Stress Management: Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept

Stress Management: Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept

Practice the 4 A’s of Stress Management

While stress is an automatic response from your nervous system, some stressors arise at expected situations such as meeting monthly work targets, driving during rush hours or taking a blood test. When facing such predictable situations which will cause stress, you can either change the situation or change your reaction. When determining what to do in any given scenario, it’s useful and helpful to think of the four A’s: avoid, alter, adapt or accept.

1) Avoid unnecessary stress

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It’s unhealthy to avoid a stressful situation that needs to be resolved, but there are a number of unnecessary stressors in life that you can eliminate.

  • Learn how to say “no”. Know your limits be it your work or personal life, taking on more than you can manage will cause stress.
  • Take control of your environment. If you’re stucked in a jam in the morning when you travel to work and that causes stress to you, try to leave home earlier to avoid jam.
  • Plan on your to-do list. List down your schedule, responsibilities, daily tasks and deadlines. If you’ve got too much on your plate, prioritize your tasks based on how urgent the task is.

2) Alter the situation

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Alter the situation if you can’t avoid a stressful situation. This often involves changing the way you communicate and carry out your daily life.

  • Express your feelings instead of keeping your emotions. If someone or something is bothering you, be assertive and communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If your colleagues are chatting and you can’t work, tell them off in a polite manner. If you don’t voice out how you feel, resentment will build and stress will increase.
  • Be willing to compromise. If you and your partner are constantly arguing, both you and your partner would have to compromise to change each other’s behaviour in order to find a happy middle ground.
  • Start a balanced schedule. All work and play is a recipe for burnout. Find a balance between work and personal time.

3) Adapt to the stressors

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Adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

  • Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a positive perspective. Rather than raging at traffic jam, switch on your favourite music and enjoy it.
  • Adjust your expectations and standards. Stop being a perfectionism and set too high expectations and standards. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others as long as it is good enough.
  • Practice gratitude. When you’re breaking down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in life such as people you love and your own positive qualities.

4) Accept the things you can’t change

In certain stressful situations which you can’t avoid, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things the way it is. There are situations which you can’t avoid such as death of a loved one, serious illness or recession. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.

  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. A lot of things in life is outside of our control especially the behaviour of people. Choose to change your reaction towards them instead of stressing out over them.
  • Positive view. When you’re faced with challenges in life, look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If you’ve done a mistake which has contributed to the stressful situation, reflect on it and learn from it.
  • Learn to forgive. No one is perfect and people make mistakes. Overcome your anger and resentment by forgiving and moving on.
  • Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted family member or friend about your stressful situation. You can also talk to a trusted therapist.

Download Teleme App and consult a psychologist today on stress management

 

 Dr. Khairi Rahman

Dr. Khairi Rahman

Psychologist

 

Ms. Usha Ponnudurai

Ms. Usha Ponnudurai

Psychologist

 

Mr. Paul K. Jambunathan

Mr. Paul K. Jambunathan

Psychologist

 

Casual Get-Together to Talk About Mental Health

Casual Get-Together to Talk About Mental Health

Tea & Talk session by Minda Kami is a casual gathering that brings together people of all background to talk about mental health and daily life struggles.

 

Minda Kami is a Malaysian-based youth mental health initiative formed by a group of passionate individuals who are concerned about the mental health issues in Malaysia. Minda Kami is formed with a mission to increase awareness about mental health. They provide platforms for discussions and establishing projects that will normalise conversations about mental health.

 

To learn more about Minda Kami, head to their website here.

 

Some of us find it hard to open up to people who are close to us while others want to open up and seek help but fear of being judged. Tea & Talk provides a safe space for people to talk about mental health in a warm and discrimination-free environment. The session usually takes place in cafes around the Klang Valley area and is limited to a small group which consist around 10 people. This is to ensure everyone gets a chance to listen and share.

 

Pleas note that the session is not intended to be an alternative to support groups/therapy. Instead, it’s a safe space for people to express their feelings, struggles and issues.

 

This time around, Teleme is pleased to collaborate with Minda Kami by bringing a clinical psychologist to lead the sharing session.

 

Ms Adlin Hamid, a clinical psychologist, who is onboard on Teleme led the session. Kudos to her time and effort! Ms Adlin has her own centre called Twenty-two: The Academy. The centre provides services such as clinical psychology, psychological assessment, programs and trainings and general service. General service is for any one that aims to learn new skills, improve their mental wellbeing and their of life.

 

The session took place in Teleme’s office and special thanks to Minda Kami for providing food and drinks for participants! Minda Kami is not supported by any governmental or private bodies and minimal funding is required to raise awareness through events and campaigns. You can help them by giving them a small token of appreciate in form of donation to help support them and read more on their past, on-going and future projects following the link below:

Go Fund Me: Minda Kami

teaandtalk-mentalhealth

In this session, participants are able to share their experience, feelings or any struggles with the help and advise from Ms Adlin. Participants are also able to get guidance from a clinical psychologist and meet new friends! All details will be kept confidential as Teleme  and Minda Kami would want to provide a safe space for people to talk. No judgement and no criticism.

teaandtalk-mentalhealth2

The session is conducted in hope to give more emotional support to those in need. Don’t be afraid to seek for help from a professional be it for your own or family members and friends. Users can now consult any psychologist online at the comfort of their own without the need to step out from their house.

To consult Ms Adlin, download Teleme’s mobile app or click on the image below to start chatting with her.

 

Stress Management

Stress Management

Stress Management

It’s almost impossible to avoid stress in your daily life. You’re bound to meet your work targets, pay bills and fulfill family responsibilities. Your daily tasks and deadlines are never-ending and you can never have enough hours in a day to complete your tasks. Ultimately these demands build up and exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.

Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A small amount of stress can help you perform under pressure, help you to stay focus and motivate you to excel in your work. If you frequently find yourself feeling worn out and overwhelmed, do take control of your lifestyle, emotions, thoughts and actions. No matter how stressful your life is, there is always ways to overcome the pressure and regain control.

 

Importance of Stress Management

image credit: Stock Unlimited

If your stress level is too high and cause negative impacts to your well-being, you need to take control of your stress level in order to be mentally and psychically healthy. The ultimate goal in stress management is to have a balanced life. A balanced life consists of sufficient time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun –and the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on.

How effective stress management is will depend on individuals on the method works best for them.

Identify the Sources of Stress in Your Daily Life

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Identify what causes stress from an external or internal perspective. In addition, stress may not necessarily cause by negative events such as divorce or failure to close business deal. Stress can also be contributed by positive events such as job promotion, getting married or going to college. These positive events place high demands or bigger responsibility on you. The events mentioned earlier are mainly external factors.

Internal factors may be due to your personal thoughts which are self-generated such as unrealistic expectations / perfectionism, low self-esteem or being pessimistic about life.

Certain stress factors are also caused by your own behaviour such as worrying too much on work deadlines which may be due to your own procrastination, rather than the actual job demands.

To identify your true sources of stress, you’ll need to understand your habits, attitudes and excuses.

  • Do you explain away stress as temporary even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life or as a part of your personality?
  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Create a stress journal and analyse the common problems of your stress. Note down on what do you feel, how do you react and what do you normally do to make yourself feel better if you face certain scenario. You can see a trend from here on the sources of stress.

Your stress level will be outside of your control until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it.

Change Your Unhealthy Stress Management Strategies to a Healthy One

Your stress journal can help you identify how you react to stress and how you cope with it. Many people have unhealthy habits to cope with stress and make them feel better in the short term. Coping stress with unhealthy habits will not only impact your mental condition but also your physical condition in the long term.

image credit: Stock Unlimited

Examples of unhealthy habits to cope with stress:

  • Smoking / Alcohol / Drugs
  • Unhealthy eating habits such as junk food
  • Procrastination
  • Sleeping too little or sleeping too much
  • Release stress on others
  • Avoid your family, friends, activities or events

 

image credit: Stock Unlimited

Examples of healthy routines/activities to manage stress:

  • Exercise / Sports / Gym
  • Yoga / Pilates / Meditation classes
  • Volunteering
  • Healthy meal plan
  • Connecting to family and friends
  • Make fun and relaxation time such as listening to music, massage therapy etc
  • Get enough rest / sleep

 

Coming up next on Teleme’s blog: Practice the 4 A’s of Stress Management.

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Download Teleme App and consult a psychologist on stress management

 

 Dr. Khairi Rahman

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Ms. Usha Ponnudurai

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Psychologist

 

Mr. Paul K. Jambunathan

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Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a normal emotional experience and everyone will experience some form of anxiety at any point in their life. Public speaking, taking an exam or seeing cockroaches/spiders will make most people anxious. However, we cope by being cautious and prepared. It normally does not interrupt us from doing our daily tasks. Anxiety disorder happens when the feeling of intense fear and distress is overwhelming and it interferes with daily activities.

 

Types of Anxiety Disorder and its Symptoms

Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions and each has its own unique symptoms. Nevertheless, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common which is constant and excessive fear and worry in situations that is not life threatening.

Three most common types of anxiety disorder are listed below.

1) Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is often characterized by panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear (may include heart palpitations, chest pain, pounding heart, shortness of breath, choking, sweating, trembling, dizziness and stomach upset).

image credit: Freepik

Symptoms:

  • Sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear
  • Intense worries of when the next panic attack will occur
  • Feelings of being out of control when experiencing panic attack

2) Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

People with GAD are excessively worried about their everyday life, making them unable to go about their daily routine. They will also feel nauseous, and have bad headaches. They often find it difficult to complete their daily routine and lose concentration.

image credit: Freepik

Symptoms:

  • Easily fatigue
  • Restless
  • Sleeping problems
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Loss concentration

3) Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is intense anxiety and fear of being judged, negatively viewed, embarrassed, fearful or rejected in social or performance situations. It should not be confused with feeling shy. People with social anxiety disorder will avoid taking part in conversations, participating in classes or activities and will eventually isolate themselves from public.

image credit: Freepik

 

Symptoms:

  • Very self-conscious when there’s people around and fear of being judged, embarrassed or rejected
  • Highly anxious being around people and finding it hard to blend in or to start a conversation
  • Difficulty in making new friends or maintaining friendships
  • Nausea or sick to the stomach feeling when being around people
  • Avoid places with people
  • Worry about an upcoming event where other people will be attending

Causes of Anxiety Disorder

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1) Genetics: Research shows that some families will have higher than average numbers of members experiencing anxiety issues. Anxiety disorders runs in families.

2) Environment: An unhappy, stressful or traumatic event such as violence, attack, abuse or death of a loved one is often linked to the development of anxiety disorder.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Certain physical health conditions such as overactive thyroid or low blood sugar can worsen anxiety disorder symptoms. Healthcare professionals will normally evaluate through physical examinations, tests and interviews before referring patients to a mental health professional. A mental health professional will do a thorough mental health check-up as anxiety disorders often co-exist with other related conditions such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The types of treatments may vary for each individual and will be advised by your mental health professional. Treatments are largely similar to depression treatments, such as psychotherapy, medication, stress management and finding relaxation techniques to combat stress.

Source:
National Institute of Mental Health, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, National Alliance of Mental Illness

 

Search

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Download Teleme App today and consult a psychologist/psychotherapist on anxiety care and treatment:

   

 Dr. Khairi Rahman

Dr. Khairi Rahman

Psychologist

 

Ms. Usha Ponnudurai

Ms. Usha Ponnudurai

Psychologist

 

Mr. Ko Teik Yen

Mr. Ko Teik Yen

Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy

Helpline or Support Group to Reach out to.. Don’t Suffer in Silence

Helpline or Support Group to Reach out to.. Don’t Suffer in Silence

Who can you reach out to for emotional help or support?

 

Many of us choose to bottle up our feelings and avoid negative thoughts which troubles us greatly. All of us goes through some difficulties in our studies, relationships or career at some point in our life. Sometimes all we need is to have someone to listen to us. We just need a safe space to express our troubles, fears or anxiety without being told that “everything will be ok” or that “life goes on”.  In some instances, your friends and family may not be able to give you the support you need.

 

If you need to reach out to someone, you can try the support groups below. They will listen to you without judgment and happy to help give you mental and moral support. They will NOT judge you, lecture you or admonish you.  Most importantly, you don’t need to reveal your identity or any personal details.

 

1)     Befrienders

 

Befrienders is a non-for-profit organisation providing emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to people who are lonely, in distress, in despair, and having suicidal thoughts – without charge.

 

Befrienders provide confidential emotional support to those in distress and suicidal, via 24-hour telephone helpline and also email, managed by trained volunteers.

For emotional support and someone to talk to, please call Befrienders helpline at 603-79568145 (24 hours, everyday) or email sam@befrienders.org.my

 

 

2)     Minda Kami

 

MINDA is a Malaysian-based youth mental health initiative that is formed by a group of individuals who are passionate and concerned about the mental health issues in Malaysia. Minda Kami provides a safe space for people to open up about their mental health conditions and share their struggles when it gets too overwhelmed to carry on their own.

From time to time, they hold group sharing session called “Tea & Talk”. “Tea & Talk” is a casual gathering which brings people from all backgrounds to talk about mental health and daily life struggles. The session is normally in a group of 10 people. It’s also a great chance to meet new friends whom you can find it easier to open up to and seek help.

For emotional support, please drop Minda Kami a message via email, Facebook or Twitter and the team will respond to you accordingly based on the team’s availability. Please note that Minda Kami’s platform is not for emergency cases for distress/suicidal.

Email: minda.initiatives@gmail.com

Twitter: twitter.com/mindakami

Facebook: facebook.com/mindakami/

 

However, do note that support groups are NOT an alternative for treatment or therapy.

Send an online message to our list of qualified counsellors and psychologists if you wish to go for treatment at their centres.

 

 

Depression: Antidepressants and Other Alternate Treatments

Depression: Antidepressants and Other Alternate Treatments

Image source: Self

 

Depression Care and Treatment: Antidepressants 

 

Medication may help relieve some of the symptoms of moderate and severe depression quickly in the short term and may seem to be the fastest solution. However, it doesn’t cure the underlying problem and it’s usually not a long-term solution.

Antidepressant medications also come with side effects and safety risks. Research suggests that some medications may clash with your current condition and worsen your depression symptoms.

 

Side effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

The most widely prescribed antidepressants come from a class of medications known as SSRIs, which include drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox and Paxil.

The SSRIs act on the brain chemical serotonin, which not only helps to regulate emotion, but also plays a role in digestion, pain, sleep, mental clarity, and other bodily functions. As a result, SSRIs can cause a wide range of side effects, including:

Source: Help Guide

 

Side effects normally improve with time when your body has adjusted to the medication.

If you go “cold turkey” or stop taking SSRIs abruptly, you may experience serious withdrawal symptoms.

image credit: Pixabay

Antidepressants and Suicide Risk

Antidepressants treatment may cause greater negative effect on people, in other words, worsen their depression symptoms. Anyone taking antidepressants should be monitored closely for any suicidal thoughts or behaviour especially if they’re taking it for the first time or has increased their dosage.

 

There are warning signs for you to spot in yourself or people around you and if spotted, contact your doctor or your therapist immediately. Antidepressants suicide warning signs includes the following:

Source: Help Guide

 

Other Alternate Treatments for Depression

image credit: Stock Unlimited

1) Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga or tai chi to reduce stress and boost feelings of joy and well-being

 

2) Acupuncture which uses fine needles on specific points on the body for therapeutic purposes by a licensed qualified professional

 

First, it is important to understand and learn about your depression. You will need to know the root cause of your depression and how it affects your mood and your actions in order to pick the right treatment. Every patient is different, and it takes time to find the right treatment or the right therapist.

 

Always remember that you’re not alone on this journey. Get support from people around you, don’t hesitate to talk to your family and friends or reach out to a depression support group. Seeking for help is not a weakness and it is never a burden to others.

 

Sources: Help GuideBeyond BluePostpartum Progress

 

Read more about depression care and treatment:

1) Lifestyle Changes

2) Therapies

Download Teleme App for FREE and consult a psychologist today

    

 Dr. Khairi Rahman

Dr. Khairi Rahman

Psychologist

 

Ms. Usha Ponnudurai

Ms. Usha Ponnudurai

Psychologist

 

Mr. Paul K. Jambunathan

Mr. Paul K. Jambunathan

Psychologist

 

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