Stress is a CHOICE? We often think of stress as something that just comes upon us. For those of you who read The Wonders of Stress Part 1, you know that where there is a part 1, a part 2 is sure to follow.
Part 1 described how stress can be a dread, or an opportunity. Part 2 will describe more about how stress is a CHOICE. If this all sounds like a lot of parts, and such, the following CHOICE model will hopefully break it down.
The disclaimer that I will mention, here, is that when stress is described as a choice, this is not to imply blame, rather, to utilize our choice-making abilities to be a part of the solution to the issue(s).
Choose your battles. Ask yourself how much emotional energy the issue is going to take, and then decide to what extent it is worth it, right now. Self-talk can either be a wonderful thing or negative, depending on your choice.
Hope and expect that things will work out. When we reflect on our past stressors, we will often find that the issue resolved in our having learned something about ourselves, as we experienced pressure, and that we likely grew stronger as a result.
Own what you need to…and let go of what you don’t. We need to beware of taking responsibility for things that don’t belong to us. Assertiveness can be helpful in this regard with our relationships.
Identify your options, regarding the particular issue–the more the better, in feeling less restricted. This opens up room for Hope that was mentioned earlier.
Commit to action that will address the issue. A sense of movement tends to improve our outlook. The action steps spring from your options, identified above.
Evaluate and assess the situation, as your steps create change. It’s okay not to have the ‘perfect’ action plan, so as you continue to evaluate and assess, you can choose the necessary adjustments to help you gain more power and control of your situation.
While the above isn’t THE ANSWER to any and all stresses, the CHOICE model can serve as a helpful guide to not feel stuck, or overwhelmed by them. Stay tuned for The Wonders of Stress Part 3.
Mr. David Wiley, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Miller Counseling Services. He has practiced in a variety of behavioral health settings in the Triangle area of North Carolina since 1981, including innovative approaches to substance abuse and chronic pain management, crisis intervention, as well as working with relationship issues with couples and families. Areas of interest, and expertise include: mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, substance abuse education/screening/outpatient follow-up, ADD/ADHD, relationship/premarital/marital counseling along with co-therapy, stress/pain management including biofeedback modality, life transition issues especially with college students as well as older adults, adolescent counseling.