How you interact matters, as much as and sometimes more than, the words that you say. Imagine someone asking for a raise. One person does so with a smile and straightforward gaze, while another says the same words with a frown and stares at her shoes and hangs her head.
Your body language and style not only affect the outcome, but also the way you feel. Sometimes we interact in ways that wear at our own self-confidence.
dbt, dialectical behavior therapy, dbt skills, interpersonal effectiveness, give skill, dearman skill, emotion regulation
Stress during any given day can leave you distracted by worry, unable to focus, jumpy and jittery or frozen and unable to perform as well as you might otherwise.
Technology may have improved your life and at the same time, contributed to increased expectations that you be constantly available to work. Do you answer emails and return phone messages before and after work?
Continue reading “Quick DBT Strategies for Handling a Stressful Work Day” »
Do spiteful or resentful thoughts sometimes take over your life? Or do you find yourself short tempered and in a cycle of lashing out at others?
Painful feelings such as anger, are often associated with worries about negative consequences-- say that an important goal will be blocked or that you will fail, be criticized, hurt or abandoned. The intensity of your feelings and worries can leave you stuck in a cycle of angry feelings, with resentment and rage fueled by worry, spiteful thoughts and memories of hurtful experiences.
Continue reading “5 Steps to Change Angry Feelings” »
Appreciating how the brain works when experiencing stress is critical to understanding how to reduce recurrent stress in certain situations, such as at school or at work.
In a study of the effects of chronic stress, Eduardo Dias-Ferreira and colleagues found that stress responses become habitual, over time. This means that we develop a habit of becoming stressed in certain situations and respond to those situations with the same stressed behaviors repeatedly. If you are someone who experiences stress and anxiety about completing school papers, taking tests, participating in classes, attending meetings or completing work tasks, your stress and anxiety may be habitual. You may also be reacting to these situations out of your habitual stress, which means your actions are unlikely to be effective.
Research on Meditation
There is a growing body of research that shows that meditation and mindfulness alter how the brain works. Dr. Sarah Lazar, a research scientist at Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital, presented a study at Neuroscience 2005, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Her research found that meditation had a measurable effect on the brain that lasted beyond the act of meditating. This indicates that meditation and mindfulness may have a positive impact on day to day life.
Mindfulness Exercises to Reduce School and Work Stress
Mindfulness is about learning to focus attention, which is a necessary skill when unlearning negative, habituated responses. There are hundreds and thousands of mindfulness exercises that can help to focus attention and decrease stress. To combat work or school stress try breathing exercises, which can be done anytime and anyplace. Other mindfulness activities include becoming aware of your body position and relaxing muscles that have tightened due to tension, creating a mantra (“I am calm”, “rise above it”), or noticing thoughts and labeling them as “just thoughts” as they come in and out of your mind.
The three key factors in utilizing mindfulness effectively to reduce stress are to try different activities until you find what works for you, practice bringing your attention back, once you get distracted, and practice often and in various situations. It is essential to practice mindfulness exercises regularly. When you are practicing mindfulness, you will find that your attention wanders. Likely it will wander back to those stressful and anxiety producing thoughts. When this happens, just notice it and gently bring your mind back to your mindfulness exercise. Repeat this process over and over as often as necessary.