Posted on May 16th, 2006

I am frequently doing research in my job as a Registered Nurse to find the latest findings on topics that I can use in teaching my patients. Patient teaching is a legal requirement for nurses – we take it very seriously as you can imagine.

For this particular search, I was looking for information for personal use. Being a nurse is a difficult job and working in the fast paced, adrenalin rushed area of an ER only makes it more so. I began to feel the day to day effects of stress and wanted to make sure I wasn’t experiencing the beginnings of burnout as many of my colleagues have.

I found many articles and books encouraging us to use techniques for relaxation, taking adequate personal time and eliminating as much of the stressors in our lives as possible. What if the stressors were necessary? What if the relaxation techniques weren’t working? What if everything you attempted to do to relieve the stress were only temporary measures? Feeling calmer for a few hours is better than nothing but I wanted a permanent solution – I found it and I’ll share my method with you here as space permits.

Being the quasi-intellectual that I am I looked for research based findings, information with some substance that I could use in my other profession as well – that of a Personal Coach. What I found is based on psychological theory that has worked for people for over 25 years. It’s not a quick fix as are some of the popular temporary methods the media is pushing, but this has real substance and I feel comfortable and confident in encouraging it.

In the mid-1950’s Dr. Albert Ellis became impatient with the slow progress of his patients and felt that change would come with a difference in the way they thought about themselves. He felt therapy would progress faster if they focused on their personal beliefs. He developed the psychological theory that evolved in the 1990’s to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or REBT for short.

This theory is logical to me because it explains human behavior as a combination of effects from biological, psychological and social factors. It also suggests that human emotion and behavior are the result of what people believe about themselves, other people and society. This concept is where stress reduction comes into play.

Wayne Froggat wrote in A Brief Introduction to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: “For a person to go beyond feeling better to actually get better – that is, to achieve fundamental and lasting change – involves modifying the underlying core beliefs that create difficulties for them in a range of situations.”

To me that was a bright, yellow-white light bulb and just the answer I was looking for in providing lasting stress relief! The thoughts proposed in this theory are logical, simple and understandable.

Please do notice that one of the adjectives that I didn’t use in the last paragraph to describe this process is “easy”. This is not a quick fix promising an overnight cure. It takes self awareness and practice but I will tell you that I’ve already put the methods to use in my own life and have experienced benefits from it. I’m not merely looking for a quick fix any longer to the issue of stress. I have confidence that my stress level will be reduced permanently through these little known methods.

To keep this brief, I will tell you that this involves changing the way we perceive events around us and changing our thought processes and in effect, changing our reactions to stress.

If you do a search for REBT, you can research this method yourself although you won’t find direct references easily for use in stress management. I will tell you that through experience I have found it useful and if you are looking for a permanent solution, it will work for you as well with practice.

Cathy Gariety is a Registered Nurse and Personal Coach. Her company is Gariety Group Coaching based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is currently developing a stress management program based on the concepts in this article. For more information, email her at cgariety@stressmanagementarticles.com or visit her website at http://www.garietygroup.com You may publish this article in it’s entirety with the signature line intact.

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