Brad was a man with a beautiful, devoted wife and two wonderful children. He had a successful business and a fulfilled family life, but he struggled to feel comfortable in social situations. This had nothing to do with the friends he had or the people he socialized with.
Brad’s assessment of their friendship group found they were a supportive group to be around. Despite this, Brad found he needed to ‘warm up’ in a social setting, and he did this with the help of alcohol.
Recognizing that this was a potentially dangerous strategy, and that his anxiety seemed to be worsening, he sought assistance to understand how and why this issue had arisen.
Once Brad understood the expectations he had of himself and the beliefs that formed the basis of his expectations, he was able to re-consider the relevance of these beliefs, and let go of those that were no longer appropriate or helpful.
He then learned some key strategies to assist in managing his responses in situations when he began to feel overwhelmed, which he was able to use instead of alcohol. This took practice – as does developing any skill or strategy, but the strategies themselves were simple.
Once Brad was able to manage his stress in given situations, he worked at developing lifestyle strategies that ensured he maintained a level of calmness, which serves as an inbuilt insulator from the negative impacts of stress.
This does not mean that stress won’t happen – we all know that stressful situations are common in our lives. It is how we perceive and think about it that makes the difference in how we respond.
Brad’s situation can be explained using the ABC model of thought processing. This model was founded by Aaron T Beck in the 1960’s, and explains the role of our thinking in our stress responses.
Brad is at a social engagement
He believes he is inferior to his friends in some way
He drinks alcohol to cope
Much of what dictates ones response to a stressful situation revolves around B – ones beliefs about the situation. This is often found to be a source of ‘faulty cognitions’, such as black and white thinking or catastrophizing, and very often the issue has its roots in childhood.
Learning to challenge this type of thinking is pivotal in altering one’s experience of the build-up of stress.
Brad learned simple and effective strategies to enable him to manage his stress more effectively.
‘Annihilate Stress and Anxiety’ guides you through this journey and will highlight your PEARLS of Resilience – and these will ensure you have a balanced life.