Stress Takes You By Surprise
Life can seem like a series of losses at times—the loss of a spouse, the loss of a job, the loss of a brother. You may realize that you need to grieve all of your losses. But what you may not realize is that such losses can cause a lot of stress. To maintain emotional health, you must learn to deal with stress caused by traumatic life events effectively.
Surprisingly, stress can be measured quantitatively. The Holmes-Rahe Social Readjustment Scale assigns point values to the various stressors that we may encounter in our lives. The most stressful event we can experience, for example, is the death of a spouse, which ranks a 100 on the scale. Divorce (73), marital separation (65), incarceration (63), death of a close family member (63), and personal injury or illness follow (53). Even happy events, such as marriage, can cause stress.
Most of us do not track our stress levels throughout our lives. On the other hand, referring to the scale can be pretty instructive. For example, after consulting the scale, you may decide to postpone a significant decision, such as purchasing a new home, until you've successfully dealt with the stress of your divorce. Alternatively, you may decide to postpone starting a new job until you've dealt with the focus of your wedding. This self-awareness can help you reduce stress and maintain your equilibrium in the face of significant life challenges.
As a result, one of the healthiest things you can do is make a list of stressful life events and post it somewhere where your entire family can see it. That way, you'll constantly be reminded of what you're up against. This can also serve to encourage your family during a difficult time. Family members will see that the event is a normal part of life and that it affects many other families. As a result, they will put the event into context.
Another critical step is to express your feelings about a stressful event. Speak with your roommate, parents, a friend, or your pastor. If you feel as if you have no one to confide in, ask your family doctor to recommend a good therapist. Talking about your feelings is an essential part of the healing process, and it will help you deal with stress much more effectively. Another viable option is to express your emotions in writing. Keep a journal in which you can express your innermost thoughts. You might be surprised at how beneficial this can be. Use the journal to help you solve problems. Consider how you can deal with the stressor in your life effectively. It could be as simple as taking a hot bath to relax or as tricky as reorganizing your files. Such problem-solving techniques can assist you in realizing that you can overcome the challenge in your life—that your life will not end simply because you have experienced a significant setback.
You might consider taking a proactive approach now that you're aware of the stress scale. For example, if your marriage counseling isn't working, try mentally preparing yourself for the day your marriage will end. Also, if your mother is in poor health, consider what you want to do for her before she passes away. In essence, what you're doing is preparing for a disaster. While thinking about such tragedies can be upsetting, it can also help you cope with the curve balls that life throws at you.
Another essential strategy is to "go slowly." When it comes to major life decisions, especially when faced with a crisis, don't rush. Recognize that most things in life do not necessitate quick decisions. You have the luxury of time, so make the most of it. In the end, you'll be glad you took the time to think things through instead of making rash decisions. You'll be able to handle the stress of difficult situations better if you're in "calm mode."
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