Serious Stress
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Stress Management - Worry lessening methods to approach stress.

by malcolm james pugh

Article Source:

how to cope with severe stress.

We are all different. We all have different levels of
tolerance, different levels of ability, different abilities.

We all have different aspirations, different likes and
different dislikes.

No one can legislate for us all en masse.


What we all have in common at various points in our
lives is stress.

Attendant to stress can come depression, tension,
sleeplessness, lethargy, apathy, suicidal thinking,
anger, despair, physical illness and death.

All these also have one thing in common,
negative waves as oddball would say.

 We will invariably all face one of these below
between us at some point in our lives, unless
we are in some cases extremely fortunate.

1. Bereavement
2. job redundancy
3. job change
4. new baby
5. overwork
6. money worries
7. personal arguments
8. physical injury
9. serious illness
10. lifestyle change
11. drugs drink addiction

Most of these constitute what most people would regard as
genuine obstacles they have had to face or endure which are
harder to cope with than you would like.


This might seem an odd question, but it is very pertinent.
For me the why in every case above breaks down to

this is something I have never experienced before,
coupled with high emotional involvement.

Many psychologists will be wringing their hands at
my next statement, but I believe that just as we all
have a God given talent, that we can ALL cope.

I am not religious, this is just the way I feel.

We CAN all cope.

With something we have never experienced before, there
is an innate set of worries.

a. will I be able to cope with this
b. will I make a fool of myself
c. how can I possibly do this on my own
d. what is really happening here
e. will I do this in the right way
f. I hope I dont make too much fuss
g. will I survive this unscathed
h. How will I ever get through this.

A step into the unknown, never before experienced.
With experience comes the confidence you have done
it before, and even if it was unsuccessful, you know how
better to approach it this time, know what is coming,
and to a small degree, know how to best deal with it.

Some things, like bereavement, are never going to be easy.

So what can we do to minimise the impact of these new and
frightening or slightly worrying or plain terrifying events.

We have to know we will eventually cope with anything.

We CAN all cope.

What do we need in our armoury to try to cope then.

1. Confidence
2. Knowledge
3. Back up
 4. Friends
5. Self reliance
6. Determination
7. Know our own limitations
8. Be calm under pressure
9. Make logical reasoned decisions
10. Realise only we can do it

The prime, underlying thing you will most need will be
the most difficult to try to do, sleep.

To have any chance of coping well under undue stress,
you have to have eight hours unbroken sleep. Period.

This is singularly the hardest thing to do, to let go when
you are under the highest stress, but you must do to cope,
preferably without sleeping pills.

To truly sleep under grim stress you have to be aware
that there is only so much you can do in one day, and
also some days you cannot alter or affect what is the problem.
Also some days you will get absolutely nowhere.

Identify your problem, or problems, as they have a habit
of multiplying at bad times.

Break your problem down into the smallest parts you
can think of and make two lists.

One list shows what you can directly do something about now.
The other shows things beyond your control, at least for now.

You can only deal with what is directly possible, so
make an achievable schedule of what to do each day.

And do it.

Then sleep. You have done all you can that day, and you have
a plan to work to, and you must not worry over things beyond
your control. That is a hard one but very true, you probably
worry most over what you can do least about.

Have a hot bath, and if not alcoholic a sherry or a port,
then sleep solidly for eight hours.

If you cant do anything about something, dont, let it go.

Once you have your plan your armoury comes into play.

Confidence is built by truly knowing you are capable.

Knowledge of something new builds confidence,
so read up on others experiences, and
ask others who have been through this before.

Back up your own abilities with specialist advice
where it involves specialist knowledge, preferably
a few erudite opinions, not just one.

Friends, true friends will share the load. So if you
know now you are not worthy of friends, for
example, if you lie a lot, stop lying.
True friends come out of being a true friend
and are worth gold at these times in support.
So now is a good time to look at yourself and
see if you cant be better to those around you,
you never know when you might need their help.

Self reliance comes from knowing you have overcome
things before, allied to knowing you have to do it again now.
Never worry about looking stupid, or failing, or being
out on a limb on your own or making an undue fuss.
We have all been there, we can ALL get by.

Determination cannot be overstated, if you are truly
determined anything is possible, but it is easier to be
determined when you can actually see and visualise
what you are up against. This is a voyage into somewhat
unknown territory, but we are all capable of coping.
It is often the fear of failure that leads to failure,
not the lack of moral fibre or intelligence or
resilience. Its the What If It All Goes Pear Shaped
that makes it into a pear.
You must be single mindedly determined to succeed,
which will waver at times, we all have some healthy
self doubt, but overall we must be strong, and we ARE
capable of it, ALL of us. You are only ever weak
if you want people to feel sorry for you. We can
all be strong, we can all survive intact.

Knowing your own limitations is probably paramount to
all of this. Nothing is more undermining than knowing you
have overreached yourself, or under performed, or
attempted something way too difficult and looked stupid.
You are going to feel a bit lower than usual, so dont expect
miracles. Set yourself achievable things to do each day.
 If you genuinely feel you cannot possibly do something and
are not chickening out, then get the best person you can
suited to the task to help, but its best to try yourself,
if at all possible as this builds knowledge even if you
arent too brilliant the first time, and knowledge builds
up confidence, an upward spiral.

Being calm under pressure and making logical reasoned
decisions may seem very smug things to say, and very
difficult things to actually achieve.
These both come down to being able to devote sufficient
time to a given problem. You are not in a race, but it
seems that way as there is so much adrenaline, yet
thinking time often halves working time, and
clear thinking brings relief from stress quicker
than rushing on headlong and poorly directed.
Many people have devoted much time and energy
to time management, but its not just mumbo jumbo.
I find I use lists. and I use a personal organiser now,
where I used to rely on my memory, but its all one
and the same. A task is a task and for you it takes a set
time to achieve, which gets longer as we get older, so
we must not get annoyed when we cant do it as quickly
or efficiently as we used to do when younger.
Nevertheless it still takes a finite time, we should be
aware of that and calm down to allow that time for
that task. If in doubt then constructively and positively
think for a while, rather than carry on regardless.
A cup of tea can take five minutes, but the thinking
can save you fifty.
Often it was hurtling along at breakneck pace and
ever increasing workload that created the problem
in the first place, all the more reason to sit back a
little and take stock of where we are, before yet
again zooming off at a tangent.
Often its only when you break away from the
backing you can see you were stuck in the mould,
and can see in the quiet and still where the frantic
and noisy were headed.
Just as nothing good lasts forever, then so nothing bad
 does either, this WILL go away eventually, leaving
you stronger and more confident to face the future.

Just as drink or drugs is a day at a time, so problems
are a finite bit by bit at a time.

Remember, we ALL have serious problems.
We ALL get through them ok.

Never start thinking I deserve this, I have been bad,
I should have done things differently, I am unworthy due
to the way ive lived my life. This is now, you are now,
even if you have been bad news you can sort it,
and start to be a useful person, now.
Be positive for once in your life, this is grim, but I
am going to get through it no matter what.

And you will.

Also remember, no one said life was fair, it isnt.
Bloody awful things happen to very nice people.

I have lost friends and I still cant really grasp they
are gone, I guess I find this the hardest to cope with
as its the one you can do the least about, but I know
they wouldnt want me moping about, any more than ill
want anyone moping over me, long live wakes.
Plus harping over the past ignores todays friends
and family, who are still here and need you too.

This might read a bit antiseptic. For 1 do this, for 2 do that,
but in a way you have to try to break it down that way to
deal with it, as it can seem overwhelming as a whole but
achievable in bits. Cathedrals are made of stones.

There are no easy solutions, but sleep, organisation,
time management, and a calm positive attitude will go a
long way to sorting things out.

Also, identifying unachievable tasks and ignoring them in
favour of things you can directly do and affect will be
instantly productive and ease the pressure quickly,
however most of all you have to realise that at the end of
the day, it is your problem and chances are YOU are going
to have to sort it out, sometimes alone.

But you WILL sort it out,
with belief in yourself.

Also, sadly, there is only so much you can do for friends,
before they too have to start helping themselves. Many
will have you tearing yourself to pieces on their behalf,
who would do very little to help you in turn.

This might sound harsh, but there is a limit to how much
you can help someone before they become dependent
on your help for evermore. This doesnt help them anyway,
as from what has been said before, they only gain by
experiencing the pleasure of overcoming their own demons,
and the pride and confidence this gives them
in having done so relatively unaided.

Help people to help themselves, they will be better able then
to help you help yourself in the future.

Its a cruel world, sometimes there is just you
between you and oblivion.

But that should be enough.

You can win.

When all I had was turning bad,
When night seemed endless dark,
When fire died deep down inside,
And cried out for a spark,
When all seemed, dire bad dreams,
Through every tormented hour,
And I seemed small, viewed overall,
Puny against great power,
Then I regained my former flame,
Kindled against these mighty forces,
Though alone, all on my own,
Against fates cavalry and horses,
Twas then my power seized the hour,
And the nightmare ran off screaming,
It was purely me that set me free,
Though I may only have been dreaming.

Stress management has been tried by people

ex systems programmer living in Rubery.


May16, 2006


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