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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

Hey there, Happy New Year my fellow Emergency Worker!  It is my hope that you had an easy New Years Eve transition into the New Year.  The reason I say that is when I worked out in the field, I had some seriously busy shifts on the Holidays, especially when I worked around Pasadena because of the Rose Parade.  I remember one year, there were not enough resources, and my partner and I were running calls by ourselves without the Fire Department or PD.  It was exciting and fun, but taxing.

Let's talk about the New Year.

It is my opinion that a good way to start the year for Emergency Personnel, is to evaluate our own stress.  This is a practice I have been implementing for many, many years, for myself, and with others.

One approach to this practice is to notice negative emotions that may be dominant in your life.  For example, if you are frequently angry, bitter, or irritable then you are right smack dab in the middle of stress.

There are three kinds of stress and they are general, cumulative (also known as burnout), and critical.  Any one of these can be acute or chronic. 

General stress is every day stress when you have to deal with a busy, tight schedule, and you are trying to get everything done so that you can make every body happy.  This type of stress may include responsibilities that could drain your energy.

Cumulative stress, also known as Burnout, is when you are exhausted, cynical, and often times very ineffective because of the burn out.

Critical stress is when you have a crisis or a critical incident that affects your ability to function productively within your typical responsibilities. 

All of these types of stress are very common amongst Emergency Responders.

These types of stress' are not necessarily caused by our circumstances, the causes are more from our reactions. 

Examples...

General stress; let's say you are strapped financially.  The finances are not the stress, the reaction of fear of the outcome to the finances cause the stress.

Cumulative stress; let's say you have been exhausted emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually for weeks now.  The exhaustion is not the stress, it is our beliefs, and behaviors, that are causing the exhaustion.  Therefore, the beliefs, and behaviors, are our reactions to our circumstances that are creating the stress.

Critical stress; let's say you had a very gruesome fatality call, and the patient/victim was the same age as someone in your family that is really close to you.  For weeks, the call plays out in your mind, over and over, you have nightmares about it, and you start to have anger, anxiety, depression, or serious apprehension.  The stress is not the call, it is created by the reaction in the mind, and thus the negative emotions.

The best way to explain it is, when we have circumstances that are less than desirable in our life, if we tend to worry, and then think about the worst possible outcome, we cause ourselves stress.  If we tend to focus on the solution, and have faith that there won't be any problems, we cause ourselves comfort.  See the difference?

Many of you already know this, and it may be just a reminder, but what I am trying to say is, if you have negative emotions, it is coming from your thoughts of doubt, fear, or worry.  If you can figure out what you are afraid of, you can change your thoughts into faith.  It's just a thought, and we can choose any thoughts we want.

So, in order to evaluate your stress, notice any negative emotions, figure out what your afraid of in your circumstances, stop thinking about the worst possible outcome, focus on a solution, have faith that you can do the things you need to do, and wallah, you destress yourself.

It is a great way to start the year.  If you need help, overcoming your stress, and creating confidence, certainty, and faith, take my How To Destress Yourself Class, it will help you overcome stressful habits that are causing negative emotions.

Start your New Year out right!

Speak soon...

Elizabeth

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elizabethstanfill@gmail.com

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:D