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MENTAL WELLNESS: MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES

Stress Management Approaches

There are three major approaches to manage stress:

  • Acceptance-based: where we accept that we have no control over the input to the stress and focus solely on the output.
  • Action-based: where we divert our focus by changing the environment, a common interrupt pattern.
  • Emotion-based: Closely related to the acceptance based approach by changing our interpretations by changing our expectations. Also includes using mind relaxing tools to induce a more positive emotional state.


Acceptance: Readjust Your Value System

If you are continually feeling stressed, it may be a good idea to take a very close look at your belief and value system. We are not suggesting that you change the values upon which you base your own behaviour, rather, adjust your expectations that others hold the same values. In this way you adjust your expectation of their behaviour and reduce the perception of the stress causing gap.

Simple Value Analysis Exercise

  1. Get out pen and paper – or use a computer.
  2. On the left side on the paper, write a list of all your personal values.
  3. Create 3 narrow columns to the right; leaving space for notes in the final column, just like the example below
  4. Rank your values from highest to lowest.
  5. Taking the top 10; look at how well you think your social population meets your personal quality score – give it a score of 1 to 5. Write this score in column 2
  6. Then score how stressed you feel when someone else fails in this value. Again, use a scale of 1-5. Write this score in Column 3.
  7. Keep going down the list and you will soon see a pattern developing.
  8. You should now have a list of values, plus two scores [1-5] next to them.
  9. Add up these two scores for each value. Write this total score in column 4.
  10. Review your analysis.

Any total score over 6 is a value is well worth considering further for an adjustment on your part. This doesn’t mean you lower your standards in respect of your own behaviour; but lower your expectation that others will meet your requirement in this area. It is amazing how releasing this change in expectation can be.

I did this with “Honesty”. One of my highest scoring values was “Justice”; with “Honesty” close behind. Since justice is largely ruled by large social mechanisms such as court systems, there was not a lot I could do to influence its shortcomings or without considerable effort. However, by no longer expecting other people to be honest – I felt an immediate release.

This was both a psychological and physical release. And since honesty and justice are closely related; my expectation of justice has reduced along with it, automatically. It really is about fooling the brain until you have the mental strength to deal with previously stressful situations.

One can rightly argue that adopting such ego-centric perspectives or attitudes is against the “decent” social fabric of society. I look at it this way. What other people do, that doesn’t threaten me directly, is really none of my business. So I let it go! This makes me much happier and less stressed; which means I have more capacity to help other people. So by taking a somewhat ego-centric attitude, I end up doing more good for others.

Try it! You will be much happier, and that means less stressed.

Next: Managing Stress Techniques - Action Based

Stress Index | Happiness | Sex | Money | Stress | Burn-Out | Affect on Health | Stress & Performance | Managing Stress | Action & Stress | Emotion & Stress | Anti-stress Nutrition | Quick Fix | Tools | Stress Response Methods | Depression | Midlife Crisis | Life Coach Series

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