Surviving Home
Home Page
>Mission & Purpose
>About our Founder
>Join Email List

>Email to A Friend
>Download Center
>Contact Us
>Information Overview
>Bipolar Information
>Teenage Bipolar
>Bipolar ii
>Post Traumatic Stress
>Anxiety Disorders
>David's Bipolar Book >Bipolar Forums
>Bipolar Chat Room
>Recommended Books
>Videos/ DVD's
>Speaking Engagements
>Moderators wanted
>Sponsor / Advertisers
>Other Bipolar Websites
>Inspirational Media
>Link To Us

Community of Hope
Surviving Home Page
Bipolar Information
Bipolar Resources
Community Participation
Leave Your Feedback

Stress Information Page
American Institute for Preventative Medicine
30445 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 350, Farmington Hills, MI 48334
800.345.2476 245.539.1800 Fax 248.539.1808

Stress Quick Links
What should you do if someone tells you they are thinking about suicide?
>Introduction to Stress Management
>Introduction to thinking differently
>Irrational thinking
>Learning to beat negative thoughts
>Quickie qualm quieter’s
>Ten forms of distorted thinking
>Suggestions on how to handle stress

Introduction to Stress Management

Systematic Stress Management® is a structured program designed to prevent and minimize the damaging effects of stress. The techniques presented are easy to learn and can be included in normal day to day activities. The system to Systematic Stress Management is made up of five simple steps:

1. Capture an increased understanding of stress theory as we know it today. This knowledge is key to making the remaining steps worthwhile.

2. Remember to pay attention to distress signals and symptoms.

3. Identify personal stressors. This takes a high level of awareness plus honesty, and leads to the responsible and effective management of stress.

4. Seek out tools and skills that work to prevent, eliminate, and recover from distress.

5. Practice all of the above steps regularly in order to become and remain stress-fit.

“Stress is essentially reflected by the rate of all the wear and tear caused by life.
….. although we cannot avoid stress as long as we live, we can learn a great deal about how to keep its’ damaging side-effects, distress, to a minimum.”

Hans Selye, M.D.

<Back to Top>

Introduction to thinking differently

The inner messages you tell yourself are frequently the real producers of stress, rather than the situation itself.

A key factor in whether you experience stress relates to what you say to yourself about stress triggers in the environment.

1. What do you say to yourself when you’re stuck in traffic?

2. What do you say to yourself when your boss is critical of your work?

3. What are your thoughts when your children leave a messy bedroom after repeated warnings to clean up?

4. The inner messages you tell yourself are frequently the real producers of stress, rather than the situation itself.

Most situations are neutral. It is our thoughts about them that create negative or positive feelings. Their stress value is generated within the mind. These thoughts determine if a situation becomes difficult to handle. In other words, being stuck in traffic can be extremely stressful for one person and only a mild nuisance for another.

<Back to Top>

Irrational thinking

The expression “nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so” explains the important role that thoughts play in stress management. When thinking is clear, stress is minimized. Often, people are stressed by thoughts that are false or unrealistic. Irrational thinking is at the root of a lot of unhappiness.

<Back to Top>

Learning to beat negative thoughts

Negative thinking is stressful. The following three techniques work in controlling stressful thoughts that are repetitive, self-defeating and cause “psychological pollution.” People mistakenly ruin their own best efforts with negative thinking. These exercises distract or lessen such thinking. They provide the ability to choose and control what is thought about.

-Thought Control Techniques

  • Now Awareness
    • This is a technique developed by Alcoholics Anonymous and used by members who need to wipe out thoughts about drinking. It can be used to control other negative thoughts as well. The procedure works because it puts time and space between you and your original self-defeating thought.

      1. An unpleasant or unwanted thought occurs.

      2. Distract yourself by saying out loud the words, “Now I am aware of __________.” Complete the sentence by naming objects that you can actually see like, “Now I am aware of the door; now I am aware of the pencil holder; now I am aware of the picture; now I am aware of the carpet; now I am aware of the desk; now I am aware of the telephone.”

      3. Continue repeating the expression and naming things in your immediate surroundings. You can repeat things you have already mentioned. Should the thought return, repeat the procedure.

      One can also choose to focus on a single item rather than multiple items.
  • Thought Stopping
    • This technique was developed to stop recurring or compulsive thoughts. It has been used to correct self-defeating thoughts, too. The technique utilizes the startle response. We experience this when we are deep in thought and someone startles us by saying something or making a loud noise. When you try to return to your thought, it becomes difficult.
    • Verbal Version
      1. An unpleasant thought occurs.
      2. Close your eyes and focus on the thought.
      3. Count to three.
      4. Yell the word ”STOP!” as loud as you can.
      5. Pair a behavior such as pulling your earlobe, scratching your head, or pinching yourself along with the yelling. This enhances the technique over time because we begin to associate that behavior with effective thought stopping.
      6. Repeat the procedure if the thought reoccurs.

      Silent Version

      This version is to be used in situations where you don’t want to be obvious about doing the technique. This is effective only after conditioning yourself with the verbal version several times.
      1. An unpleasant thought occurs.
      2. Close your eyes and focus on the thought.
      3. Count to three.
      4. Imagine yelling ”STOP!” or imagine the word STOP! in large red letters, picture a flashing red light, see a STOP sign.
      5. Pull your earlobe, scratch your head, or pinch yourself as you imagine yelling ”STOP!”
  • Thought Zapper
    • This technique involves the use of mild physical punishment when unwanted self-talk occurs. It is based upon a very simple behavior change concept – any behavior that is followed by a punishment will occur less often. This technique is also very effective when combined with thought stopping.
      1. Place an elastic or rubber band around your wrist.
      2. You decide to stop your current self-talk because you decide it is unnecessary and not realistic at the present moment. Perhaps it is creating what you believe to be distress. You choose to spend less time and emotional energy with a belief about a certain person, place, or thing. You choose to be in control.
      3. Give yourself a zap by pulling a rubber or elastic band.
      4. Repeat as necessary

<Back to Top>

Ten forms of distorted thinking

Distorted thinking results from making faulty conclusions about the outside world. What we say to ourselves or how we interpret situations may not be logical. Faulty conclusions lead to anxiety, pain or other negative emotions. When people interpret experiences more clearly, their attitudes improve.
Distorted thinking is a habit that can be changed, but it takes practice. Devote several weeks to recognizing and refuting thoughts that are distorted from reality. Read the definition of each type of distorting thinking that follows. Then place a check in front of those distorted thoughts you tend to use. Cite examples of your own distorted thinking that you can recall and write them down.

1. All or Nothing -The tendency to see situations as either all black or white. There is no middle ground.

2. Overgeneralization -Drawing a conclusion based on a single event or small piece of evidence.

3. Filtering- We only see what we want to see in a situation. We filter out other parts.

4. Magnification - Making mountains out of molehills. Everything is a potential tragedy.

5. Labeling - Putting tags on people or situations that are one-sided. Stereotyping.

6. Jumping to Conclusions - Making snap judgments or assumptions based on incomplete evidence

7. Shoulds - Following an inflexible rule list about how the world "should" act.

8. Blaming - Always looking for blame either in yourself or others. Situations seem easier if you can blame someone.

9. Disqualifying - A person reverses a compliment so that it is perceived as an insult.

10. Mistake of Control - Feeling totally helpless or totally powerful in a given situation

<Back to Top>

Quickie qualm quieter’s

How do you get some relief from the stress of daily life? Sometimes all you need is a refreshing break involving some pleasurable activity. Once the stress is gone, you can now handle the problem that faced you earlier. The following activities are incompatible with high stress levels. Place a check next to those you'd like to try.

  • Take an early morning stroll.
  • Pull weeds in your garden.
  • Arise earlier than usual.
  • Spend playtime with children.
  • Write a letter to a friend.
  • Take a steam bath.
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Plan a vacation - whether you take it or not
  • Take in a funny movie
  • Wear beat-up old jeans
  • Drink an herbal tea
  • Sing a favorite song
  • Take a nap
  • Go swimming
  • Prune a tree or bush
  • Watch the sunset
  • Consciously smile a lot
  • Play classical music
  • Go barefoot
  • Tend to houseplants
  • Watch birds
  • Shop in boutiques
  • Go to the lake
  • Compile a list for household repair jobs
  • Enjoy a story
  • Sit in the yard
  • Take photographs
  • Bake yeast bread
  • Jog or speed walk
  • Play the piano
  • Do needlework
  • Eat a bowl of hot soup

<Back to Top>

Suggestion on how to handle stress

Here are some alternative ideas to include in your stress management activities. Read each and see which ones will be helpful to you.

1. Physical Exercise
Many people who exercise will tell you that nothing relieves tension like exercise. Not only does it promote physical fitness, but it also fees your mind and body from stress.

2. Take Walks
Walking is an excellent way to overcome stress. It is a good form of physical activity, and when done in pleasant surroundings like a park, country lane or lake, your mind can wander as your feet do.

3. Scramble Your Day
Alter your stress triggers by doing things differently. Mix up your daily routines. If, for example, driving to work causes you stress, then alter your driving routine; wear gloves; try a new radio station; open the windows; take a new route. Familiar stress triggers from a variety of daily routines can be weakened by scrambling.

4. Stay Well Rested
Get plenty of sleep.

5. Warm Water
Shower or bathe with warm water to soothe and calm your nerves. Do this twice daily if desired and give yourself some extra time in the water.

6. Learn Acceptance
Sometimes a difficult problem is out of your control. When this happens, accept it until changes can be made. This is better than worrying and getting nowhere.

7. Give In
If the source of your stress comes from disagreements with other people, try giving in. Fighting will only create additional stress. Know when to give in.

8. Balance Work and Play
All work and no play can make you pretty uptight. Plan some time for hobbies and recreation. These activities relax your mind and are a good escape from life’s worries.

9. Help Others
We concentrate on ourselves when we’re distressed. Sometimes helping another person is the perfect remedy for whatever is troubling us.

10. Talk Out Troubles
It sometimes helps to talk with a friend, relative, clergyman or a professional therapist. Another person can help you see a problem from a different point of view.

11. Temporary Escape
When you feel you are getting nowhere with a problem, a temporary diversion can help. Going to a movie, reading a book, visiting a museum or taking a drive can help you get out of a rut. Temporarily leaving a difficult situation can help develop new attitudes.

12. Clock Watch
When you feel stressed, stop all activity and watch the second hand of a clock for one full minute. It is relaxing.

13. Listen Well
Focus in on some dull sound in your environment. Examples are: an air conditioner, a copying machine, passing cars, or a typewriter. Only think about the sound. Close your eyes and just listen.

14. Count to Ten
This is an old technique, but it does work. Remember when you were told to hold your breath and count to ten when you were upset? Well, it still works to help tone down anger, screaming and ranting.

15. Self-Help Books
The following books help you develop a positive attitude. Read one or more of them.

• Super Joy: Learning to Celebrate Everyday Life by Paul Pearsall
• Psychocybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
• Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer
• How to be Your Own Best Friend by Newman & Berkowitz
• I’m O.K., You’re O.K. by T. Harris
• Creative Coping by Julius Fast

17. Self-Reward
Starting today, reward yourself with little things that make you feel good. Treat yourself to a bubble bath, buy the hard cover edition of a book, call an old friend long distance, buy a flower, picnic in the park during lunchtime, try a new perfume or cologne, or give yourself some “me-time.”

18. Daydreaming
Research has shown normal amounts of daydreaming to be healthy. A lack of daydreaming can cause emotional problems. It’s a relaxation technique that helps imagination and intellectual growth.

19. Sense of Humor
When events seem too overwhelming, keep a sense of humor. Laughter makes our muscles go limp and releases tension. It’s difficult to feel stress in the middle of a belly laugh. Learn to laugh as a relaxation technique.

<Back to Top>

Surviving Bipolar Logo

Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Contact
Advertise with Us

Information on Surviving Bipolar.Com or Community of Hope forums is intended as an informational tool only and should not be relied upon as and are not a substitute for consultation with your counselor, therapist, doctor, psychiatrist or other health care provider. . Consult your healthcare professional regarding health issues and advice on treatment. Views and contributions expressed and posted to Surviving Bipolar.Com or Community of Hope forums, are the views of the poster and not necessarily the views of Mariant Enterprises, Inc., Surviving Bipolar.Com or Community of Hope forums. To view our complete disclaimer CLICK HERE.

Mariant Enterprises, Inc. Copyright ©2005
Graphic Design and Site Development by Evolving Vision Media




Surviving Bipolar Homepage Bipolar Information Bipolar Educational Resources Contact Us Books, Videos, DVD'a and more Surviving