Stress is a natural part of life. Stress occurs daily but its universal impact is a subjective experience. Many people succumb to stress and allow it to affect them while some are able to deal with stress and minimize its effects. Some individuals respond as an extrovert, while others allow stress to eat them within as an introvert. Some respond with rage, while others enter into isolation and depression.
Stress can originate from our daily schedule and the nature of one’s life. If one understands his or her position in life and what comes with it, these natural stresses come less as a surprise. Someone who commutes to New York City everyday, naturally expects the stress of heavy traffic and road rage scenarios. While the stress is real and present, its effect is determined by the individual’s outlook on life and what he or she expects for that day. The stress of this traffic can build over time but someone who has developed stress coping strategies can more effectively deal with the traffic and minimize its impact on daily life.
The same is true for an individual who may work in a office. One should expect numerous phone calls interrupting assignments, as well as multiple deadlines and potentially obnoxious co-workers. These stresses while unpleasant are nevertheless expected stresses. An individual who identifies stressors that are indigenous to one’s daily life will more successfully navigate the day and cope with the stresses that may confront them.
Likewise is the nature of one’s vocation in life. Parents experience different stresses that single people never can imagine. Parents are not only concerned with meeting the expectations of what need done in their own personal lives, but also must be concerned with the child’s needs. Whether that stress is a crying baby, ensuring the children arrive at school, or take children to extracurricular activities, parents understand that certain stresses manifest throughout the day. These potential stresses are certainly not foreign ideas that can emerge throughout the day but are sometimes expected or not entirely a surprise if they do occur.
Natural stresses that are part of one’s daily life are balanced to some extent. They are expected. One knows what to expect on Monday through Friday and what particular challenges come with those days. The balancing act of coping with those stresses in a mild way and still managing the day is a very precarious balance though. The degree of the stress or an unexpected stress can totally unravel one’s neatly planned day. One may plan on heavy traffic on their way to the commute, but not be prepared for a fender bender. One may be ready for the challenge to have all the children arrive to school on time, but not be ready to receive a call a from a teacher that your child skipped class or misbehaved. These issues can unravel one already dealing with the everyday notion of stress.
One can identify stressors that are common and have a plan but when unexpected stressors occur, they can induce a panic, rage, or break down. In addition to unplanned stress, multiple stressors can also play a role. One may be fine with a rude honk from behind in traffic, but later, not be so fine with the person who cuts in front, or even later, the person at work who parks in one’s favorite spot. Simply then add a spilled coffee on one’s favorite shirt and a lack of emotional control could emerge. Certain singular stresses may be manageable but for many, multiple stressors, merely build up to a volcanic eruption.
So while individuals deal with natural stressors, they must also learn to deal with unexpected stressors and multiple stressors at once. While one can expect certain stress to exist naturally within one’s day, one must be also able to cope with the unexpected and multiple issues that may appear uninvited on one’s schedule.
Life has order but it always does not keep to order. This may be very difficult for an OCD person to accept but plans change. One needs to have a plan, a set daily, weekly and monthly schedule, but stress, life itself and issues arise that deviate from anyone’s plan. One can estimate what type of stress or difficulty may occur with a given project, day, or week, but to truly cope with stress, one must be ready to deviate from the path planned if necessary.
This goes beyond basic Anger Management and Stress Management which identifies issues that arise and teach trained responses to them, but goes a step even farther back basic recognition, and teaches expectations of not only the expected but unexpected as well. One must be flexible in response and able to cope with new unexpected stressors in a better and healthy way.
Of course emotion is a key. Emotion can be irrational and it can over react to stressors and various imperfections within one’s personality can emerge. One truly must learn to know oneself, if one wishes to handle stress and anger on a given day. This goes beyond expecting what stress goes with a day. It goes beyond realizing that plans rarely go to plan. It is even more than realizing that somedays are just bad days filled with multiple stresses at once. It entails, one honestly examining one’s personality and identifying emotional responses to past stress and where personality defects exist within oneself.
This examination of self asks questions regarding oneself. It asks if one is patient, if one is kind, if one is mature, if one is reserved as opposed to impatience, rudeness, immaturity and anger. How we cope truly defines oneself. One naturally likes to see the best of oneself. One who rises to the occasion, controls emotion, and has intelligent responses to situations that are managed by reason not emotion, but this is not always the case.
A person who possesses these traits and is able to handle anger and stress is not only trained but also disciplined. It probably did not occur by accident or over night, but was a skill that was painfully worked on everyday. It was a virtue forged in fire, perfected over numerous falls and conscious restraint in stressful and angry situations. Training one’s will and mind to respond a certain way that is not immature, rash, or angry is a difficult task.
So while it does ensue identifying stressors, preparation and expectation of the unexpected, it also revolves around spiritual and mental betterment. It involves a conscious decision to change one’s response and emotional self to life situations. It is a new spiritual outlook on life that accepts stress, not just daily stress, but every type of cross that may fall upon oneself. It is a universal reaction to every situation that surrounds itself with patience, understanding, and kindness.
So Stress Management and Anger Management is more than just a few sessions of recorded response but is also a re-awakening of self to the world and how it works. It is an acceptance of the temporal reality and how one is going to allow that reality to shape oneself. One can go about as a crazed and AN unhealthy maniac reacting to stress in unhealthy and unsocial ways, or one can start to see the world in a less selfish way that puts others first and emphasizes vocation of life and giving back whatever troubles may occur from it.
This giving back can be a spiritual one where everything is given to God, or for non religious, a giving back to society and its betterment. If one is able to turn stress and how one reacts to it into a more positive spin, where one overcomes it and is able to make society better, or for religious and spiritually minded, offering to God, then one can truly start to see that all stress is natural to this world and no plan is concrete. The plan that matters most is God or the universe’s plan and how one properly plays one’s role.
If one submits to the universal plan of life and starts seeing one’s unique role in the bigger picture, one can become more aware of reality and how stressors are merely noises taking one away from the bigger picture. One needs to deal with stressors effectively. In dealing effectively, one will experience a more calm, healthy, and quiet life.
Please also feel free to review AIHCP’s numerous certification programs in Stress Management Consulting, Anger Management Consulting and Spiritual, as well Christian Counseling Certifications. These training programs can help anyone receive the training, and also information, to live and teach others a less stressful and angry way of living life.
Mark Moran, MA