Friday, November 21, 2014

Another look at stress management

Stresses of everyday life are virtually unavoidable, whether they are job or business worries, family problems, or social stresses. People who feel themselves to be competent are generally able to cope with these stresses and make the proper adjustments, often bringing the problems to satisfactory resolutions. On the other hand, for other people normal stress situations can be overwhelming, not because the challenges are actually so enormous, but because they feel unable to cope with them.

For more information and tips about stress management please see our February 2012 blog

Today I want to give you another perspective on this important topic.
I recently learned that patience is not equivalent to delay of gratification. Delay of gratification involves a choice to wait. Patience does not always involve a choice to wait or not, patience is deciding how to wait. Instead of changing the situation, patient people change themselves to fit the situation.

As I discussed in previous blogs we, behavior analysts, work on changing the situation, not the person. Environmental variables are arranged to prevent the challenging behaviors and trigger the desired ones. So, how does this definition of patience fit here? How does it apply to parenting?
Modern life requires multitasking, which is proven to lead to high stress and frustration levels, involves a dispersion of minds: doing several things at the same time reduces your capacity to focus. Patience here could be focusing on the priority at any given time. Try to stay focused. When you are engaged in something important (taking care of your kids, for example) nothing else exists (i.e. turn your phone off). Anything not pertinent to the matter does not exist right now. If you’re playing with your kids, feeding them or dealing with a tantrum, your kids are the most important thing at the time; that should be your priority.     

Use your time successfully. You can’t add time, but you can make the most of it. 

Here are some tips:
-        Cut the things you can cut. Unclutter your life.
-        Speak about your worries with somebody else, somebody who will listen without judging.
-        Cast it away, forget about it. You worry if you think about it. If you forget, you don’t worry. Distract yourself with something else, it’s not enough to try “not to think about something”, you need to direct your mind to other matters. When you feel overwhelmed, try playing solitaire on your computer, listen to your favorite song, or read a book you like.
-        Learn to prioritize.

Take care of yourself. That’s the first step.

Daniel Adatto, BCBA


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