Saturday, January 31, 2009

Life, etc.

The past couple of months of my life have been driven by stress. Stress at work, stress at home. Stress at being stressed out! I'm done with this crapola. It's time to get to the bottom of it.

Stress, stress, stress

I've been doing a lot of reading lately on how to analyze your stress and combat it. While I've found the book "Stress Management for Dummies" to be useful in the technique of stress reduction, it hasn't exactly helped me figure out why I'm reacting to these "stressors" the way I am. To figure it out, I went back to my thesis research about people's self-efficacy and their attributions. Certain theories state that a person's attributions have a direct effect on their self-efficacy. (Self-efficacy: a person's belief in their ability to handle a situation) The effect on a person's self-efficacy depends upon whether an attribution is static vs dynamic (unchangeable vs changeable), internal vs. external, as well as the outcome of an event (say, a good/bad grade or a win/loss at a competition).

Why am I so stressed out?

So I took a look at the deeper cause of my reactions to perceived stressful events, and I've basically figured out that I'm stressing out because I don't perceive myself capable of handling the situations that are causing me stress. Stupid, right? Well, why do I feel that way? I've handled stressful situations in the past and come through them with flying colors. Why do I still think I can't handle these things? There must be some part of me that attributes my previous successes to some external cause. It's not because I think on my feet and am a good problem solver - no! I am placing more weight on some external factor than I am on my own capabilities. (A dear friend of mine told me a day or two ago that I need to toot my own horn more often. I hate it when other people are right. :-P)

Removing the stress

Most of the stress I've been feeling lately could have been removed if I had taken the opportunity to think about how I'm reacting to stressful situations. Well, lesson learned on that one. Clearly I have been able to get this far in life through my capability to rise above obstacles. Even just now, while I was typing the previous sentence, I originally wrote "sheer will and determination" instead of "capability." Why am I not taking my own credit for my successes? The answer to that question needs more investigation, so I'll save that for another time.

So what's the bottom line? For me, it's to learn to take credit for overcoming obstacles and solving problems in my personal and professional lives. Once I do that, I should be able to combat any stressful situations.

It's either that or move to a South American country and become a beach bum. ;-)

1 comment:

Leigh said...

I love you Brooke! :-) Keep doing what you're doing