Better Ways to Cope with Stress: Your Way Out of the Toxic Triangle Brattleboro VT
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Better Ways to Cope with Stress: Your Way Out of the Toxic Triangle
Taking Care of You
|Better Ways to Cope with Stress: Your Way Out of the Toxic Triangle |
By Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D.
Feb 12, 2006, 19:23
Depressive symptoms, unhealthy eating habits, and heavy drinking unite to create a space that is so poisonous for women that I have called it the toxic triangle. Eating, Drinking, Overthinking will help you understand your own relationship to the toxic triangle. It is not just for women who have clinical depression, diagnosed eating disorders, or alcoholism. It is for women who dance around the edges of the toxic triangle, with moderate symptoms of depression, unhealthy eating patterns, or heavy drinking
Eating, Drinking, Overthinking teaches women how to transform their vulnerabilities into strengths, to help women develop the tools to change the way they cope with stressful circumstances. Here are some of the major steps toward positive change:
1. Step back and notice what you are thinking and feeling.
One way to do this is to use mindfulness techniques, which teach us to notice our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and memories without immediately categorizing them as good or bad. We learn to be more compassionate toward ourselves, responding to our thoughts and feelings as a friend might, rather than as a slave to a master. By being able to step back and notice, rather than be overwhelmed or ruled, by our feelings, we become better able to choose how we want to feel and act in difficult situations.
Mindfulness techniques also teach you to be more aware of the present moment. By practicing being with our feelings and thoughts we can become less frightened and overwhelmed by them, and thus less motivated to escape them with unhealthy behaviors. We can also learn a great deal about ourselves, particularly the ways we have internalized social pressures to cast ourselves in a certain way (for example, in terms of how much we weigh) or to behave in certain ways (such as always putting others needs before our own).
If mindfulness techniques dont appeal to you, just try keeping a diary of key events in your day and how you think and feel about them. There may be something specific that triggers these urges and feelings a difficult interaction with another person, going by a restaurant, being alone at home. Or they may come from out of the blue. It doesnt matter, just write down what is going on, and then get quiet for a moment and tune into what is going through your head.
It is likely that you may begin to recognize the theme of relationships or a certain relationship in your diary accounts. As you begin to recognize the role of key people in these difficult times, use your reflective abilities to consider what it is about them that contributes to your sad or anxious feelings, or to your desire to drink or eat.
2. Conjure up an image of the Positive You.
Shut your eyes, get quiet, and conjure up a very positi...