SELF Plans

After battling the national flu epidemic, a lot of which was stress induced, most of America is ready to spring into a better remainder of 2013. Daylight Savings Time will begin March 10, 2013 at 2 am. Let that be a significant day in your De-Stressation process.

Assess your past year from a stress perspective and activate plans to make this year one in which you have more serene experiences. Were you calm and collected most of the time? Were you nervous and jittery? Did the smallest thing throw you off of your intended plans? Were you on your last nerve with your family, your significant other, and/or on the job? Did the drive home and traffic make you want to become the Hulk and destroy whoever or whatever was causing the traffic to move too slowly or erratically? If any of those conditions affected you, now is the time to begin controlling how you feel and react. You do not have to settle for Default Negative Thoughts about situations you face. You do not have to let Default Emotional Reactions / Response(s)(DERs) rule you and cause more problems. Your stress can accumulate and make you more vulnerable to react uncharacteristically. Also, remember that your stress causes you immediate and long term emotional, psychological and physical problems.

No one is immune to anxieties about things that are seen as threatening. Consequently, we all inadvertently practice getting better at being stressed. We think we are really handling things well until some mishap or physical reaction occurs that can surely be attributed to the accumulation of stress. Most people give up, shrug their shoulders and ask themselves, what can I do about it? Another common reaction is to have a short term memory loss once the stressful situation seemingly passes and go on about our daily activities. That reaction does not solve the short term or long term problems that stress produces.

Make this the year that you activate some Secure Enhancement Life Focus plans. It’s OK to have SELF plans. That protective process is different from being negatively selfish.  Here are some suggestions to put forth in your SELF plans:

1) Assess what is happening in your environment. What and Who are your stressors?

2) Identify Triggers for your anxiety

3) Identify physical, emotional, or vocal indications  (higher pitched words, hollering,      screaming, or crying) that indicate your stress level is elevated

4) Work to analyze and find solutions to the problem(s) that exist. Realistically analyze them and decide if you or other parties are responsible for the problems

5) Be proactive in dealing with the next situation by setting up an action plan to combat the situation

6) Practice, practice, practice your response before you face the next encounter

7) Give yourself credit for taking the action that you take.

Your action plan can be specific to the situation(s) you are encountering but you may want to consider using one or more of the following:

1) Assertion to confront the situation or person

2) An internal dialogue to counter the situation

3) Intra Muscular Tension Control that is learned and practiced

4) A regular exercise program

5) Dietary changes which might include the intake of less caffeine or other stimulants that may increase your impulsivity and effect you negatively in the long run.

Above all else, remember that whatever looks like it is terrible and the worst possible situation or series of events is not the end of the world. The next day, the situation may resolve itself, you may develop a better plan to handle the issues or get help to overcome the issues.


Dr. Thomas A. Parker, LPC, CPC

The Stress Rejection Doctor



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