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Managing Stress During Challenging Times

By Scott Stolarick, LCPC

It seems like every day there is some type of distressing news for the public to digest. In this age of technology and mass media, it is hard to escape these messages. It is important for us to identify which stories impact us the most and what we can do as individuals to deal with the massive infusion of negative data. We cannot control the distribution of “bad news” out there, and, to some extent, it is important to be informed and current on the relevant stories of our world. However, on one hand, there is the larger picture of the world and all the people and nations that encompass it, and, on the other hand, there is the more intimate world of your life and the people and events within it. Oftentimes we are faced with trying to balance the two.

Instead of biting off more than you can chew, take a realistic look at what you can control and assess the steps that need to be taken to systematically dismantle the high stressors that fall into this category. For example, you may not be able to control a boss or supervisor that treats you unfairly, but you do have complete control over how you respond to the situation. Choosing to invest in a positive framework will oftentimes dictate the actions that follow your thoughts. In the previous example, one could choose to focus on what they like about their job, rewarding co-worker relationships, the redeeming qualities of the boss/supervisor, or channel efforts toward the productive pursuit of a different job. By not doing any of these things and placing sole emphasis on engaging in power struggles, avoidance, or passive- aggressive behaviors, one only adds to their existing stress levels.

After all, nobody knows you better than you do. Based on this knowledge, you have at your disposal a whole host of ideas and information about what makes you happy. The challenge within this challenge is to recognize what items on this list represent pro-social and healthy methods of coping. Give yourself permission to pursue these objectives and allow them to establish priority positioning in your mind and in the actions you carry out. Exercising, pursuing hobbies, faith-based activity, spending quality time with friends and family, and pursuing therapy, are just some of the many examples of how individuals can invest in themselves and those closest to them.

If you were a landlord, would you let disruptive and irresponsible tenants stay in your building for extended periods of time and not pay rent? This is exactly what you are doing if you do not manage high stress situations and the space it occupies in your mind.

At Arbor Counseling Center we understand that stress comes in a variety of packages. We also understand that different people have different levels of stress tolerance. Our services and our approach can be tailored to address your specific needs, ranging from a brief intervention to more extensive counseling services. Invest in yourself and let the professionals at Arbor Counseling Center guide the way.

Some Helpful Resources to Help You Cope With Stress:
www.stressmanagementtips.com

www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm

www.stresstips.com

www.mindtools.com

www.zeromillion.com/personaldev/stress-management-tips.html