A 4 Step Process for the Management of Stress

Alex Czop, M.A., LCPC

Giving our selves the time to take care of our physical and mental health has become an inner challenge. It is common among people to be overcome with exterior pressures that come with their current position in life. Often these exterior pressures can lead to intrusive thoughts, rumination, poor self-care, and other symptoms of depression. Over time, such pressure becomes not only debilitating to ones own health (mental/physical) but also to the relationships that they hold within their own community (isolation). Such an expansion of depressive symptoms from the subjective to there communal effect shows how the management of stress is a critical aspect of self growth so that we as community can have the opportunity to grow as well.

The question that often gets posed at this point is how to “let it go?” or “how to relax” in the midst of this exterior pressure.  Taking the Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) approach it is imperative to:

(1) raise your awareness of what these pressures are and how you relate to them in the present moment. This awareness will catalyze the mental opportunity to:

(2) decide for yourself what how you would actually want to relate to this pressure. Relating to stress is observed in the perspective one chooses to have on their environment such as having an opportunistic or pessimistic view point which is based in the belief-system we as people are conditioned to have. Such decisions as referenced in step (2) may take several years to come to a conclusion and often they are life long areas of reflection.

(3) Once such a decision has been made, taking an action step (coping) is where the concept of self-care can be applied. Caring for oneself is taking ownership of the direction we are pointing our lives in and being cognizant of the appropriate level of control we have as people to continue in this healthy lifestyle change.

(4) Finally, reflection on the process of your management of stress will give you further awareness on what you need to continue to adjust in moments of exterior pressure.

Following steps (1)-(4) is a lifestyle change that provides more opportunities for challenging neurotic thinking patterns in order to live more at peace. It is important to recognize the lifelong journey that comes with changing thinking pattern and accepting some that may not be changeable. Overtime if the steps are applied in a habitual manner then the behavior itself will become an integral part of ones own management of life stressors.

Alex Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Alex is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who works with individuals, couples and families.