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生活 - 专栏

如何摆脱不必要的压力

Melanie Mannarino 2017年02月03日

在今年一劳永逸地收获更多的幸福

 

生活充满了压力:需要付账单、需要照顾你所爱的那位(包括两条腿和四条腿的)、需要持家,除此之外可能还得应付带薪资的工作……其他的我就不多说了。事实上,美国心理协会最近的美国压力调查称,妇女的平均压力水平为5.3(总分10分),第X代和千禧一代的整体压力在5.8-6之间(生育高峰期一代平均压力为4.3,而且大家可以感谢满脸笑容的祖母和叔祖母这一“成熟”的一代,因为她们降低了女性的整体压力)。

变得更加开心的秘诀何在?发现生活中不必要的压力源,并彻底地摒弃它们。方法如下:

压力源:让你感到烦闷的朋友

你有这么一位朋友,你同意和他一块吃午饭,但在最后一分钟你取消了,因为你就是做不到。为什么你会有这种感觉并不值得深究,可能她总是只顾着谈论自己,或者她是一位挖苦讽刺大师,亦或是因为她纯粹就是个烦人精。罗格斯大学社会学专家、《极度焦虑,压力会对我们造成什么样的伤害,应如何应对》一书的作者德博拉•卡尔表示,“如果你害怕和某人相处,那么这是一个你不可忽视的迹象。相信你的直觉,并有选择性地减少与其相处的时间。”但是,在这个过程中切勿处于被动状态,《心理学前沿》最近的一篇调查发现,相对于那些回避压力的人,那些主动应对压力的主体会获得更好的控制感和幸福感。要做到这一点,最简单的方法便是:远离此人,这样你就不用因为爽约而感到愧疚。

压力源:习惯性迟到

想象一下,如果你能够准时地出现在你的下一个活动中——不管是商务会面、体检或与姻亲的约会,你将是多么的放松?卡尔指出,你可以做到。她强调,“这是可控的。人们只需要在日程中把迟到考虑进去即可。”把通行时间纳入日历,这样,对于早上10点钟开始的会面,你的开会时间是九点半,而且总是要假设自己会因某事而出现拖延:养成搭乘更早车次的火车或巴士的习惯,为通行多预留15分钟的时间(或者预留更多时间,如果在城市附近的话)。卡尔最后的建议:“远离屏幕!我们总是会想,再看一封邮件就行——但是此事有可能会演变成为半个小时的拉锯战,而接下来的事情不用我说,你迟到了。”

压力源:凌乱的居所

这一切的开始是如此的简单:你得赶着做晚餐,因此你把周一的邮件放在了桌上,并发誓一会看。但不久之后你满脑子都是休息,所以你又将此事推到了明天……而明天这一过程又会重复。今天已经到了周六,高高堆起的文件已经开始摇摇欲坠,而此时你最不愿做的事就是打开垃圾邮件,并在接下来的一个小时内整理账单。哈尔说:“人们都有拖延的习惯,凌乱日积月累,它会消耗我们的精力,影响我们的效率。”人们的本能是对其视而不见,但时间越长,罪恶感就越强烈。哈尔建议,与其心怀愧疚和挫败感,还不如换一个角度来看待此事。“将它看做是呼唤行动的号召,而且你是这次行动的指挥。”与其花一下午的时间整理凌乱不堪的橱柜,并藉此来惩罚自己,倒不如草拟一个行动计划(使用这些专业的整理诀窍),将其贴在墙上,并确保你所策划的事情在完成之后能让你自己感到满意,不管它是哈尔最喜欢的激浪轻怡饮料(Diet Mountain Dew),做个美甲,还是与心爱的人共度夜晚时光。(对于那封邮件,花45秒打开,然后每日进行清理,千万不要再次让自己为长长的邮件目录而抓狂。)

压力源:需要面对的事情

很多人在洗碗、刮腿或者遛狗时还想象着和别人进行不愉快对话,在这一方面你并不是唯一的案例,不知道这么说你是否会好受点。卡尔说,这一过程被称之为反刍。如果你不想办法停止这种行为,你会一直重复这一过程(然后感到压力,然后又反刍,接着又是压力、反刍……)她指出,“对于某些人来说,面对是一件困难的事情。人们应通过对思考某件事情的时长设定截止时间来控制这一行为。花10分钟来思考这件事情,为自己写下谈话要点,然后把它放在一边。”下一步:进行对话。因为一旦你迈出这一步,你的大脑就会告诉你下一步该怎么做,从而为自己带来内心的宁静。

压力源:难以说“不”

如果你不擅长说“不”,这件事不光是你自己清楚,也很有可能逃不过其他人的眼睛。而且要求你做事情的人越多,你感到的压力也就越大——从你说“可以”的那一分钟起,一直到完成他人的要求(例如搭车、推荐或一包曲奇)为止。摆脱这一压力最简单的办法便是学会说“不”。卡尔指出,在这之前,尝试委婉地说“不”,以此来传递拒绝的信息。她解释说,“如果有人要求你做工作上的事,将任务转派给可能十分看重这一机会的新人。如果你买了一张音乐会门票,但又不想去,把它送给那些喜爱音乐会的人。”卡尔警告说,不要把愧疚当作做任何事的理由,结果可能会事与愿违。她说:“想象一下,如果你接受了第十项工作,然后弄砸了,结果会怎样,但如果一开始就拒绝接受这一工作,结果又会如何?”

压力源:家庭风波

说到家庭,它给人们的感觉就是一种无法摆脱的事物。但是,如果在每次聚会和庆祝活动之前,你都会手心冒汗,感到不安,或有预订国际航班的冲动,那么你不得不面对这样一个事实:你的家庭让你倍感压力。然而,另一个事实在于:你也可以有其他的选择。哈尔指出,“当你知道自己的负面情绪触发点之后,你就会更加小心,并进行自我控制。”想想失控的原因:是母亲被动攻击型的玩笑、堂兄的妒忌?还是因为父亲更疼爱侄女和侄子而不是你的孩子?一旦你发现了问题,那么就要下决心改变自己以往的应对方式。哈尔指出,“人们可能会让你感到抓狂,但是如何应对取决于你自己。”与其感觉像个受害者,不如主动出击:忽视母亲负面的评价,并把话题转移到你最近取得的成就;如果你的堂兄在房间里,观看Netflix上那些美满团圆的电视剧。哈尔表示,“如果你对对手了如指掌,那么你将变得斗志昂扬。”但是如果所有的方法都不奏效怎么办?卡尔建议减少与家庭共处的时间。她说,“放弃某些关系或责任能够让人如释重负”。

压力源:过去说过的话和做过的事

昨天与丈夫吵架了。上一次离职弄得沸沸扬扬。当人们不断地在脑海中回顾某一事情的时候——即便自己很清楚覆水难收的道理——人们会陷入反刍循环。卡尔表示,“研究表明,反刍所带来的压力往往超过了被反刍的真实事件所带来的压力。事实上,你在重复体验这一境遇。”如果要打破这一循环,她建议,“让自己停下来,然后思考能从这件事获得什么教训?如果有,吸取教训之后将事情抛之脑后。如果没有,则告诉自己事情有时候会向不好的方向发展,而且自己以后不会再重蹈覆辙。”另一个摆脱压力的方式在于:听取朋友的意见。卡尔指出,“让他们成为帮助你走出反刍循环的理性呼声。我们都认为自己是十分重要的,但你有可能是唯一一个仍在反刍自己过去言行的人。” (财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

Life is stressful: You’ve got bills to pay, loved ones to care for (of the two-legged and four-legged variety), a home to maintain, plus possibly a paying job on top of that… you know the rest. In fact, according to the most recent Stress in America Survey by the American Psychological Association, women report an average stress level of 5.3 out of 10—and Gen X and Millennials overall have average stress levels between 5.8 and 6 (Boomers are 4.3 on average, and you can thank your mellow grandmothers and great-aunts of the generation dubbed “Matures” for bringing down the overall female stress level).

The secret to getting more mellow? Identify the unnecessary stressors on your life and shed them, once and for all. Here’s how

The Stressor: The Friend Who Brings You Down

You know this friend: the one you agree to meet for lunch, then cancel on at the last minute because you just can’t even. It doesn’t matter why you feel this way—maybe she only talks about herself, maybe she’s a master at backhanded compliments, maybe she’s plain annoying. “If you dread getting together with someone, that’s a sign you can’t ignore,” says Deborah Carr, a sociology professor at Rutgers University and author of Worried Sick, How Stress Hurts Us and How to Bounce Back. “Trust your instincts and selectively cut back on time with them.” But don’t be passive about it—a recent study published in Frontiers of Psychology found that subjects who actively confronted their stress felt a greater sense of control and well-being than those who avoided it altogether. The easiest way to do this: Don’t make plans with this person—then you won’t have to feel guilty breaking them.

The Stressor: Being Chronically Late

Imagine how relaxed you’d be if you showed up to your next appointment—whether a business meeting, a physical exam, or a date with the in-laws—on time? You can, says Carr. “This is controllable,” she promises. “You just have to build your lateness into your schedule.” Include travel time in your calendar, so that for an appointment that actually starts at 10 am you block off time starting at 9:30. And always assume you’ll get held up: Get in the habit of taking the earlier train or bus and allowing an extra 15 minutes for traffic (or more, if you’re near a city). Carr’s final advice: “Step away from your screen! We always think, I’ll just check one more email—but that can spiral into a half-hour and the next thing you know, you’re late.”

The Stressor: A Messy House

It starts off so simply: You’ve got to rush to make dinner, so you stick Monday’s mail on the counter and vow to go through it later. But later you just want to relax, so you push it off till tomorrow… where you repeat the process. Now it’s Saturday, the pile is ready to topple, and the last thing you want to do is open junk mail and sort bills for the next hour. “We procrastinate, clutter accumulates, and it saps our energy and affects our productivity,” says Hall. The instinct is to ignore it, feeling guiltier the longer you do. Instead of feeling shame and frustration, Hall suggests reframing the mess: “Don’t judge yourself—feel empowered!” she encourages. “See it as a call to action, where you’re in control.” Instead of feeling punished by, say, an afternoon spent in the black hole of your closet, sketch out an action plan (using these pro organizing tips), tape it to your wall, and make sure you’ve planned for something you love waiting for you when you’re done, whether it’s Hall’s favorite, a Diet Mountain Dew, a manicure, or a night out with your partner. (As for that mail, take the 45 seconds to open and sort it daily, and never let catalogs drive you batty again.)

The Stressor: Confrontations You Need to Have

If it makes you feel better, you’re not the only one who has imaginary difficult conversations with people while you’re washing dishes, shaving your legs, or taking the dog for a walk. It’s called ruminating, says Carr, and if you don’t find a way to stop it, you’ll just keep going (and stressing, and thinking, and stressing, and thinking…). “Confrontation is hard for some of us,” she says. “Control it by imposing deadlines on how long you’re willing to consider something. Take 10 minutes to think about the issue, write up talking points for yourself, then set it aside.” Next step:Have the conversation. Because once you do, your brain can move onto other, more peaceful thoughts.

The Stressor: Not Being Able to Say No

Chances are, if you’re not good at saying no, not only do you know it, but others do, too. And the more people ask you to do something for them, the more stress you feel—from the minute you say yes to the minute the request (for a ride, a recommendation, a batch of cookies) is completed. The easiest way to shed that stress is to learn to let “Nope” roll right off your tongue. Until then, try reframing your “no” as a way to pay it forward, says Carr. “If you’re asked to do something at work, delegate the task to a junior person who might appreciate the opportunity,” she explains. “If you bought a concert ticket and simply don’t want to go, give your ticket to someone who will enjoy the experience.” And don’t use guilt as a reason to say yes to things, warns Carr—it can backfire. “Think about what will happen if you take on that tenth task and do a bad job, versus if you just declined in the first place,” she says.

The Stressor: Family Drama

When it comes to family, it may feel like you’re stuck with them. But if you get sweaty palms, a sinking feeling, or the urge to book an international flight before every get-together and celebration, it’s time to face your truth: Your family is stressing you out. The other truth: It doesn’t have to. “When you notice where your triggers are, you’ll feel more mindful and in control,” says Hall. Think before you go: Is it Mom’s passive-aggressive jibes? Your cousin’s jealous streak? The way your Dad favor’s your nieces and nephews over your own kids? Once you identify the problem, decide to change the way you usually react. “People may drive you insane,” says Hall. “But how you respond is on you.” Instead of feeling like the victim, take charge: Ignore Mom’s negative remarks and instead steer the conversation toward your recent accomplishments—or, if your cousin’s in the room, toward the latest Netflix reunion series. “When you know what you’re dealing with, your energy will swell,” says Hall. And if all else fails? Spend less time with your family, advises Carr. “Breaking away from certain relationships or obligations can be freeing,” she says.

The Stressor: Things You Said and Did in the Past

Yesterday’s fight with your husband. The dramatic way you left your last job. When you keep rehashing a situation in your mind—knowing very well it won’t change what happened—you’re stuck in a rumination loop. “Studies show rumination has stressful effects above and beyond the actual stressor you’re ruminating about,” says Carr. “In effect, you keep reliving the situation.” To break the cycle, she advises, “Stop yourself and think, Is there a lesson here? If so, learn from it and walk away. If not, realize that sometimes things go badly—and recognize that you won’t do it again.” Another way to push past the stress: Get a friend’s perspective. “Have them be the voice of reason to help you get out of your own head,” says Carr. “We all think we’re important, but chances are, you’re the only one still thinking about whatever you said or did.”

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