on Stress: Part 6
the last few weeks we've looked at what causes stress, how stress and disease
are related, and how we can learn to manage our stress levels better. This information
is fine in theory but when it comes to implementing the suggestions, we are faced
with the necessity of making changes. Mostly we are comfortable in our routines.
When our routines become prisons that negatively affect our health, it is time
to reconsider them. The thought of changing can be threatening and overwhelming.
It is easier to believe that our particular situations are cast in stone than
to decide to make changes.
good news is that change is possible. We probably know someone who has given up
smoking, shed excess pounds, or taken up exercise. If they can do it, so can we!
What makes the difference between persevering successfully and giving up on planned
things are necessary to help us implement changes:
First, we have
to believe that the threat to us (e.g. of having a heart attack, unwanted pregnancy,
relationship breakdown) is real. If these things only happen to "other people",
they won't motivate us to change.
Next, we need to believe that the
proposed change (healthy diet & exercise, birth control, counseling) will
help us to avoid the unwanted happening.
Third, we must believe ourselves
capable of making the change.
Breaking large changes into a series of
smaller ones can be helpful here. Success at each small step motivates us to continue.
Finally, we need support (family, friends, group) to help us through
the change until it becomes our new "routine".
If you want
to get started, but don't know how, talk to your minister or Parish Nurse.