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How To Avoid Unnecessary Stress


There's enough stress in life in general and particularly in life after a diagnosis without unnecessary stress.

Unnecessary stress is totally individual. What's unnecessary to you may be very necessary to someone else, including people close to you. To help, identify the stressors in your life. One way to do that is to write down your daily activities and assign a value from 1 to 5.  1 is "a little stressful" and 5 is "most stressful."  

For a situation that provokes anxiety or stress, ask yourself:

  • Do I have to do this?
  • If so, is there a way for me to do it that is less stressful?  For example:
    • If you have difficulty speaking up for yourself, can you pretend to yourself that you are speaking on behalf of someone you care for instead of you?
    • Can you write a letter instead of making a call?
    • If dinner at a particular friend's house is like visiting with George and Martha from Edward Albee's Who's Afraid Of Virginia Wolf, do you really have to go to dinner at their house? Can you see them individually instead? 
  • If there is no way to reduce the stress, is there someone else who can take care of the situation for you? For example, a family member or friend, or a paid professional?
  • Can you change your reaction to the stressor from a negative to a positive?

If you do have to engage in a stressful event, look for techniques that work for you to reduce the stress. For example, meditation. Or keeping busy while waiting for test results. For more techniques, see Techniques For Coping With Stress, Also see: Holiday Stress and Depression

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