Habits, Hassles and Stress

Kanner and Lazarus, in their July, 1981, research report in Psychology Today, found that one’s daily were even more predictive of illness than the stress of major life events. Therefore, learning new habits to cope with daily hassles is of major importance to our physical and emotional wellness. They recommend a positive approach to daily life as a “challenge.” To focus on what we may gain or learn, rather than on the losses or threats is to revolutionize our thinking! Focusing on the positive aspects of life allows us to use our strengths to live a more effective life.

“Around our house it is chaos time all the time. I never know what’s going to happen next. Can’t tell when to fix a meal and I don’t feel like it anyway.”

We change the amount of hassle we experience by changing our habitual attitudes and communication patterns which results in change of our behaviors. To do this we need new “tools” to work with in handling our problems, reducing hassles, and improving our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Two “tools” you will learn to use in in following this blog will help you reduce “hassles.” They are: a method for getting out of vicious circles and a method for changing feelings by changing the way you think. Both are methods for “cognitive restructuring” which you will find in subsequent blogs titled “Stepping Out of Vicious Circles” and “Cognitive Therapy Work Sheet”. We actually can decrease the stress of hassles that we have helped create.

“I just don’t know how much more I can take. There just hasn’t been any let-up. You know what I mean?”

The degree and duration of stress affect our ability to cope. Any change is stressful, even change for the better. Holmes and Rahe have rated a number of events that produce stress according to their correlation with physical and mental illnesses.

Using their rating scale, we can look at the major events in our lives, and add up the scores to estimate our levels of risk for “stress induced illnesses.” The higher the total score we have over a period of time, the greater the likelihood we have of becoming ill. See their results and calculate your level of stress at

After finding your score and percentage chance for potential illness in the next two years you are ready to use the two tools mentioned above, “Stepping Out of Vicious Circles” and “Cognitive Therapy Work Sheet”.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear or cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline and self-control.  II Timothy 1:7 Revised Standard Version

The wise person finds ways, often by changing their habits of thinking, to reduce daily hassles and to avoid multiple major stressors when possible.



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