There are loads of great resources on the internet telling you what you need to do to reduce and manage the stress in your life. A quick Google search with the search term “Stress Management” produced a wealth sites, suggestions and ideas such as the following:
- Identify the sources of stress in your life
- Learn healthier ways to cope with stress
- Get moving
- Connect to others
- Practice the 4 A’s
- Make time for fun and relaxation
- Maintain balance with a healthy lifestyle
This source is fantastic, which is why I am using it as an example. Great ideas, it hits the stress management highlights very well and if you know the “how” part of the suggestions then you are off and running! Please take a moment to check it out.
If you are still wondering,
“What are the healthier ways of coping?!?”
Often people can feel very isolated when they are stressed out and find themselves a wee bit sick of the advice. They may think “I have no idea how to even start managing my stress” or they may feel that they are the only one who has not figured it out.
In the academic year, this is when stress ramps up wildly for students. Ah October, the month of papers, assignments, presentations and tests. What I would like to focus on today is the HOW part of finding healthier ways of coping.
The HOW part can help us to create the much needed “Stress Free Zones” in our life. It is important to create moments in our lives where we actively work toward giving our brain a break so that it works better. If you are not convinced, please check the following article in Scientific American, “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime“. See! Science says so!
The psychotherapeutic intervention called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) designed by the wonderful psychologist, Dr. Marsha Lineman, teaches us how to regulate our emotions. This is the underlying premise to any stress management strategy, managing the emotions that lead to stress. Today, I want to share some pretty great resources for two areas of DBT that will help you with the HOW of managing stress: Distress Tolerance and Emotion Regulation. Armed with these two skill set areas, you can start to build stress free zones in your life.
Distress Tolerance: learning how to expand our ability to “cope with”, “live with” and not be sidelined by emotional experiences. Distress tolerance skills address the tendency of some individuals to experience negative emotions as overwhelming and unbearable. People with a low tolerance for distress can become overwhelmed at relatively mild levels of stress, and may react with negative behaviors.
*Check out this resource to get started! Distress Tolerance Skills
Emotion Regulation: learning how to manage negative and overwhelming emotions while increasing positive experiences. This involves the following three goals: learning to understand one’s emotions, learning to reduce emotional vulnerability and decreasing emotional suffering.
*Check out this resource to get started! Emotion Regulation Skills
…except create a stress free zone in my life…
Creating a stress free zone can be a moment, a day or a week. No matter how long it is, know that it is the only way to give your brain a break so that you will think better, learn better and feel better. Yes, it is hard, but again, so worth it!
Dr. Heather Drummond, C.Psych.
Psychologist * Passionate Advocate for Flourishing * Human Muddling Through