BWWMHs Lunch and Learn focuses on stress

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 22, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The focus of the Lunch and Learn program held at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital on Thursday was how to reduce the amount of stress and worry in your life.

Tim Palus of the Horizon Health Behavioral Health Services and Tombigbee Geriatric Behavioral Health system was the speaker for the luncheon and discussed in-depth how to recognize and deal with stress and worry. While Palus specializes in geriatric health, these techniques can be useful to everyone.

Palus defines worry as &8220;thinking about something that has happened or will happen in an obsessive way.&8221; He went on to say that worry has become a part of the popular culture.

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As part of the information provided for the event, participants were given an exercise booklet to help them think analytically about the conditions of worry. Some of the exercises included writing a response to the following questions:

What is my particular definition of worry?

What words describe my worry?

What physical and mental changes do I experience as a result of my worrying?

According to Palus, worry can be a constructive exercise, just as long as a person maintains control of it. Worry can often provide motivation, inspire creative thought, cause reassessment of a situation and encourage preparation.

When worry becomes a problem, however, is when a person becomes chronically anxious, consistently makes negative predictions, or has physical symptoms including restlessness, fatigue, muscle tension and sleep disturbances.

One of the main focuses of the program was to offer some ways to cope with stress when it becomes a problem. Palus said that there are two kinds of techniques to reduce stress: thinking techniques and action techniques.

Thinking techniques involve focusing on the true issue of the worry and connecting it with the feelings generated by the issue. Another part of this technique is talking about these emotions associated with worry. Palus also said for some, journaling may be an option for a thinking technique.

Action techniques can involve writing down a particular situation that is worrying you, then making a list of possible things that you can do to change that situation. An important way to succeed with these action techniques is to turn positive thoughts into negative thoughts.

There are other techniques that Palus recommends for battling worry, which include reciting affirmations such as &8220;Everything will be ok,&8221; and &8220;I have done this before, so I can do it again.&8221; These positive thoughts will help your mind get into a perspective that is more conducive to dealing with, rather than struggling with, worry.

If you would like to learn more about these techniques, contact Tombigbee Geriatric Behavioral Health at 287-2806 or visit