Reducing Stress

Reducing Stress

We've all felt overwhelmed at one time or another. This can last a day, week, month or a year. That feeling of being overwhelmed, just doesn't go away. For whatever reason, going to work or just getting through the day can feel really hard.

Maybe, there is an environment stressor, or you are struggling with anxiety or depression. Maybe, you've had your heard broken or have gone through a life-threatening illness. There are many different reasons as to why you are feeling overwhelmed. Or, maybe there isn't a cause, you just can't shake the feeling.

Whatever the case may be, I want you to know that you are OK. This doesn't make you less lovable, capable or worthy. This means you're human. You don't have to be perfect. When you put that expectation on yourself, you will never reach it. And, it causes unnecessary stress. Here are five tips that can help get you through this difficult time:

  1. Say no to extra obligations. The first step is telling yourself it's alright to say no. It's alright to let others down. When you always say yes, you add a lot of stress to your life. It's also easy to not feel appreciated, when you are always saying yes. Start saying no today. It's doesn't matter if your house is messy or you take a nap.
  2. Watch a comedy.…

Read more: 5 Tips That Will Help You When The World Feels Overwhelming

Why Gratitude Is The Key To Getting What You Want In Life

Maybe you weren't expecting this but I'm going to talk about depression in this article. Depression affects many people. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 19 million Americans suffer from it. At some point in their life, 10%-25% of women will become depressed and 5%-12% of men will become depressed. Depression isn't fun and it can be debilitating. Here are five signs that you are depressed:

  1. You laugh and cry at times that don't call for it. In psychology this is also known as "inappropriate affect." This is when you over-react to insignificant sadness, and ignore major league bad news. Laughing when you lose your job is a good example of this.
  2. You have trouble accepting praise or goodwill. Martin Seligman, the psychologist that changed our thinking about depression. He studied the behavior of dogs that were given electrical shock. Eventually the dogs would just lie there. They wouldn't even respond to tugs on their leashes that could lead them to safety. The human paradigm, when you find yourself ignoring or discounting compliments, chances are you're depressed.
  3. You feel nothing. Many people choose to ignore that they feel sad. It's easy to get stuck in neutral when you ignore your feelings. This can create a zombie-like approach, which creates anxiety in those around you and alienates those that care for you.
  4. Conflicts quickly…

Read more: Why Gratitude Is The Key To Getting What You Want In Life

Can The Four Horsemen Affect Workplace Relationships, Too?

The answer is yes. Let's review what The Four Horsemen are: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling. They are the four biggest predictors of divorce. This is based from The Gottmans research. They have done over four decades of research in working with couples. They have found that there is overlap into the workplace. They have also found that when couples stop using The Four Horsemen in their relationship and change how they communicate with one another, they will change how they communicate with people outside the relationship. Not only will they see their relationship change, they will see other relationships in their life change. Here are the antidotes to The Four Horsemen:

  1. Complain without blame. This means start the conversation gently. The Gottmans have found in their research that the way you start a conversation predicts how you will end a conversation. This also sets the tone for the conversation when the topic comes up again. This is a great time to use "I" statements: 'I feel left out, I'd like to talk about my day, as well." Instead of, 'You never listen to me.'
  2. Take responsibility for your behavior. Defensiveness is defined as self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victimhood to ward of a perceived attack. It's easy to feel defensive when you have been criticized. The problem is,…

Read more: Can The Four Horsemen Affect Workplace Relationships, Too?

How To Conquer Your Inner Dragon
"Always speak politely to an 
enraged dragon." Steven Brust

As a therapist, I hear it all the time. 'I just can't do this, or I'm just not good enough, etc.' It's easy to put yourself down. We all have an inner dialogue, it's natural. Unfortunately, many people use it to beat themselves up. This can really bring you down. It's true, we are what we think. Your thoughts will affect how you feel. Here are five tips to help conquer your inner dragon:

  1. Learn to relax. This is a great way to make your inner dragon go away. Take a yoga class or a meditation class. You can all listen to meditation on your iPod. Take a five- minute break during the day to clear your mind and do some deep breathing.
  2. Have a change of scenery. This sounds simple and it is. Go for a drive on a country road or visit a nearby town. Take a trip to the beach or a nearby lake. This will help mix things up and you won't feel overwhelmed in your own environment.
  3. Avoid negative people. When you're depressed it's not that uncommon to attract negative people into your life. Negative people can drag you further down. You want to be around positive people who will help build you up. This will help decrease depression and…

Read more: How To Conquer Your Inner Dragon

5 Ways To Eliminate Stress AT Work


In today's society, we are faced with many stresses at the work place. Will the company that you're working at down size? There are many interruptions, which makes it difficult to focus. If you work in a cube, you may be tired of hearing the person next to you argue with their spouse on the phone. Sleep deprivation is at it's worst. 40% of adults say they lie awake at night worrying about work. Here are five tips to help eliminate stress at work:

  1. Take a deep breath. Sounds simple and it is. When people are stressed they either hold their breath or start breathing rapidly. Take a minute to notice which one you are. Take a five minute break and breath. Inhale to the count of five and exhale to the count of five. Deep breathing with restore balance and help you focus.
  2. Eat right and sleep well. Unhealthy foods will stress your system. Try not to eat a lot of sugar or processed foods. Make sure to eat a lot of protein and drink a lot of water. Sleep is important it is how you restore your body. If you have racing thoughts and can't fall asleep. Try to clear your mind and let the thoughts float away. Also, try to remember what you are thankful for rather that what you need…

Read more: 5 Ways To Eliminate Stress AT Work

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Lianne Avila, MFT
1510 Fashion Island Blvd.
Suite 110
San Mateo, CA 94404

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