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Have you ever noticed how some people don't appear as bothered by stress and worry compared to other adults? These people seem to handle stressors that would cause others to have health issues. Ever wonder why this is?
Your personality plays a significant role in the way that you cope with stress each day. Reactions to stress are partially in our nature and partly learned throughout different experiences. How much pressure can you experience before stress symptoms appear and then remain consistent every day?
Some people have better resilience or a more robust shell. They defend against stress despite having their share of stress-inducing situations. However, even the more robust people will react once the pressure of stressors becomes too overwhelming. Eventually, if not monitored, repercussions of stress appear as:
- Mental health problems, like anxiety or depression.
- Cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke.
Chronic Stress Is Dangerous
How do you reduce the pressure and alleviate the stress?
There are different methods for reducing stress. Which one works best for you depends on your personality and also the situation at hand?
Exercises like meditation and relaxation techniques relieve stress well. The caveat is that the practices are only useful if done on a regular schedule.
Also, any vigorous activities or sports strengthen resilience. Whether you choose to relax or you choose to work out, your activity and results are dependant on your personality and your general approach to life.
While this is not an official assessment, the following sets of questions narrow down your general personality type. Then you can determine how you'll combat the stress and keep your mind and body balanced.
Perfectionists frequently create their own stress by being far too hard on themselves. It helps to practice having more realistic expectations and being more forgiving of mistakes and shortcomings. If you're a perfectionist, you'll probably find that relaxation does help you. Allow yourself the time off to ensure leisurely activities, and relaxation makes their way into your routine regularly.
If you are easily bored an dislike routines, then you might seek action and stimulus. Habits bore you. You enjoy changes and start new projects easily. However, you tend to leave plans unfinished. Completing details are tedious. You thrive on risk and enjoy adventures. You have unique ideas and love change and new people. Maintaining longer-term relationships is problematic.
- Little details are time wasters to you
- You're consistently full of unique and fresh ideas
- You find it difficult to maintain a steady relationship
Does your anxiety manifest in any of these ways:
- You feel that people take advantage of you.
- Disagreements upset you.
- You worry a lot about making changes, even if they are helpful to you.
- Sometimes, you don't feel confident, but feel vulnerable.
- You apologize too much.
- You find it hard to say no.
- You have a fear of being unliked, unpopular, and so on.
More often than not, the anxious type of personality possesses poor self-esteem. You take on a job that's not demanding enough and then grow bored and frustrated. You might end up investing time to avoid something else.
Relaxation and meditation can be helpful each of these personality groups. Also, suggestions to increase self-esteem are useful.
Some even suggest that a few hypnotherapy sessions can work wonders when it comes to building up things like self-confidence and the effects can end up being completely life-changing.
“Play is a uniquely adaptive act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act; but with a special function of its own in human experience.”
Families with children with behavioral disorders...
...may not remember how to play, have fun, and spend peaceful times with each other. Rather, energy is spent in repeating relationships.
When I step in to coach this type of family, who have forgotten, the concept of joy and family time is often painfully absent. Rather, focus is shaped amidst the turmoil and enormous energy spent caring for a child with difficult behaviors.
As parents practice new skills to calm their internal landscapes as well as the environments of their homes, they must also re-learn how to have fun. A vital part of healing the family is reintroducing fun, connective activities, joy and humor into the schedule. A new module in the Coaching Families With Special Needs In Behavioral Regulation provides practical information to help coaches and parents co-create a plan for repairing relationships through family fun.
The other day, when I was in town, I witnessed a shocking event. A funeral procession was slowly making its way down Main Street.. The hearse appeared to have engine trouble at the top of the hill. Suddenly, the back doors of the hearse burst open, and the coffin flew out the back of the vehicle! A few people screamed as the coffin skidded down the street and crashed into a pharmacy at the bottom of the hill. Remarkably, it came to a stop right in front of the pharmacist’s desk. In a flash the lid popped open, and the guy inside asked the pharmacist, “Doctor, doctor! Can you give me something to stop this awful coffin?”
NOTE: What just happened in your brain and body?
Some significant processes occurred in your neurophysiology that have the power to alter not only the way you feel, but also your perception and outlook on past, present, and future situations.
How does the joke relate to self-regulation and repairing family relationships?
[ctt template="5" link="ueYc6" via="yes" ]Laughter IS the best medicine. No, really! It’s true. We had a decent laugh over the joke I just told, and each of you are still benefiting from its effects. @parent_coach[/ctt]
Laughter and humor cause the brain to release ‘feel-good’ endorphins that flood bodies and minds with well-being. Laughter causes us to breathe deeper and fills our lungs and bodies with stress busting oxygen. The wonderful combination of endorphins and oxygen culminates in a feeling of happiness.
Studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic as recently as 2013, show that laughter and smiling relieves depression, anxiety, and helps the body to produce natural painkillers. Additionally, positive self-affirming thoughts, release neuropeptides that improve our immune systems and help us fight stress. This strikes at the heart of our topic.
Neuropeptides make it easier for us to cope in difficult situations. Here are the chemical reactions we WANT to occur more regularly in the brains and bodies of disorganized and dysregulated families and children. This is just the prescription families need to coax them back to emotional balance and relationship; only, they do not know if you are a parenting coach, who arrives to model and teach this concept.
[ctt template="5" link="bza94" via="yes" ]Now, here is the challenge. How do you coach the long-suffering, overwhelmed parents to initiate a plan to have fun while they are still suffering the after effects of secondary trauma and high stress? @parent_coach[/ctt]
Here are some of the challenges you face.
- Some parents do not believe they will ever have fun or smile again.
- Others ache to smile light-heartedly and long to regain some of their previous carefree lives.
- Some parents have convinced themselves that a strict schedule where the child accounts for every minute of the day is the only sane way to keep their child on the straight and narrow; therefore, they do not have time for fun.
- Others are resentful and angry because of the extreme difficulties a behavioral child brings to the family dynamic, resulting in radical changes in lifestyle.
- Parents, brothers and sisters have learned to live compartmentalized and disjointed lives in the chaos and conflict that sometimes ensues when living with a child with disruptive behaviors.
All of these caregivers may believe the simple pleasures of life are long lost. It is likely that none of them know how to break current ingrained negative patterns of interacting and bring family together again in playful ways.
Been There Too!
Referring to my personal experience, I recall feeling old, tired, depleted, and played out. (No pun intended!) However, the words of George Bernard Shaw are appropriate here:, “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”
We know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and this is true for parents and kids alike. The ramifications of a life without the emotional glue of experiencing happiness, love and joyful interactions with those persons who mean the most to us are profoundly limiting.
So, how do we draw our hard pressed and pressured caregivers out of their old paradigms and beliefs and into the lighter side of life? Here is the four step secret formula to help families begin to have fun together, even while dark clouds linger.
- Administer fun in small measured daily doses.
- Monitor frequently for signs of heightened stress or conflict.
- Troubleshoot prevention, intervention, and exit and salvage strategies with parents should activities show signs of spiraling downward.
- Reflection of the effects on each family member is encouraged.
Emotional resilienceenables you to bounce back after difficult experiences. Fortunately, this is a skill that you can develop to get through stressful times with greater ease.
Here are some of the benefits of becoming more emotionally resilient and a few strategies for developing this very helpful skill.
The Benefits of Becoming More Emotionally Resilient
Experience greater happiness. Adversity is to be expected but you can control your emotional reaction. By putting the best face on things, you'll see the opportunities for learning and growth that come with challenging situations. A positive attitude will also help you recover from disappointments more quickly
.Make progress towards your life goals. Complications will arise throughout your life. Being flexible makes it easier to accept and surmount the obstacles that arise in your path. For example, if one scholarship fails to come through, explore other options for financing your college education.
Strengthen your relationships. People are naturally drawn to happy people. You're likely to have more harmonious relationships if you can keep up your spirits. By contrast, depression often makes others feel like withdrawing.
Boost your self-esteem. Becoming more adaptable helps you accomplish more. In turn, those accomplishments and healthy relationships make you feel more confident.
Act responsibly. Under pressure, you may feel tempted to get angry or hurt or act out. Emotional resilience helps you to keep your composure and makes you less prone to saying something that you might regret.
Cultivating a calm mind helps your immune system keep you healthy. Studies show that managing stress can even help you maintain your cognitive functions as you age.
Methods for Becoming More Emotionally Resilient
Know your purpose in life. It's a big endeavor, but discovering your purpose in life is fundamental to your ability to navigate challenges. A mission motivates you.
Set realistic goals and make specific plans. Some things are beyond your control, but smart planning can enhance your stability. Set goals you can achieve and break them down into easy steps.
Be aware of your emotions. If you can be mindful of what you're feeling, you can give yourself permission to evaluate the situation before reacting. Moreover, deep breathing provides some time to see a constructive solution before getting angry, hurt, or being irrational.
Practice patience and persistence. Make a commitment to yourself to see things through even when difficulties arise. For example, if you get declined after one job interview, transfer your energies to the next opportunity.
Slow down. Sometimes you get more done by slowing down. Lack of sleep or perpetual multi-tasking can cause stress and irritating tension. Give yourself a break to refresh your brain and your body.
Act happy. Just trying to appear happier can help you lift your mood after a setback. Treat yourself to a funny movie or call a friend who helps you laugh.
Learn to ask for help. Make it easier for your loved ones to support you. Practice asking for help in a respectful manner while being specific about what you need.
Be generous. The more you give to others, the more likely they are to reciprocate in your time of need and the better you'll feel about yourself.
Emotional resilience is a powerful asset for accomplishing more in life.
"Teenagers are known for their angst and moodiness. You really can’t blame them with all that’s going on in their lives from physical changes and peer pressure to academic expectations and the formation of relationships." Tyler Jacobison (Twitter | Linkedin
Feeling moody and grouchy once in a while is normal. Trouble begins when these feelings become more intense, persisting for weeks, months or even longer. Teen depression is an uncomfortable reality in our society and it’s up to parents to support and help their affected teens.
Situational vs. Clinical Depression
You can help your child by first identifying the difference between situational and clinical depression, their causes and treatment methods.
Situational depression (also known as adjustment disorder) occurs in the aftermath of monumental or traumatic changes in an individual’s life. In teens, situational depression can be triggered by parents’ divorce, a breakup from a romantic relationship, death of a loved one, academic struggles or even moving to a new area. Keep in mind that situational depression is temporary and things should go back to normal once the stressors are removed or your teen learns to cope with them.
In the meantime though, their symptoms are very real and are similar to those of chronic depression. They include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, worthlessness or hopelessness.
- Changes in sleeping patterns –either difficulties in falling asleep or oversleeping.
- Changes in eating patterns, loss of appetite and weight changes.
- Loss of interest in hobbies, studies and life in general.
- Persistent lethargy and fatigue.
- Difficulties concentrating, making decisions or remembering tasks.
- Self-harming or suicide attempts.
Clinical depression, on the other hand, is more severe and is thought to be caused by a complex mix of brain chemical imbalances, genetic factors and social situations. It causes major long-term depressive symptoms that are pervasive enough to interfere with your teen’s daily life.
Different Treatment Approaches
The treatment your teen requires depends on the type of depression they have.
Managing Situational Depression
● Urge your teen to continue pursuing their hobbies and other leisure activities.
● Also, encourage them to eat a nutritionally well-balanced diet and get regular exercise to stimulate the production of dopamine to boost their mood.
● Joining a support group or talking out the situation with close friends and relatives can also help.
● If all else fails, seek the help of a trained psychotherapist.
Managing Clinical Depression
● Psychotherapy is a crucial part of helping your teen deal with clinical depression. Get feedback on their progress to ensure that the therapist you engage is the right fit.
● Appropriate medication in tandem with therapy will provide the best outcome for your teen. The medication might be for short or long-term use depending on the diagnosis.
● Hospitalization in a psychiatric facility might also be necessary especially if your teen is self-harming, suicidal or showing signs of delusion or psychosis.
With proper coaching, parents can learn responsive parenting skills that will help them discern behavioral issues that may predispose their teens to depression as well as learn how to assist their children to get over rough patches in their lives.
GUEST AUTHOR: Tyler Jacobson is a proud father, husband, writer and outreach specialist with experience helping parents and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has focused on helping through honest advice and humor on: modern day parenting, struggles in school, the impact of social media, addiction, mental disorders, and issues facing teenagers now. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn