can handle a new stressor more easily if we can wrap up and get rid a couple other smaller stressors we have been dealing with.
- Mountains into mole hills: initially stressors can seem daunting, but if we break them down into steps, or smaller pieces, it suddenly seems more tolerable.
- Balance stressors with self-care: Where stressors deplete us, self-care should re-charge your batteries. Take the time to rest, relax, and have fun.
- Time management: Often when we can prioritize and use our time more efficiently, we have the ability to tackle more of the stressors on our plate.
- Set limits: Many people feel obligated to help when people ask things of them. If your plate is over-flowing, it’s ok to set the boundary and not take on anything additional until you get some things wrapped up first.
- Get support: Talk with your partner, friends, family, therapist or support group. It feels good to get things off your chest, bounce ideas around, get encouragement or even some ideas on how to tackle those stressors.
- Ask for help: Some stressors can be too technical, complex, or overwhelming. Retain experts (plumber to replace that O-Ring), provide direction, or simply enlist more troops to tackle a lengthy project.
If you want to learn more techniques for managing your particular stressors, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.
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Innovative Psychological Consultants
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