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COLUMNS BY
Dr. Bill Austin



What Is Your Bread?

The Power of Quiet Time

Growing The Bottom Line

When

What’s It Like to Retire?

Creating a Safe Relationship

Disease and Relationships

Trying to De-Stress

Stress Reduction

Empathy

Your Dog Can’t Swim

What kind of listener do you want me to be?

Dealing with Criticism

Run Your Own Race, Part II

Run Your Own Race

The Next Chapter in Our Lives

Creating New Normals

Beating the Holiday Blues

Emotional Triggers

“You’re with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company” —Diane Von Furstenburg

The grace of forgiveness

Trying to blend a blended family

The Umbrella Story

How Disease Impacts A Relationship

Overcoming the Holiday Blues

Talking Dog for Sale

Trying to Blend a Blended Family

The Worst Beating I Ever Took

“It’s my fault!”

You had it last!

It's All About Me!

The grace of forgiveness

Cooling the brain

Life's Puzzle-Box Top

Simon Says

Unenforceable Rules

Stone Face

It's All About Me!

You Lost That Loving Feeling

Don't Tell Me What To Do

Do it now

No Opportunity to Repair

The Umbrella Story

How Do We Express Our Love?














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Professional Columns -
Relationships by Dr. Bill Austin





TRYING TO DE-STRESS

We are continuing with our series on the causes of and ways to cope with stress. In her book, The Dynamics of Relationships, Patricia Kramer lists many of the ways we create unnecessary stress in our lives. The list includes:


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  • The need to win
  • The need to be perfect
  • Tendency to over-plan
  • Not being appropriately prepared
  • Persistent need to advance and be recognized
  • Inability to relax without guilt
  • Fear of rejection
  • Impatience with delays and interruptions
  • Involvement with multiple projects with many deadlines
  • Chronic sense of time urgency
  • Excessive competitive drive
  • Fear of failure
  • Compulsion to overwork

Then Patricia asks, "Which of these describe you?" Some of us can relate to many of these. Probably the one stressor that we see acted out most often is impatience. We have to wait on others who are chronically late for appointments or when we have to wait in a long line at the grocery store. Invariably, after we wait for what seems like a long time, the store decides to open another register. Some of us act like the store is doing this to us on purpose. We feel entitlement – we should not have to be inconvenienced.

How many times in our life
experiences
have we made logs into bears? We
turn our logs into bears by the way we
perceive
our mistakes or failures.

Something that has helped me in this area is to look at my watch when I get in line. It is amazing that the time the watch says I waited is not as long as what I perceived. Whether we fuss out loud or not, we still have to wait.

One stressor that is not on the above list is creating mountains out of molehills. When camping on the Appalachian Trail, I discovered that I have a strong fear of bears. The realization came during the first night. As we sat around the campfire, a friend who was very familiar with the mountains announced, "You know these woods are full of bears." Needless to say, I didn’t sleep too well that night. I heard every noise.

The next day while hiking, we thought we saw a bear on the path ahead of us. My heart was beating wildly in my neck. I felt panicky because there was nowhere to run for safety. What do I do? Run? Play dead? Then I realized that what I thought was a bear was actually a log! What a change in my feelings! I had all the feelings for the log that I would have had for a bear. It was my perception that created all the fear and stress.

How many times in our life experiences have we made logs into bears? We turn our logs into bears by the way we perceive our mistakes or failures.




Dr. Austin has decades of experience dealing with relationships. He charges clients on a sliding scale according to their ability to pay. His first book, Creating Our Safe Place: Articles on Healthy Relationships, was published in 2004. His second book, Keeping It Safe, was published in 2009 and can be purchased through amazon.com, publishamerica.com, and at the Parrish Book Store in Virginia Beach.  He is also a sought-after speaker at meetings and seminars.

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