Dr. Phil and Relieving Stress

I caught most of the Dr. Phil show the other day and was struck by the quick fixes that were given to relieve stress.  One woman spoke about how she lost her job of $150,000 per year and had been out of work for over a year.  She was depressed, worried about losing her home (it was in foreclosure) and wasn’t getting along with her teenage daughter.  She also lost her mother to cancer that year.  This was such a sad story but not an unusual story.  In these tough economic times there are so many people out of work and unable to find a job and if they find a job it doesn’t pay nearly as well.  The expert adviser on the show, Dr. Lawless, said there are a few simple things you can do to relieve your stress.  Here are some of the things he mentioned:

  1. Smell fresh flowers
  2. Chant over and over something positive
  3. Eat specific foods that help relieve stress
  4. Listen to certain types of music (like the Blue Man Group)


I think there might have been a few other suggestions but these were the ones I remembered the most.  As a licensed therapist in Orlando I see many people who are experiencing loss and see no light at the end of the tunnel.  They have gone for such a long time without seeing something positive they begin to lose hope.  It would be nice if you could just do a few things and your life would be so much better however, that usually isn’t true.  I agree that the tips above are helpful but they aren’t magical.  Most people are looking for something close to a miracle.  They want out of their misery.

One of the most challenging questions I deal with all the time is why do bad things happen to good people? I have seen people no matter how good they are suffer and have problems that are out of their control.  Suffering is unavoidable and part of life.  With that said, I try to give people tools to help them deal with their suffering so they don’t fall apart and stop living.  The other tips I usually give are the following:

  1. Get back to the basics.  Make sure you eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep.
  2. Exercise
  3. Spend time with people you care about
  4. Rely on your spiritual support system
  5. Take extra good care of yourself (don’t be a martyr)
  6. Spend time doing things you enjoy (allow more time to do something good for yourself)
  7. Ask for help
  8. Focus on what is positive and good
  9. Avoid focusing on the negative
  10. Avoid isolation (one of the leading causes of depression)

Suffering is a part of life so the sooner we figure out how to live with it the better off we will be.

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