Life will bring all sorts of transitions and changes, both planned and unplanned. There can be a myriad of responses to this change including a sense of losing control, anxiety, worry, depression and anger. Often times therapy can help to adjust to these changes and bring back a sense of balance.
Everyone encounters stress during their lives at one point—never-ending bills, demanding schedules, work, and family responsibilities—and that can make stress seem inescapable and uncontrollable. Stress management skills are designed to help a person take control of their lifestyle, thoughts, and emotions and teach them healthy ways to cope with their problems.
Find the Cause
The first step in stress management is identifying your stressors. While this sounds fairly easy—it’s not hard to point to major changes or a lot of work piling up—chronic stress can be complicated, and most people don’t realize how their habits contribute to their stress. Maybe work piling up isn’t from the actual demands of your job, but more so from your procrastination. You have to claim responsibility for the role you play in creating your stress or you won’t be able to control it.
Strategies for Stress Management
Once you’ve found what causes your stress, focus on what you can control. Eliminate the realistic stressors and develop consistent de-stressing habits. Instead of watching TV or responding to texts in bed after work - take a walk, or read a book. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough quality sleep, will ease feelings of stress and help you relax.
Also, make a conscious effort to set aside time for yourself and for relaxation. Alone time can be whatever you need it to be. Some people like doing activities such as exercise and hobbies, but you can also treat yourself to something simple, like taking a bubble bath, listening to music, or watching a funny movie.
Finally, don’t feel like you have to solve your stress on your own. Reach out to your family and friends. Whether you need help with a problem or just need someone to listen, find a person who will be there to positively reinforce and support you. If stress becomes chronic, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a therapist.
WORK AND CAREER ISSUES
Most of us spend more time at work than at home, therefore the workplace should be an environment where we feel safe and comfortable. However, because work is where a bunch of different personalities, communication styles, and worldviews gather around, things don’t always go smoothly. In fact, workplace bullying is on the rise and though statistics vary, some studies reveal that nearly half of all American workers have been affected by this problem, either as a target or as a witness to abusive behavior against a co-worker.
Examples of common workplace issues include:
- Poor job fit
- Mental anguish
- Sexual or verbal harassment
- Low motivation and job dissatisfaction
How a Therapist Can Help
Therapy for work and career issues can help a person develop a better understanding of their wants and needs as well as approach alternative ways to handle tension while on the clock. Therapy is a neutral setting where patients can discuss their fears, worries, or stressors, and regain control of their happiness.
Psychotherapy tends to work well when addressing workplace issues because talk therapy such as this can effectively treat depression and anxiety that can stem from these conflicts. A mental health professional can also teach coping skills that will help a person manage work-related stress.
ADDICTION AND RECOVERY
An addiction is a chronic disorder in which an individual is blinded by a substance, or engages in an activity, that gives them an immense amount of pleasure but has become detrimental to their everyday life. Compulsive behaviors and addictions can temporarily provide confidence, control, validation or other emotions lacking in one’s life, but the behavior may not stop until the root of the problem is addressed.
Addiction changes the brain through the limbic system, also known as the “brain reward system.” This part of the brain is responsible for producing feelings of pleasure and will manifest thoughts such as, “I deserve this,” or “Let’s do that again.” The abuse of addictive substances and behaviors triggers this system which can prolong a continuous cycle of destructive behavior.
Common addictions include but are not limited to:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Seek Professional Assistance
People who have developed an addiction may be unaware that it is out of control, which is why counseling is an essential part of working through and managing this condition. An addiction of any sort can be exhausting and one should never go through the recovery process alone.
Many treatment plans focus on talk therapy and behavior therapy and can be performed in a group or through one-on-one sessions. During these sessions, patients analyze the reasons behind their addiction(s), what triggers are and what helped them control impulses in the past. Patients also learn coping skills so they can manage the compulsions without relapsing.
We all have moments of frustration whether they be associated with a friend, a family member, or a disagreement in your everyday life, but there are several positive strategies to utilize when it comes to dealing with conflict.
What qualifies as a conflict?
- Avoidance: This is the person who wishes to ignore the problem and will allow it to dissipate or squander. Unfortunately, quite the contrary is happening in this situation. The problem then swells under the surface until it’s no longer avoidable and will need to be addressed.
- Standing your Ground: People who use this technique may appear controlling and aggressive in their means of communication. They fear not having their needs met if they don’t set the rules and direct the conversation.
- Surrendering: Often perceived as the diplomat, the person using this tactic concedes to the needs of others. They place the needs and opinions of others on their own because preserving the relationship(s) is the ultimate goal.
- Compromise/Sacrifice: This method is a sort of concession and, while it seems to be a good route to take, it’s not the best approach. People in this category make a sequence of tradeoffs which means they are focusing on what they want as opposed to understanding the other’s viewpoint.
- Collaborate: People who practice collaboration care about win-win solutions. This simply means that they scout common aspirations and needs, to where every party knows their opinions and feeling are important and are going to be heard. This style needs a lot of cooperation, assertiveness and communication among the parties.
Ultimately, understanding your wants and needs as well as your behavior patterns will establish internal insight. You will have a better understanding for not just yourself, but for others around you and how situations may or may not unfold. This knowledge will give you the preliminary tools for conflict resolution.