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Personal growth: Misconceptions about dealing with stress February 4, 2018

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Solving Problems.
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In our efforts to develop our potential through personal development, our approach to dealing with emotional stress might be the exact opposite of what we should be doing.

Dr. Richard Carlson observes that many of us, when faced with a stress-producing situation,actually add to our stress by trying harder and harder to solve the problem or resolve whatever circumstance is causing the stress.

But Dr. Carlson says that instead, we should be temporarily backing off:

“The more intense the feeling [of stress], the greater is the need to slow down or stop whatever we are doing, but, more importantly, what we are thinking about…when we feel stressed, we lose our psychological bearings, wisdom, and common sense…we lose sight of the big picture and often get lost in the details of our problems.” (1)

He compares coping with mental or emotional stress to dealing with the stress of a physical injury. If we sprain our ankle while jogging, for example, the last thing we would think of doing is to try to make the sprain go away by using the ankle even more.

Similarly, in dealing with our stress-inducing challenges, we should take a thought-break and do something that is not stressful and equally important, for the time being, stop trying to more and more effort towards solving the problem.

(1) Richard Carlson, Ph.D. in his book, You Can Be Happy No Matter What, New World Library, Novato, California, 1997

— Dennis Mellersh

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