Singer/songwriter Billy Joel got it right when he wrote his classic rock song, “Pressure.” As a few lines of the song tell us, “You’re just like everybody else…even you cannot avoid…pressure.” Whether you’re a star or a stay-at-home mom, a senior adult or a millennial, you’ve got some sort of pressure in your life: pressure to perform, to provide, to produce, to make decisions.
What do you do when the pressure’s on? How often do you attempt to relieve stress in ways that are less than healthy? Do you automatically reach for the chips when you sit down at the computer to work? There’s just something about having a snack to munch on when it’s literally crunch time. Or how about sinking your teeth into that gooey chocolate candy bar every day when you get a break? You know you shouldn’t, but it’s so comforting!
If you’ve read this far in the series on stress, you may have a strong interest in finding ways to manage your stress over the long term. The key is to find the right combination of techniques that works for you. In addition to the basics discussed in part 4, study the following collection of stress management ideas from doctors, counselors and other experts.
When Alex started smoking, his family disapproved, as he knew they would. His mother lectured him about his health, of course, but her curiosity dominated the conversation. “So why did you start?” she wanted to know. Although his apartment mate had convinced him to try it, Alex opted to keep his explanation simple. “I enjoy it,” he told his mother. “It helps me relax.”
“I only smoke occasionally,” Alex told his mother. He knew she was a health nut, and he wanted to reassure her, “Don’t worry. I’m not addicted. I can stop any time I want to.” If you read Part 1 of this series (and even if you didn’t read it), you know it makes sense to stop smoking in order to avoid damaging your body and your life. Maybe, like Alex, you planned on quitting after awhile. And yet, you haven’t stopped. Maybe you’ve tried but found it too difficult.
Recall the last time you were angry. What happened? Who or what made you angry? Were you justified in your anger? Or do you feel that perhaps you shouldn’t have gotten angry? Do you think you could have chosen not to be angry? As an emotion, anger isn’t something that you necessarily choose. After all, you can’t really control how you feel. Or can you?
Most of us have conveyed our angry emotions inappropriately at one time or another, for different reasons. A bad day, stress, depression, or other negative emotions may cause you to lash out in response to something that ordinarily wouldn’t have angered you. Now, it’s quiz time. Imagine yourself in the following situation...
When do you have anger problems? How do you tend to solve them? Expressing anger isn’t necessarily wrong. But we do need to practice dealing with it in appropriate ways, so that it serves to solve problems rather than to create new ones.
Facing someone else’s anger can add stress to your life, even if the anger isn’t always directed at you. And if you are often the target, frequent conflict creates a stormy relationship between the two of you. Regardless of the specific situation, it’s best to have a plan for dealing with another person’s anger.
We all know that money cannot make us happy, but let’s face it—it sure can make life more enjoyable! And while most of us don’t want to sound greedy or materialistic, we must admit that we tend to be a little happier when we don’t have to worry about money.