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
– give yourself time for rest, socializing and pleasurable activities
– 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

 

WORRY & RUMINATION

Worry and rumination are forms of repetitive thinking where the mind circles around a problem without coming up with solutions.  Worry is usually focused on future dangers while rumination is concerned with past mistakes or losses.

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 needing reassurance

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