Interview with the psychotherapist Irina Rassadina on how to deal with stress

Stress – one of the most popular words of the modern world, today and at all can be applied to everything that is happening around. The world is cruel, but this does not mean that we are fit to accept and experience constant discomfort. After all, you always want more, including learning how to independently pull yourself out of the depths of sadness. At a meeting organized by the Book Look shop and the Counseling Institute, the psychotherapist Irina Rassadina talked about how to learn to deal with stress and manage her emotional state. 

Is it possible to achieve life without stress or is it a utopia?

First, let’s define the terms. Stress is the normal physiological response of the body, which allows you to adapt to the effects of the environment. If I am in a state of forced restraint, then I start to look for a way out of the situation to achieve the goal, I collect all the resources. I put efforts, I am in a state of mobilization, otherwise – stress. This is a positive effect of stress. Man achieves the result and feels pleasure. That is, stress itself is useful. During a situation that the body perceives as stressful, adrenaline is ejected, blood vessels contract, pressure rises, the heart works faster, breathing becomes faster. To an ancient man it was necessary for survival: to run for prey or to flee. Quite another matter is the negative impact of distress,

Today, one does not need to run after prey, but as a threat a person can perceive anything – a physiological reaction is triggered, but no physical response occurs. This is the main problem, and not in stress as such. 

The physiological reactions that occur during stress are not calculated for a long period, and if the situation accumulates, the body malfunctions. 

How to prevent the accumulation of symptoms?

Enjoy! No one has come up with a better way. But consider this example: when I undergo an increased sensory load during the day (the load on the sense organs is sight, hearing), I come home and sit down to watch TV. Whether it is useful is a big question. I can sit and relax, but the tension in the body only grows. Therefore, it is important to keep track of what is happening to me and my body and whether it is a real pleasure or a habit still works. Often people substitute concepts and do not realize that it actually brings them pleasure.

But apart from the pleasure, it is important to consider what results this will bring to us. How do you feel after a night in the club, dancing in an altered state of consciousness? Like “excellent”, but … hard, is not it? Pleasure, which helps to fight stress, should not have negative consequences. A drug addict also gets pleasure, but how useful is it to him? By the way, excessively strong emotions, experiences can give the opposite effect – “collapse”, when there is a reaction of even greater inhibition. 

Why are stresses so common?

Stress reaction can happen literally on level ground. For example, many people like to drink coffee – to cheer up. At the same time, we do not always get the cheerfulness we wanted. We are excited, coffee does not allow us to concentrate, we turn on the work chair. There is an internal tension: the body says “I want to move,” and we must sit by the computer. Here it is – a stressful situation in a calm environment … 

How to deal with it correctly?

The simplest solution to the situation is to do what the body asks: go and jump. It would seem that everyone knows about this – but no one does. We have a lot of knowledge and beliefs that do not translate into behavior. To cope with stress, you need to train – to allow yourself to do and feel what you need at this particular moment. But adrenaline is also aggression, while women often tend to cope with it passively. They begin to discuss how everything around is bad. Try to ask someone from their relatives how they are doing – they will snatch: one has a sick child, the other – has cut a husband …

Then try to reformulate the question: what good happened to her for the day? This exercise is useful. Positive thinking is just another form in which we clothe thoughts and words. But our brain works like a ping-pong: we tell him good, but he always finds a negative answer. The process of positive thinking sprouts in two years. It is a habit, it can be formed. 

If there is a thought in the head that does not go away, the grim dialogue exhausts, what can be done with it? Just grunt, tell yourself in the inner dialogue what causes laughter, changes the reaction.

The stress reaction includes a vegetative autonomic nervous system. The consequences of the reaction can be neutralized by general relaxation. There are many ways to change the physiological reactions of our body. Exposure through the body by relaxation is actively used in oriental practices, with meditation. In particular, this method: relaxation through strong physical stress. Try in a state of anger or irritation, or even with tears in your eyes, to go a kilometer to the waist in the snow. And see how your condition changes. 

It turns out that we are working on the manifestation of stress. But what about the elimination of the cause?

Both methods work! We need to be aware of our reactions, get rid of the assessments that cause internal conflict, change the environment, get rid of stress factors. But if the reaction has come, you need to learn to consciously relax. If we move away from stress, do not notice it, “sit out”, this leads to somatization – the emergence of psychosomatic diseases. All methods are useful in the complex, and even important is to notice even small successes and any positive changes.

I can give a parable as an illustration. When a man runs away from two furious tigers and falls into a cliff, but miraculously grabs a bush that grows on the edge. He sees another tiger waiting for him at the bottom of the cliff, and the muzzle of the bush gnawing mice. And suddenly he notices a bush of juicy strawberries. A man reaches out to her, puts the berry in his mouth and thinks: “It’s tasty!”. This is an example of an ideal stress-resistance. The world is no, but we endow it with assessments ourselves. We always have a choice of emotional reactions to the environment.