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Relationship & Stress & Alcohol Prevention Tips

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Useful Websites!

http://www.recovery.org/topics/preventing-alcohol-relapse-for-you-and-your-loved-ones/

http://www.cdc.gov/features/handlingstress/

 

Happy Marriage Relationship!

Over the years we have interviewed hundreds of wives, and many of them communicated at least three areas where they desired to see change in their husbands before they would believe their husband’s commitment:

Careful Listening without Justification or Argument

It is often difficult for a man to converse with his wife without challenging the meaning of various words she uses to explain how she feels inside. If a husband can overlook the actual words his wife uses to express herself and instead, actively pursue what she means, fewer arguments will take place. One man I know finds it almost impossible to do this. When his wife says, “You never do this,” or “Your always do that,” he will inevitably say, “Now, dear, I don’t always do that,” or “Did I do it yesterday?” or he begins to analyze her statement to prove it false.

If we can stop justifying our actions and quit arguing about the words our wives use, we can get to the heart of the matter. We can try rephrasing our wives statements, “Is this what you were trying to say?” or “Is this what I’m hearing?” It is essential in communication to look past the surface words to the real meaning behind the words.

Quickness to Admit Error

Countless wives and children have told me how their family relationships have been weakened because of a husband’s or father’s unwillingness to admit his errors. Though husbands sometimes think admission of errors reveals their weaknesses, the opposite is true.

A humble admission of wrong produces positive results. When a husband admits he has hurt his wife, she feels better just knowing he understands. Not only that, it demonstrates that he is a wise man because the Scriptures tell us that only the wise seek counsel.

Patience When She is Reluctant to Believe You’ve Changed

What if you’ve been doing everything within your power to let your wife know she has first place in your life, and she still doesn’t believe you’ve changed? Do you throw up your arms in disgust? Or do you gently persuade her over a period of time? Her initial respect for you wasn’t lost overnight, and it can’t be regained in a day. Show her that no matter how long it takes, you want to earn her respect.

For Wives – A Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrath

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

No one likes to be criticized, regardless of how much truth lies behind the criticism. Whether we are male or female, six or sixty, when someone corrects us, we automatically become defensive. Yet honest communication is vital to marriage.These two basic truths appear contradictory. How do you honestly tell the one you love about something you find displeasing or aggravating without prompting that familiar, defensive glare or indifferent shrug?

The following four principles outline the indirect approach. This is especially beneficial for wives when they are wanting to comment on their husband’s insensitivity.

1. Learn to express your feelings through three loving attitudes:

a. Warmth is the friendly acceptance of a person. It’s considering a person to be important enough to give your time and resources to—to share his concerns, not because he has earned it, but simply because he’s a human being.

b. Empathy is the ability to understand and identify with a person’s feelings.

c. Sincerity is showing a genuine concern for a person without changing your attitude toward him when circumstances change.

2. Learn to share your feelings without using “you” statements. For example, the statement, “You’re never home on time” or “Can’t you get up earlier and take care of the kids just once?” “You” statements usually cause a man to either dig in and fight or to promptly leave your presence without resolving the issue. Either way, it makes him more determined to have his own way.

Stress Management

How to Reduce, Prevent, and Cope with Stress

Stress Management

                 It may seem that there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills  won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your career  and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But  you have more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization  that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management. Managing  stress is all about taking charge: of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and  the way you deal with problems

In This Article:

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Identify the sources of stress in your life

Learn about hidden sources of stress

Watch 3-min. video: Roadblocks to awareness

 

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious,and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings,and behaviors. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.

To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:

  • Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”).
  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

Start a Stress Journal

A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:

  • What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure)
  • How you felt, both physically and emotionally
  • How you acted in response
  • What you did to make yourself feel better

Look at how you currently cope with stress

Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that compound the problem.

Unhealthy ways of coping with stress

These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:

  • Using pills or drugs to relax
  • Sleeping too much
  • Procrastinating
  • Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems
  • Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)

Learning healthier ways to manage stress

If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no  “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.

Dealing with Stressful Situations: The Four A’s

Change the situation:

  • Avoid the stressor
  • Alter the stressor
Change your reaction:

  • Adapt to the stressor
  • Accept the stressor

Stress management strategy #1: Avoid unnecessary stress

Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.

  • Learn how to say “no”  – Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.
  • Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.
  • Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes  you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.
  • Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
  • Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the  “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.

Stress management strategy #2: Alter the situation

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.

  • Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.
  • Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you’ll have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.
  • Be more assertive. Don’t take a backseat in your own life.  Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them. If you’ve got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, say up front that you only have five minutes to talk.
  • Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you can alter the amount of stress you’re under.

Stress management strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor

If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

  • Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
  • Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
  • Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”
  • Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.

Adjusting Your Attitude

How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. If you see good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel good; the reverse is also true. Eliminate words such as “always,”  “never,” “should,” and “must.” These  are telltale marks of self-defeating thoughts.

Stress management strategy #4: Accept the things you can’t change

Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.

  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control— particularly the behavior of other people. Rather  than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.
  • Look for the upside. As the saying goes,  “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at then as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.
  • Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment  with a therapist. Expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic,even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.
  • Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect  world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.

Stress management strategy #5: Make time for fun and relaxation

Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll  be in a better place to handle life’s stressors when they inevitably come.

Healthy ways to relax and recharge

  • Go for a walk.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Call a good friend.
  • Sweat out tension with a good workout.
  • Write in your journal.
  • Take a long bath.
  • Light scented candles.
  • Savor a warm cup of coffee or tea.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Work in your garden.
  • Get a massage.
  • Curl up with a good book.
  • Listen to music.
  • Watch a comedy.

Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take                  care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.

  • Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your                    daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time                    to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
  • Connect with others. Spend time with positive people who enhance                    your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.
  • Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities                    that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your                    bike.
  • Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh                    at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.

Stress management strategy #6: Adopt a healthy lifestyle

You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.

  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise,three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared  to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary  “highs” caffeine  and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount  of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol  or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary.  Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.
  • Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.

Ten Tips for Prevention for Youth

As a young person you are faced with many challenges.  However, very few have the potential to affect your life in a more significant way than the decisions you make about alcohol and drugs.  The decisions you make about alcohol and drugs will influence your health, your grades, your relationships, your job or career, or your freedom.  Not to be too dramatic. . . but these are life and death decisions.

Bottom line – you are responsible for your own safety…what are you going to do?

Before we review our Ten Tips for Prevention–Youth, there are two important points to be aware of:

Age of First Use of Alcohol and Drugs:

Using alcohol and drugs before the brain has fully developed increases your risk for future addiction to alcohol and drugs dramatically.  Young people who start drinking alcohol before age 15 are 5 times more likely to develop alcohol abuse or dependence than people who first used alcohol at age 21 or older.  Research for drug use and drug addiction have found similar results.

Family History of Alcoholism or Drug Addiction:

Whether a person decides to use alcohol or drugs is a choice, influenced by their environment — peers, family, and availability.  But, once a person uses alcohol or drugs, the risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by genetics.  Alcoholism and drug dependence are not moral issues, are not a matter of choice or a lack of willpower.  Plain and simple, some people’s bodies respond to the effects of alcohol and drugs differently.  If you have a family history of alcoholism or addiction, you are four times more likely to develop a problem.  To learn more:  Family History and Genetics.

So then, as a young person, what can you do to protect yourself and reduce the risk of alcohol and drug problems?  Here are Ten Tips for Prevention–Youth:

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No:  Sometimes, our fear of negative reaction from our friends, or others we don’t even know, keeps us from doing what we know is right.  Real simple, it may seem like “everyone is doing it,” but they are not.  Don’t let someone else make your decisions for you.  If someone is pressuring you to do something that’s not right for you, you have the right to say no, the right not to give a reason why, and the right to just walk away.
  1. Connect With Your Friends and Avoid Negative Peer Pressure:  Pay attention to who you are hanging out with.  If you are hanging out with a group in which the majority of kids are drinking alcohol or using drugs to get high, you may want to think about making some new friends.  You may be headed toward an alcohol and drug problem if you continue to hang around others who routinely drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, abuse prescription drugs or use illegal drugs.  You don’t have to go along to get along.
  1. Make Connections With Your Parents or Other Adults:  As you grow up, having people you can rely on, people you can talk to about life, life’s challenges and your decisions about alcohol and drugs is very important.  The opportunity to benefit from someone else’s life experiences can help put things in perspective and can be invaluable.
  1. Enjoy Life and Do What You Love –  Don’t Add Alcohol and Drugs:  Learn how to enjoy life and the people in your life, without adding alcohol or drugs.  Alcohol and drugs can change who you are, limit your potential and complicate your life.  Too often, “I’m bored” is just an excuse.  Get out and get active in school and community activities such as music, sports, arts or a part-time job.  Giving back as a volunteer is a great way to gain perspective on life.
  1. Follow the Family Rules About Alcohol and Drugs:  As you grow up and want to assume more control over your life, having the trust and respect of your parents is very important.  Don’t let alcohol and drugs come between your and your parents.  Talking with mom and dad about alcohol and drugs can be very helpful.
  1. Get Educated About Alcohol and Drugs:  You cannot rely on the myths and misconceptions that are out there floating around among your friends and on the internet.  Your ability to make the right decisions includes getting educated.  Visit Learn About Alcohol and Learn About Drugs.  And, as you learn, share what you are learning with your friends and your family.
  1. Be a Role Model and Set a Positive Example:  Don’t forget, what you do is more important than what you say!  You are setting the foundation and direction for your life; where are you headed?
  1. Plan Ahead:  As you make plans for the party or going out with friends you need to plan ahead.  You need to protect yourself and be smart.  Don’t become a victim of someone else’s alcohol or drug use.  Make sure that there is someone you can call, day or night, no matter what, if you need them.  And, do the same for your friends.
  1. Speak Out/Speak Up/Take Control:  Take responsibility for your life, your health and your safety.  Speak up about what alcohol and drugs are doing to your friends, your community and encourage others to do the same.
  1. Get Help!:  If you or someone you know is in trouble with alcohol or drugs, (What to Look For), get help.  Don’t wait.  You are not alone.

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