Change Your Way of Managing Stress
When dealing with stressful situations, as we all are now with the COVID-19, it’s tempting to fall back into old, comfortable habits we have used in the past to kind of soothe ourselves and feel the emotional comfort they bring. Sometimes, these may be habits we have never quite resolved to change anyway, so a stressful situation can seem to be just the justification we need to hold onto it, or to even increase its role in our lives. Whether it is carbohydrates, cigarettes, a bad temper, social media or binge-watching TV, we can feel overwhelmed when we feel weak, tired, lonely or frustrated and we don’t have that old habit to comfort us. Our final thought before we completely go off the rails is usually something like, “Well, I never was going to stick with that anyway.”
Wouldn’t you like to take an approach to making change that gives you more control during those times? Rather than giving into those self-defeating thoughts that you will never succeed in the long-run, how about just taking it one moment at a time? You may not be able to control the circumstances our country is facing right now, way you feel tomorrow or how you failed yesterday, but you can make a conscious choice about how you handle this moment right in front of you. You don’t even have to think about whether you are giving up your old behavior forever, you just have to win this moment, right now.
Larry Deavers is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of West Alabama.