COPING WITH STRESS: SUGGESTIONS BASED on STANDARD PRACTICES

[see WebMD] for a typical overview.

WARNING LABEL:

NONE OF THESE TECHNIQUES WORK AS A ONE-OFF:

IF YOU HAVE STRESS, YOU DON’T FIX IT, YOU LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH IT

REMEMBER THAT IF YOU DEAL WITH ONE STRESS FACTOR, YOU MIGHT FIND THAT OTHERS APPEAR TO REPLACE IT—BUT DON’T FORGET YOU’VE DEALT WITH ONE, WHICH MEANS YOU CAN DEAL WITH THE OTHERS

YOU MAY ALSO FIND THAT A PARTICULAR TECHNIQUE ONLY SEEMS TO WORK FOR A WHILE—BUT BEFORE YOU DROP IT, DO SOME INTROSPECTION AND ASK YOURSELF:

IS THIS ACTUALLY NOT WORKING, OR AM I JUST TIRED OF DOING IT?

DO I HAVE ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUES THAT I’M COMFORTABLE WILL WORK?

REPLACEMENT IS DIFFERENT THAN JUST DROPPING SOMETHING OR QUITTING

DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING:

YOU WILL FREQUENTLY FIND THE MOST EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUE IS SIMPLY TO STOP NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT SUCH AS THE FOLLOWING:

#1 DON’T EAT TOO MUCH, OR DRINK TOO MANY HIGH-CAFFEINE DRINKS [think Monster/Starbucks]: Even worse, combine the two.  Both affect your ability to concentrate, caffeine directly drives up anxiety/stress levels.  Very “good” if you WANT to add to your depression levels for a bunch of reasons.

#2 PUSHING TO STAY AWAKE ON LATE NIGHTERS AND ‘GET STUFF DONE’: Especially when combined with #1, your product output will generally be poor and you’ve almost always shot the next day, unless you go back to #1.

#3 ALCOHOL-DRUGS AS ESCAPE: If you’re drinking to escape, it doesn’t work.  You’re actually adding to your self-esteem and guilt issues, and the down time will be a wash just like #2.

#4 SNAPPING AT FAMILY, FRIENDS, PETS: Good for increasing your anxiety levels—you’re not actually ‘releasing your anger’ but adding to it, especially if they react to your outburst, and you get to add to your guilt level for free.  Note how this frequently leads back to #1 and/or #3.

#5 BREAKING STUFF, GOING AGGRO: Not only are you likely to get push-back from someone is you go off on them or break stuff—which can add spectacularly to your stress—but also increase your anxiety and guilt levels.  As with #4, this frequently leads back to #1 and/or #3.

#6 SELF-CRITICISM: BEING STRESSED DOESN’T MAKE YOU A FAILURE, OR WEAK:  We’ve covered this before—our world in 2020 is built around social media that use stress to manipulate your behavior.  The last thing Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram wants is for you to be happy and content with yourself.  The more insecure, the more stressed you get, the more you go to social media, the more money they make.  And they are very good at it.  Falling victim to this is not failure—it just means you’re normal.  Harsh self-criticism serves no function except to generate more stress and guilt.

NOTE HOW ALL OF THESE WORK IN FEEDBACK CYCLES: This also means the reducing just one will have impacts in other areas that you hadn’t thought of.

 

 

TRY THE FOLLOWING:

NONE OF THESE WORK IF YOU’RE ON YOUR PHONE, CHECKING TEXT. REMEMBER WHAT I SAID BEFORE—SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR PHONE ARE VAMPIRES—THEY NEED YOU NEEDY AND STRESSED. DON’T GIVE THEM THE SATISFACTION.

Some of these are covered in the Learning Modules, but now go through and try various meditative techniques yourself. See which works the best for you. Remember that means not only which is most effective, but which you’re willing to keep up and turn into a permanent habit.

#1 MEDITATION, FORMAL EXERCISE AND DEEP BREATHING: By now these should be self-evident.  But remember to experiment and find out which set works the best (least effort) for you—sound, visual, audial, Qi Kong, Tai Chi…  And PRACTICE IT UNTIL YOU CAN KICK INTO IT WITHOUT HESITATION.  YOU HAVE TO TURN MEDITATION AND EXERCISE INTO A HABIT.

#2 GETTING OUTDOORS AND/OR EXERCISING: Especially here in Hawaii, walking is easy to do most of the year.  For a change: try walking in the rain; walking somewhere different; scheduling walks same time-same day so again it becomes a habit.  Set the phone to vibrate, and DON’T CHECK IT WHILE WALKING.  Pay attention to your surroundings-look at each house, each yard as you walk by.

#3 LET SOME EMOTIONAL ENERGY ESCAPE: Go to YouTube and watch something else to make you laugh; watch a Korean soap opera to make you cry.

#4 TALK STUFF THROUGH WITH A CLOSE FRIEND OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER: Not only will talking about it help, but frequently they will have very different insights into what’s going on, which may help you understand more about the source of your stress.  Maybe new ways of dealing with it.

#5 TALK STUFF OVER WITH YOUR PET, PET PLANT, PET ROCK, YOUR AUMAKU’A: Talking it through, even if you’re not getting an answer, will frequently give you some relief but also help you look at the situation in a different light.  Be careful doing this in public.  If you don’t have a pet, get a Hasbro Dog or Cat—that’s what they were designed for.

#6 DO SOMETHING CREATIVE—MAKE SOMETHING, BUILD SOMETHING, FIX YOUR BROKEN PADDLE AND THEN GO PADDLING AND TEST IT OUT: Doing something, completing something is really underrated as stress reduction.  Even better if you can combine with getting out and around.

#7 DO SOME TUNES: BETTER IF YOU CAN DO IT OUTSIDE–BUT LISTEN TO SOME MUSIC. Music is a very effective escape.  Use headphones if can, you want to able to lose yourself in the tunes.

#8 WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, GET SOME HELP: IF YOU’RE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH WESTERN APPROACHES, SAY A PSYCHOLOGIST/COUNSELOR, THEN SEEK OUT SOMEONE FROM A BELIEF SYSTEM YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH.  For example, if you practice martial arts, approach your shifu/master.  Ask them—they can (and will) provide you with someone who can help.  Approach someone who you respect as being grounded and centered—don’t ask for their help, but instead ask them for who THEY WOULD RECOMMEND, and then try them out.  You may not find what you want or need, but by following that path or journey you will actually be dealing with your situation.  Buddhists call this walking your unique path, which is always a process of self-discovery.

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