There are a number of different strategies for coping with, and managing stress. It is important to realize that no single method suits everyone: a combination of approaches is generally most effective. Also, what works for one person does not necessarily work for someone else.
First we will re-look at the ABC Model which was previously discussed in an earlier post, this time we will apply it to stress management:
A- ACTIVATING EVENT (events in people’s lives, events that might be distressing or troublesome for them).
B- BELIEF SYSTEM (person’s beliefs about the events that occur in their lives).
C- CONSEQUENCE (emotional and behavioural reactions which most of the time are dysfunctional or problematic if the event is experienced as distressing).
We have no control over A, the Activating event, it will happen anyhow, however, our beliefs about events will determine the consequences and therefore if we change our negative beliefs then we will be changing the consequences as well.
Now let's look at an EXAMPLE of how we can apply this to stress management.
The Table Below Gives a simple example of how people can easily become stressed out according to their particular belief system about an event:
From this example we can see how a different belief system can help to reduce stress. You can try to apply different examples to this model and see what you come up with. Most of the time you will find that stress can be reduced when people change their negative or demanding belief systems.
In stress management its very important to look at peoples belief systems about things and situations. This is because often people have irrational beliefs or assumptions about the way things should be. These irrational assumptions often puts pressure on them and causes stress. Stress can be reduced and even avoided if these irrational assumptions are changed to rational assumptions.
-Use the stressors that you have previously identified and apply it to the ABC Model.
-Your stressor will be the activating event, focus on what belief system you have been making use of, is it rational or irrational?
- Think about the alternative? How can you change your belief system, what will happen if you change it? Think about how your stress levels will decrease.
- If you’re feeling stressed out, it is very likely that you are making use of irrational belief systems, using an alternative, more rational belief system will help to reduce and perhaps even alleviate your stress.
Below is some examples of Irrational Beliefs or Assumptions and a Rational Alternative:
Think about this and consider the difference it makes to a person's stress levels when their irrational assumptions are changed to rational ones. Can you see how people can easily add extra stress to their lives by holding on to irrational beliefs?
Someone recently told me that "we should strive for excellence and not perfection". No human being is perfect and trying to be perfect adds stress to our lives. We should try and do the best we can in life, but then we have to leave things in the hands of Allaah (SWT) and accept our own shortcomings. This will help us to think about things in a more rational way and Insha'Allah will thus help to lower our stress levels, making us calmer and more peaceful.
May The Almighty Allah help us all!