Stress does not discriminate. No one is immune from the strains and pressure of everyday life. It is caused by work, school, family situations or just general worry. Treatment for stress has been getting lots of attention, and from meditation to exercise, there are almost as many ways to try and deal with it as there are causes. One method is easily overlooked, but incredibly effective. It is suitable for sufferers of all ages and abilities, causes no side effects, and doesn’t have to cost a thing. You might be surprised to find out that talking can be a very effective way to deal with stress.
How It Works
Talking alleviates stress in several ways. Imagine stress as a sack of rocks you carry around. Each rock represents a different worry or concern. Talking to someone about what’s bothering you allows you to remove some rocks from the sack. It literally allows you to unburden yourself. Sometimes just getting things off your chest is relief enough. This is known as venting or letting it out. In these instances, you may not necessarily be looking for input or advice. Just giving voice to your concerns often allows you to see an option or solution that was hidden when things were pent up.
Other times, talking with another person is an opportunity to receive their feedback and advice. They may have dealt with a similar situation in the past or have some other experience that could be valuable to you. Even if they don’t have the answer, it can be valuable to bounce ideas off of them, and get input. Sometimes the person or people you talk to will have questions that allow you to consider your problem in a different light. Talking and listening to others is a part of the great social contract that we are all party to. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need to. There will be a time when someone else will need to reach out to you.
Who To Talk To
For talking to be most effective, choose the most suitable person for your specific situation. It wouldn’t be useful, or appropriate, to discuss your job-related stress with a 5 year old, for example! Instead, seek out another adult. Even if that person doesn’t share the same profession, or doesn’t work at all, they will still be able to relate to your sense of frustration. Sometimes the best advice, if that’s what you need, can come from someone further removed from the situation, an outsider.
Family members and friends can be important sources of relief and support during difficult situations. Life stages like dealing with children, spouses, parents or things like bereavement are common to everyone.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your family or friends about these issues (or if they are the issue), try to find an online community with a message board where you can pose questions or divulge your concerns anonymously. For job and family stress, these resources can be particularly helpful. Even if you are too shy to post yourself, just reading the posts of others, and realizing that you are not alone in dealing with certain problems can be reassuring. Seeing the concerns of others often allows you to put your own worries in perspective. If none of these options appeals to you, remember that you can always seek the counsel of spiritual leaders, clergy, crisis counselors or mental health professionals. Make good use of your support network.
How To Develop A Support Network
A support network is a group of friends or confidantes that you can turn to. You can cultivate friendships by participating in activities where you are likely to encounter like-minded individuals. Volunteering for causes you believe in, group sports or exercise, or taking classes are all ways to meet people.
Once you have met some people, strengthen those new relationships by being the type of friend you would want to have. Stay in contact, express your gratitude for them, celebrate their successes and be there for them during their tough times.