How A Sense of Personal Control Reduces Stress

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • Tolerance of stress varies from person to person but a great deal depends on the nature of stress and the circumstances at the time. At times of vulnerability it is often the fear of losing control that can trigger a stress reaction. The biggest areas in this regard tend to fall into one of four categories: relationships, work and money, health, and lifestyle.

     

    Loss of control is often more a perception than a reality but with it comes anxiety, worry and fear. Managing the situation is an important aspect of regaining mastery and reducing stress. If we believe we can take action to solve a problem we become more inclined to do so. It’s an optimistic “can do” way of dealing with stress and it feeds back into our sense of personal control.

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    Thinking about the four categories mentioned earlier let’s explore a few options about exerting personal control. The first category was relationships and one of the most stressful times is the breakdown of a relationship or a divorce. Taking action in this case is likely to involve sharing your feelings with people you trust and can rely on. If needed, seek professional guidance from a trained counselor. Contrary to the myth of admitting defeat, you are taking action to understand your situation better and reframe the issue in ways that are more adaptive.

     

    Next I mentioned work and money. Any number of issues can crop up here but, for example, if debt is running away with you it’s important to meet the issue head on. Organizations would far rather you tell them about your struggles than simply default. Refinancing debt is a common enough issue but it can be cheaper to organize a single loan rather than several. If you use a bank, speak to one of their financial advisors.

     

    Health issues are sometimes long-term and progressive. You need to find out information about your condition or illness and draw up an action plan for coping. Look around for support groups or internet resources that can help.

     

    Traveling long distances to work every day is a lifestyle issue that may need addressing. Some people are happy to commute. They use the time to catch up or read and relax. Not all commutes are relaxing. Some involve multiple changes, crowds and of course expense. Two things come to mind. The most obvious is looking for employment nearer to home. By calculating the amount you spend on commuting you could consider a reduced income. This is a break-even option but one where you win by having reduced the stress of commuting. The second idea is to sell up and/or move nearer to work. Although moving can be stressful it is a short-term issue that can be broken down into manageable tasks easily enough.

Published On: October 27, 2014