By Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –

According to popular beliefs, the term mental and emotional Psychological Normalcy refers to normality in terms of overall health, balance, and the absence of any disturbances to interfere with daily functioning. Psychological Normalcy is the absence of statistically abnormal symptoms.

When increased stressors are felt, they have the potential to influence one’s emotional wellness and intimate relationships in a negative manner.

Experiencing sadness or clinical symptoms of Depression hinders ones ability to initiate projects, which require motivation, and experiencing excessive Anxiety magnifies our perception of fears. With Anxiety increased irritability, sleep difficulties, and hypervigilance felt are also problematic.

Specifically stress is more common and can be problematic if not managed. Feeling stress is a normal unavoidable part of life, consequently we sometimes experience increased levels of stress given changes in the work place, environment, or new relationship demands. Feeling elevated levels of stress may occur because internally we feel we do not have the tools to address the new conflict.

In fact, most do not realize, the mind’s natural tendency is to resolve conflicts almost as a natural reaction to new stressors. This natural progression towards correcting a problematic situation is innate in all humans. (Lofton, L., Psychological Précipice, p.52; p.58)

Common signs of problematic stress according to The California Marriage and Family Professional Association include:

1. Physical symptoms:  Sleep disturbance, fatigue, muscle tension and weight fluctuation.

2. Emotional symptoms:  Including nervousness, Anxiety, lack of concentration and overreaction to small things.

3. Impact on Relationships:  Increase in number of arguments, conflicts with co-workers and road rage.

It is also important to note, men are less likely to seek professional assistance should stressors become problematic and unmanageable according to a California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists commissioned survey. A Zoomerang online survey among 1,055 randomly selected adult California residents was completed from March 30 – April 10, 2011. The margin of error percentages reported overall is + / – 2 percentage points.

Survey results prove what is common knowledge and known about the sexes. Woman are by nature more likely to talk about their stressors felt, have more outlets to talk about feelings, and socialize differently than men which also allows for more opportunities to vent frustrations and limit stress. Moreover, for that matter feelings of sadness as well.

To manage stress, consider the following tried and true TOP 5 recommendations:

1. Identify a copying mechanism that has worked in the past and increase its use.

2. Strive for a healthy balance in ones life. Especially in the area of eating habits, alcohol consumption, use of caffeine as this affects sleep, and exercise. Stay organized by prioritizing daily tasks.

3. Increase understanding of beliefs and messages that produce worry and Anxiety. Decrease daily levels of stress felt by developing positive self-talk. Communicate stressors early and often to significant other when they begin to negatively impact your relationship.

4. Develop appropriate relaxation and diversion activities to decrease levels of stress and Anxiety. This can include taking a break for a short walk, deep breathing, call a friend to chit-chat. In modern society, we can also turn to social media for a break to connect with friends and loved ones.

5. Comedy on the run. Experts say the relaxation response after a hearty laugh can last up to 45-Minutes. Can you access the cable network Comedy Central online? Or on your iPod? Find their website content to view comedy videos for a quick laugh.

In the long run, it is best to acknowledge stressors early and how they impact one’s relationship and then, address them accordingly. Confront obstacles and the dilemmas we face. Delay tactics only make problems worse because they tend to grow increasingly unmanageable if we wait to react.

Until Next time: à Donf

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Read more about Psychological Normalcy at Psychological Précipice

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