If you have been a regular reader of our blogs, you know that I have written a variety of articles about stress. Not only is this an area of treatment where I specialize, it is also one of the leading concerns that prompt visits to doctors, emergency departments, and therapists.
The term ‘stress’ can be synonymous with; ‘anxiety, distress, worry, overwhelmed, pressured, and tense’ among others.
There is even a southern rock group that has been around forever, called ‘Widespread Panic,’ something that many people may be experiencing on any given day.
What might we be avoiding, due to the anticipation, of, ‘whatever?’ How much energy do we put into our anxiety, going through and rehearsing all of the possible scenarios? Is it an energy robber, or an energy booster? Does it make us feel better, or worse, to do so?
How do we respond to anxiety/stress?
- Freeze (‘stop’)
All of these responses are avoidant, taking one away from the perceived threat.
- “What does ___________________ represent?” As we are able to identify this, we are more able to identify our options/responses. This is basically naming our “threat.”
- “What, then is my coping/action response?” At this point, something that can be a helpful guide is the age old Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~Reinhold Niebuhr
This approach to our anxiety is one that can be reasonably effective, in the larger part of the bell shaped curve. There, of course are low levels of anxiety/stress that we can pass on through, relatively unaffected, while there also higher levels of anxiety that will need more of a combination of approaches. The above suggestions, however, should provide a helpful approach to gain some sense of power or control in the situation — a must when it comes to stress.
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ― Corrie ten Boom
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.