Thursday, February 3, 2011

Are the skills you use to cope with stress really effective or do they cause more stress overall then they relieve?

Today's funny video;
Nintendo Wii Rejected Game Concepts

Video complimentary video to the post;
Healthy Coping skills
(This is pretty short and it is originally ment for people overcoming alcoholism but keep in the mind the same information can pertain to anybody as the person in the video has stated)

So I been working with my cognitive behavioral therapy program for anxiety and depression for the last well probabbly 15 weeks now and its been an up and down rollercoaster for me. I have been doing the program on and off for 6 years now and i'm work on my 7th and in the lesson i'm in now its about resisting change. There are so many reasons why we resist change...maybe people won't like us anymore if we change, what-if more demands are put on us and we can't handle them? What-if the change doesn't last? What-if I fail? And many others. One thing in the program they talk about is that there is something called secondary gains, we actually get something out of staying stuck. Perhaps we get attention from staying stuck or we don't have to make any decisions or take responsibility for things for instance. Maybe we can get out of doing things we really don't want to do. This can be a subconscious thing and we might not even realize these things and what this can do is actually sabottage the efforts me make to overcoming the condition. See even though the anxiety and depression can cause alot of suffering, its familiar and change is not familiar and that can bring on alot of anxiety itself which could keep us stuck.

Anyways so I was working on motivating myself to use the new coping skills I got from the program instead of the old coping skills. One thing that tends to happen is we filter things out and tell ourselves its not that bad. This is something I noticed within myself as I was changing my motivation and my behavior with the coping skills. My old coping skills were; Run away from problems, Distract myself with videogames and music, stay up really late at night, constantly do 1 task for hours and hours on end. So I mustered up the courage and looked at all the areas of my life it was affecting, how it has already affected me in the past and how it will affect me in the future and I must say it was really painful! But to feel some pain now to avoid pain in the future is a great deal! These coping skills weren't even effective either. How do you know if your coping skills for stress are effective or not?

Well ask yourself these questions;
How do I feel when I am using my coping skills? Do I feel more relaxed?
Will my coping skills have positive long term effects or negative long term effects?
Do my coping skills help keep me from worry or do they make me worry more?
How does my coping skills affect my health?
Do my coping skills support me in achieving my goals or hinder me?
Overall am I more calm or more irritable?
Do I feel better about myself when I use my coping skills?
Is my mind filled with thoughts of things I need to take care of when i'm trying to do something fun?

Personally my old coping skills have made me feel like crap, they made me feel very worthless and ashamed. They make me afraid to go after my goals and I have gotten physically sick alot. When I have to get something done I get overwhelmed and feel very anxious and stressed and then I become very drainned and I can't focus very well. I get bewildered, panicky, dizzy and short of breath. My old coping skills are not effective and cause me more suffering and stress then they take it away.

The main skills I learned from the program I am planning to use instead are;
Calming myself down when I get stressed with slow breathing and self-talk techniques
Practicing Meditation, either guided or non-guided
Going to sleep at a consistent basis or when i'm tired
Facing problems

There are more questions I asked in order to change my habits and if your intrested I have posted it in another location just ask me for the link.