Managing Stress is a Learned Skill

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  • Managing stress is a learned skill
  • Unless these skills are pursued and learned, we will continue to re-enforce already dysfunctional coping skills.  What most of us learn in middle and high school are survival skills.  We are also programmed by our families’ coping patterns, which have a high chance of not being very useful.
  • Anxiety is an emotion that never gets better with time.  It always gets worse.  I think it is a tragedy for most people in that it is highly treatable with appropriate tools.
  • Anger is the core of obsessive behavior.  Once my patients in pain become truly (and appropriately) angry, the whole nature of the interaction with their families and the medical system changes in a terrible way.  They become focused on the pain and it now runs their lives.  Anger is the turbo-charger that really gets negative circuits in the brain spinning.
  • A significant aspect of experiencing a full life is living it with a vision.  As life beats us down, most of us lose that vision and gradually go into a survival mode.  Chronic pain greatly magnifies the problem.  Getting that vision back in spite of the pain is critical.
  • The centerpiece of dealing with stress is awareness.  Awareness is the opposite of positive thinking.  There is a huge difference between “positive thinking” and deliberately creating alternate neurological pathways.  The first step in creating these new circuits is becoming aware of what is already there.