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Dealing With Stress and Crisis

By Virginia Duffy

Lets face it, as much as we would like to, we can’t always avoid stress. Many times we are told to “reduce the stress in your life“; this is so much easier said then done! However, some factors have been identified that can help us deal with the inevitable stressors of live and protect against developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a Crisis. Research has shown that theses factors will help in making you more stress resistant.

Getting lots of physical exercise

Everyone knows that getting exercise is good for stress reduction. Despite that, it is still very hard to do for some. This has always been a tough one for me because “I hate to exercise“. What has helped me is to NOT think of it as exercise and do it in small increments. Remember these can be as small as 5-10 minutes. Try to make it fun, and the more you can build it into your regular activities the more likely you are to keep it up. If you can force yourself to do something for 30 days in a row, it is said to become a habit, and easier to maintain.

· Use the stairs

· Walk whenever you can

· Shop in the mall and walk to both ends

· Play with kids (this is great)

· Dance

· Get a hobby or volunteer where you actually move.

· Just keep moving even playing the Wi ® will help.

Using active coping skills

People who deal with problems by trying to solve them, help themselves, find solutions, and take charge are using active coping. Those who avoid problems, just wait it out, or look to others for answers and solutions do not fare as well. So do your best to tackle problems head on.

Dealing With Stress and Crisis

Remaining positive in your outlook

Keep a positive attitude. It is important to understand that this does not mean that you should bury your head in the sand and try to tell yourself everything will work out. Rather it is important to try to decrease negative thoughts and unnecessary pessimism. When you find yourself having such thoughts you must say, “stop” and force yourself to recognize other more positive possible outcomes.

When I find myself angry at the world due to contact with some despicable person, I remind myself about all the good people in the world. Stay away from the nay Sayers and those who are too narcissistic to think of anyone else but themselves.

Identifying and living your basic values and principles

We all need basic principles and beliefs to live by. Take the time to think about your own basic beliefs about the bigger questions such as why are we here? What is the purpose and meaning in life? Persons who have these basics as a cornerstone are more able to deal with stressful events. It is important that your life and behavior reflect these principles.

Getting a little help from your friends

The amount of contact with others we need may fluctuate according to individual personalities. Some people seem to have difficulty being alone at all, while others enjoy lots of solitude. It is important to know what works best for you and try to make it happen. Family ties can be helpful but they may also be a source of conflict and stress. Friends can be chosen. Look for friends with similar beliefs, ideas and values.

Being open and flexible about your thinking and behavior

The trick in learning to be flexible is knowing when you are being rigid. Hints that you are being rigid are: when hear your self saying the same old things, you react speak your opinion without thinking, and you cannot hear others point of view. Remember you do not have to change your ideas or opinions, you just need to be able to fairly consider other’s point of view.

There are many things we are not able to control in life, and we cannot totally avoid stress and crisis. We do however have the ability to make ourselves more stress resistant. We can become more able to deal with that stress and move past it with a little self-awareness and planning.

Virginia J. Duffy Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Mental Health First Aid in Crises and Emergencies  

Reference: Haglund, Cooper, Southwich, Charney. 6 Keys to resilience for PTSD and everyday stress. Current Psychiatry, April 2007

Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Jul 15, 2008
    • Excellent article and things we all can do. I practice affirmation a lot, too. Literally visualizing things as they are once the solutions are applied. My novel is based on these positive premises. It was great to read another viewpoint regarding them.

      Susan Haley

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