I Don't Have Time for This! - Dealing with Stressful People and Situations
© 2015 Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. & L. Georgi DiStefano, LCSW
Let's face it. Difficult people are stressful. They can make it hard for us to function and leave us at a loss as to how to react to their latest outburst or self-induced crises. The BIFF Response® method teaches us to be Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm when replying to hostilities from another person. How the heck can you be friendly or brief, though, when you are stressed to the max and just feel like lashing out and telling the person what's what in no uncertain terms? The secret is to take the time to de-stress yourself - sometimes at the moment you feel the least able to do it - and then tackle the task of responding. Why? Read the following by authors Bill Eddy, Esq., LCSW and L. Georgi DiStefano, LCSW.
Do What is Counter-intuitive For Stress Management
In our book “It’s All Your Fault At Work”, we discuss the fact that stress management is counter-intuitive. When we feel harried and life is hectic it is hard to consider focusing on stress relief. “I’m so busy; I don’t have time for a walk or to take a vacation or to meet someone for lunch.” Nevertheless those activities along with dozens of others are what comprise healthy stress management relief. It is odd but true that when stress goes up, what we do to handle the stress actually goes down.
It is of utmost importance to make stress management a priority regardless of our schedule and commitments. By taking that hour for a walk or a conversation with a friend or to work with a therapist can help to negate the negative effects of stress. Often on television or in newspapers, we see our President or other leaders criticized for playing golf or some other physical activity like biking. The implication is that they should be back in the office attending to world affairs. Unfortunately this is dead wrong. The stress reduction that comes from engaging in these types of activities provides important cognitive benefits. People can think with more clarity, consider options with more flexible thinking and perform with greater stamina.
The next time you are aware of your stress and feel overwhelmed take the risk and do what appears to be counter-intuitive. Take a break from what you are doing. Re-charge your emotional and mental batteries with an enjoyable activity. We guarantee that when you return to the task at hand you will bring greater clarity and flexible thinking to the endeavor. You will feel more energized and cognitively sharper. The time you “lost” to the stress management activity will quickly be recovered.
A final note; make a list now of the activities you enjoy that contribute to your stress reduction and sense of wellbeing. Keep that list in a convenient place. When the time comes to take that break, you can quickly decide from the options on your list. Keep track as to which activities work best for you in times of stress. This is an easy way to create for yourself a stress management regime that really works.
L. Georgi DiStefano is an Employee Assistance Professional (EAP) and licensed therapist. She is a workplace conflict resolution trainer, coach and consultant and has an extensive background in addiction treatment. She and Bill are co-authors of It’s All Your Fault at Work!
Bill Eddy is an LCSW, family lawyer and mediator, and the President of the High Conflict Institute. He regularly provides training to mediators, lawyers, counselors and others regarding high-conflict personalities and is the author of several books.