Guest Article by Courtney Phillips:
These days, itâ€™s hard not to notice the state of the economy.Â Whether you are directly affected by the current situation, itâ€™s hard not to let financial worries crop up from time to time.Â However, for some people these concerns can be quite bothersome and can cause much unnecessary stress and anxiety.Â Shifting oneâ€™s focus is essential when dealing with stress and strain related to money problems.Â Read on for some tips related to coping with financial pressures.
No News is Good News
Keeping up with whatâ€™s going on in the world is one thing; obsessing about the financial news all day every day is something entirely different.Â Try your best to refrain from watching the news and keeping up with breaking headlines if these things get you riled up.Â It could be very beneficial to simply watch the evening news without constantly being in the know.Â Remember, a few years ago we werenâ€™t so connectedâ€”you can do without the news for a few hours if itâ€™s only going to upset you.
Make Proper Adjustments
Financial pressures often mean that a major change in lifestyle may be just around the corner.Â Rather than looking at this like a punishment, try to look at it as an opportunity.Â Going out to eat may be one of the pleasures you still wish to enjoy, so make sure that you still do that, but less frequently.Â Reading books, magazines, and papers can be done without spending money.Â Adjust your lifestyle to fit your new budget and your worries will decrease over time.
Find Something to Do
Donâ€™t sit idly by and let bad news affect your entire being.Â Find something to do when youâ€™re feeling stressed.Â It can be as simple as going for a walk or learning to play an instrument.Â Seize these opportunities to reconnect with friends and loved ones because this is only temporary.Â Once things return to normal, you donâ€™t want to have any regrets about not spending quality time with people when you were able to do so.
When things feel like theyâ€™re spiraling out of control, take a minute to sit back and just breathe.Â This is one thing that all human beings have to do, so take a few moments to enjoy breathing life into your body.Â Slow down and focus on your breathing and feel the stress melt away.Â There is nothing like focus on breathing and letting your cares go, even if only for a minute.
I recently received a referral from an employee for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS employees often face very stressful situations, depending on their job function and can find learning skills in anger management to be extremely helpful. Homeland security is one of our nations top priorities and therefore can be an equation for stress for those that are in high demand positions. The employee who we are currently seeing for executive coaching will be taught a series of tools from our highly acclaimed client workbook “Anger Management in the Twenty-first Century”. We will focus on improving empathy and emotional intelligence, stress management, assertive communication and managing expectations. Anger management skills improve relationships and sharpen ones ability to have more positive interactions.
“One might think that cell phones would reduce stress by facilitating contacting someone in an emergency or transmitting time urgent information but a recent study suggests otherwise. A sociology professor who followed more than 1300 people found that those who regularly used cell phones or pagers “experienced an increase in psychological distress and a decrease in family satisfaction” compared to those who used these devices less often. No such effects were seen in others who regularly used e-mails.”
Learning to deal with stress is one of the eight tools that is needed for anger control.
Learning to deal with holiday stress is even more challenging because of the time crunch around the holidays and the need to deal with relatives who might not always be exactly at the top of your Christmas list.
Here are some tips to deal with holiday stress that should help you get through the season more comfortably:
1.Catch your stress early. Notice physical signs of stress such as muscle tension, voice getting louder, or behavior becoming more disorganized.
2. Make Necessary Life Changes to reduce your stress. Shop earlier. Get more family support. Take time off from work. Request more civil behavior from family members.
3. View Stressors Differently.For a stressor to cause stress in our lives, it has to be perceived as a stressor. Work on how you see things and try to see them in a different light. (Hint: this really works well with obnoxious family members: try seeing them as “limited” than than “irritating.”)
4.Stress-guard your life. Eat right. Exercise. Sleep well. Take care of yourself emotionally. Get your needs met. Have a good time.If needed use supplier of fine bed linens to get better sleep because sleep is really important.
Fully one-half of drivers who are subjected to aggressive driving behavior on the road respond with aggression of their own, thus risking a more serious confrontation.
when a driver gets the finger, is cut off or tailgated, 50% of the victims respond with horn honking, yelling, cutting-off, and obscene gestures of their own.
â€œRoad rage is a two-way street,â€ noted Ray Palermo, director of public relations for Response Insurance. â€œIt takes two people to fight. So, if you are subjected to aggressive driving, often the best way to ensure it does not get any worse is to just ignore it.â€ You can read more about this here www.firststepdetox.com
Download a free podcast on how to deal with road rage and aggressive driving by clicking here.
You may have noticed that your friends – or relatives – often try to enlist you on their side in conflicts they have with other people. Getting caught in the middle can be VERY stressful for you.
Stay neutral, if you can, in office politics, family squabbles and interpersonal bickering. It’ll save you a world of unnecessary aggravation and trouble.
Experienced therapists will remind you that when someone is trying to “recruit” you, they are often only telling you one side of the story – their side. It is often a “setup” to gain your support and sympathy.
The art of remaining empathetic while not taking sides is just that – a true art and skill that must be developed with practice. Listen, sympathize, encourage possible ways to resolve the conflict or promote communication, but avoid taking sides.
This month’s episode deals with aggressive driving and road rage. Aggressive driving not only endangers people’s lives, but puts immense stress on our relationships with others. We talk about practical ways individuals can reduce stress and calm down while on the road, as well as ways of mitigating road related disagreements.
We host Dr. Leon James from the University of Hawaii. Dr. James is an expert in the phsycology of driving behavior and now serves on the Govenor’s Impaired Driving Task Force. You can contact Dr. James online at www.drdriving.org.
Please note: This anger program and these anger tips are not meant to substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or advice. If you have intense, serious or chronic anger problems, or you have to deal with someone else who does, you should immediately consult a mental health or medical professional for help.
The costs of uncontrolled anger are high, as illustrated in the following tragic story reported in the 11Alive.com website in Atlanta:
“Atlanta police said a Fulton County woman confessed to killing her 2-year-old daughter during a fit of anger.
Investigators said 29-year-old Shandrell Banks told police that she became frustrated when her daughter, Nateyonna, would not follow directions, so she grabbed the toddler and slammed her head against a wall.
The Department of Family and Children’s Services had just given the child back to Banks.
Three DFACS supervisors have resigned and several others have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.”
In many such cases, anger management training and perhaps other interventions can help young mothers deal with the stresses of their lives- before it is too late and emotions get out of control.
This holiday season, you may find yourself in groups or gatherings that make you feel uncomfortable. Sometime you can change it without offending anyone, yet standing up for our rights or opinions. We call this “assertive communication.”
When the tone of a social gathering becomes too confrontational, negative, lewd, insensitive, prejudiced, or otherwise distasteful, you needn’t remain at the mercy of it. You can usually find a way to but speak up,so that things back move back into positive territory.
Speak your mind (in a nice way) by letting others know how you are feelings in response to what is going on. Offenders may be taken aback, but those who share your discomfort will welcome the intervention.
Too often we let situations deteriorate beyond what we find acceptable and may be hesitant to address it. But silence often only helps to condone the behavior and may create resentment and stress in you.
For a society so obsessed with when a project gets finished,we’re curiously all too casual about when to get it started.
And that can be the most critical factor of all. Which may explain why so many deadlines aren’t met. Instead of stressing over when something is due, focus on getting it underway. Set a “startline.” That is, a time before which it’s essential you get a project started, so it isn’t performed in a rushed and slapdash manner.
If you stick to your startline, it not only assures efficient, unhurried performance, it all but eliminates the need for a deadline…and the anxiety that goes with it.
Which “line” would you rather work under? Get it started. Why make yourself crazy?
Some people say they know just what to do when their jobs becoming too stressful, but others feel stuck and frustrated. There are tears and confrontations which can lead to poor productivity, abuse of sick days, stealing supplies, and irritability or depression.
Sometimes the stress and anger are due to home problems which the employee brings with them to work. In other cases, it is the work setting itself which is causing the problem. Too much workload, perceived lack of recognition or appreciation by management, and conflict with co-workers or supervisors are often involved.
For more information on tools to deal with workplace stress and anger (sometimes called “desk rage”), click here.
News item: “27-year-old Vermont resident Steven J. Lapre is claiming that he is being made an example of after being accused of running over and killing a wild turkey as he was driving to his anger management class.
He asked at his arraignment, “How many citations do they hand out for all the dead deer by the side of the road?” He also claimed he tried to avoid an entire flock crossing the road, but still managed to hit one. He faces a $500 fine if convicted.
Two witnesses came forward saying they saw Lapre speed up and swerve toward the turkeys. Lapre countered this, saying his car has a loud muffler. As he left the court he caused a stir, saying “You know how stupid this sounds?”
News item: “A 32-year-old Payson man learned that lesson the hard way Sunday. He was driving down a street in Orem (Utah) with his wife and children when he exchanged angry words with a local man. The Orem man pursued the family and tailgated their Chevy Suburban. In the heat of the moment, the Payson man stomped on the brakes. In the collision, his wife suffered neck injuries. Both men were cited for reckless driving and disorderly conduct.”
As this news story illustrates, the cost is often very high to losing one’s temper and not controlling anger on the road and elsewhere.
Costs can be calculated in financial as well as emotional and social terms. This man has to live with the fact that he injured his wife and probably traumatized his children. He also has to live with himself and perhaps his lowered self-esteem.
As we teach in our anger management classes, aggressive driving is often a “dance” with both parties participating and thus escalating each other’s anger.
Rather than “dancing,” it is better to ignore the poor driving of the other person rather than retaliating. Hostility begets more hostility, as this driver found out.
A very useful anger management tool to use in these situation is changing “self-talk” to calm oneself down. Self talk allows you to put things in perspective and think rationally rather than emotionally with medisavvy. Click here for a free article on using self-talk and other anger management tools to deal with aggressive driving.
If you have heart problems and are on a ventricular fibrillator, try to stay calm!
Boston researchers are reporting that bursts of anger may trigger potentially fatal heart rhythm disturbances. The hotter the temper, the higher the risk appears of ventricular fibrillation.
“The old conventional wisdom is that, if you know someone has a heart condition, don’t get them upset,” said Dr. Chris Simpson, medical director of the cardiac program at Kingston General Hospital in Kingston, Ont.
There have been hints before that emotional events can cause disturbances in heart rhythm and the balance between our innate “fight or flight” response, Simpson said. But this is the first “direct, solid evidence that an episode of anger can immediately precede a dangerous arrhythmia” said Simpson, a spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Learning to manage anger involves eight core tools including learning to deal with stress, and learning different “self-talk” to take the stress out of potentially stressful situations. Deep breathing, meditation, and better time management can also greatly reduce stress in many people’s lives.