05 Nov Control Stress By Focusing On Things You Can Control
Welcome to the first of our brand new blogs. My name is Raleigh Kincaid and I am the Marriage and Family Therapist for Family Practice Associates. I work with many people on a variety of issues from relationship enhancements to mood disorders and pretty much everything in between. I hope that you will find these writings helpful in some small ways for making your life a little more positive and healthy. Not only this, but because of the blog format, you will have a chance to comment on and ask questions about the topics that I am dealing with. As I have found in the therapy room, it is often in the context of a great dialogue that real understanding can occur.
The first topic I will address is stress. In his book Future Shock, Alvin Toffler talks about the incredible amount of stress we subject people to who experience too much change in too short a period of time. If you think about it, you must agree with me that the very character of our society is one of great change at a fast pace and thus very stressful. So unless we return to a society in which there are fewer changes occurring at a slower rate (not so likely), we had better learn how to deal better with stress. If you don’t believe me, ask your doctor what high stress can do to your body, let alone your mind and emotions.
The first thing I want you to consider is control. Stress most often occurs when something is happening over which we believe we have no control. We feel powerless and adrift against forces greater than us and sometimes that is true. But our response to this lack of control often doesn’t help. We tend to spend a lot of time fretting over, thinking about, and trying in vain to control things we cannot – like what someone else is thinking or doing or what the stock market is going to do tomorrow or any of a million other things. Then to make things real tough on ourselves, we tend to not control the one thing we actually can control and that is our own behavior. We eat too much, drink too much, exercise too little, isolate ourselves from those who care and so on. In short, if you want to experience stress differently in your life, try this. Think about positive behaviors you actually control and focus on getting the feeling of empowerment and mastery when you spend time doing those things. The out of control things may not go away but maybe, just maybe, you won’t feel quite so overwhelmed by them.