DEALING WITH STRESS

REDUCING VULNERABILITY TO STRESS
– have a medical check-up if you are concerned about your health
– pay attention to diet, sleep and exercise
– complete one task at a time rather than multi-tasking
– practice mindfulness and attention-shifting techniques

PROBLEM-SOLVING TECHNIQUES
– decide what aspects of your situation are within your control and can be changed
– break down problems into small steps that are concrete and attainable
– reduce commitments or ask for help in sharing the load
– be assertive when negotiating new commitments
– take regular breaks and reward yourself for each step forward

LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
– examine your priorities and whether you are getting satisfaction
– challenge beliefs about having little control over your life
– live according to your values rather than focusing on success

SEE ALSO
– Diathesis–Stress Model
– Understand Your Stress
– How to Deal with Stress

 

 

DEALING WITH ANGER

THINGS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO ANGER
– over-sensitivity to shame and humiliation
– ineffective communication skills
– early experiences of abuse or neglect
– drug and alcohol use

LEARNING TO THINK BEFORE YOU ACT
– use deep breathing to calm yourself down
– identify internal triggers and warning signs and take a time out
– identify external triggers and learn ways of avoiding them
– check yourself for blaming others

RESENTMENT IN CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS
– resentment involves making others responsible for one’s frustrations and disappointments
– facts are selectively chosen to to justify one’s mistakes
– resentment can become entrenched and lead to stand-offs in relationships

DEALING WITH RESENTMENT IN CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS
– learn to practice effective communication
– make an effort to validate your partner’s feelings
– acknowledge your mistakes and find ways to make amends

SEE ALSO
– How to Get Angry a Lot
– How Not to be Angry all the Time
– How to Remain Calm with People
– How We Lie to Ourselves

 


DEALING WITH RELAPSE

STAGES OF RELAPSE
– feeling stressed, anxious or sad
– entering high risk situations
– giving yourself permission for a lapse
– allowing a lapse to become a full relapse

PREVENTION OF RELAPSE
– identify your inner warning signs
– make a plan for avoiding or leaving high risk situations
– structure your free time and access to money
– practice attention-shifting and urge surfing
– check yourself for making excuses or blaming others
– build new habits to replace the addiction cycle
– check yourself for misconceptions about 12 step programs

BENEFITS OF 12 STEP PROGRAMS
– meet people with similar experiences
– see examples of the problem in others
– see examples of recovery
– get a sponsor for 1-1 help
– review your life by working the steps

FINDING A 12 STEP GROUP
– try different meetings until you find the one that is right for you
– Alcoholics Anonymous
– Narcotics Anonymous

POST-ACUTE WITHDRAWAL
– symptoms can return in waves lasting up to several days and can trigger a relapse
– learn to ride out the waves with good support and self-care

SEE ALSO:
– Ageing Out of Drugs
– How Big Pharma Is Cashing in on Addiction to Alcohol and Illicit Drugs

 

PHYSICAL HEALTH

NUTRITION
– Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
To lose weight, eating less is far more important than exercising more
– What we do and don’t know about dietary science

EXERCISE
– The mental health benefits of exercise
– Why walking helps us think
How to start running

SLEEP
– How to fall asleep
– How to wake up at the same time every day
Understanding sleep

LIVING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS
Why chronic illness and depression go hand in hand
– Why are medical mistakes our third leading cause of death?
The perils of being your own doctor


 

 

 

 

WORRY & RUMINATION

Worry and rumination are types of repetitive thinking where thinking circles around a problem without coming to solutions.  Worry is usually focused on future dangers while rumination is concerned with past mistakes or losses.  Trying to suppress unwanted thoughts may make them stronger.

UNDERSTANDING WORRY
– worry is an attempt to anticipate future problems in order to feel safe or prepared
– worry can worsen the problem through over-monitoring and searching for reassurance from others

DEALING WITH WORRY
challenge your worrying thoughts to see if they are realistic or likely to happen
– distract yourself from worry by taking action or using attention-shifting techniques

UNDERSTANDING RUMINATION
– rumination about the past can involve self-criticism or internal arguments with others
– cycles of rumination can intensify feelings of shame, guilt, and anger

DEALING WITH RUMINATION
– check yourself for whether rumination has actually helped you find answers or solve problems
– practice self-compassion and resolve not to repeat past mistakes

DEALING WITH INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS
– cycles of worry and rumination often start with intrusive thoughts
– consider intrusive thoughts as mental noise and focus on the immediate present

SEE ALSO
– Are You Confusing Rumination with Problem-Solving?
– Why Thought Suppression is Counter-Productive
Excessive Reassurance-Seeking

 

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

HOW TO LISTEN
– let the other person have their say without interruption
– paraphrase back what was said to check your understanding
– acknowledge criticism without making excuses or blaming
– learn to validate feelings

HOW TO GIVE FEEDBACK
– adjust your message to the other person’s understanding and perspective
– talk about specific behaviours rather than presumed motives or character defects
– suggest changes along with any criticism
– respect differences of opinion – you can disagree and still be close

BEING ASSERTIVE
– find the middle ground between caving in or blowing up
– talk about how you feel rather than attacking or making accusations
– ask for concrete changes rather than changes in attitudes
– repeat the message in different ways if you are not getting through

ACKNOWLEDGING MISTAKES
– acknowledge the damage done without minimizing or making excuses
– make a commitment to not repeat the mistake
– offer a plan to remedy the mistake and spell out the consequences of repeating the mistake
– start over and maintain an intention to keep improving

CONFIRMATION BIAS
– selective use of information that confirms one’s beliefs
– leads to over-generalization and polarization of opinions
– used in close relationships to blame the other person
– used in social groups to discriminate against people who are different

SEE ALSO
– Being A Good Listener
– Honest Communication
– The Challenge of Being Close
– How to Help Those We Love
– Emotional Translation