Falling Into New Stress Release Habits

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As the season begins to change, it’s natural to think about change. Sometimes, thoughts about change and things outside our control feel stressful. When things are stressful, it’s helpful to identify what’s in our control and what is not. When you think about what the Fall might bring, are you planning for some of your favorite things, or are you dreading the work the fall leaves bring? Do you experience a temperature change where you live? If so, do you welcome this change or feel unhappy about it?  

Here’s a question: How much control do we have over the changing seasons? Here’s an idea: The only thing in our control is our thoughts and how we respond to our thoughts. If it’s cold and rainy, we can choose to hate it, complain, and even let it negatively affect our day. Or we can be grateful for rain, step out on the porch and breathe in the fresh rain air, put on our raincoat, or pull out our umbrella and go about our day.  

Much like changing seasons, nurses frequently experience events that are not in their control. When those happen, your job, if you want to stay calm and peaceful, is to identify your thinking patterns and choose how you respond to these events. When days don’t go as planned or are hectic, ask yourself two questions: “What is in my control?” and “What can I do about what is in my control?” Then consciously focus on the things in your control and move forward. There’s no point in dwelling on things you can do nothing about. This exercise allows you to focus your energy on problem-solving and effectively prioritizing immediate tasks. Think about a code situation. Is the fact that the patient went into cardiac arrest in your control? Nope! At this point, you cannot change that. Is your response to this situation in your control? Yes, it is! Now you have a quick choice to make. You can focus on your thoughts about how stressful the event is, or you can focus on what you know to do:

  • Press the code button.
  • Start compressions.
  • Get the defibrillator pads on.
  • Decide if the cardiac rhythm is shockable or not. 

Here’s a challenge: think about a situation you experienced at work that did not go as planned. What were your thoughts? What was your response to this situation? Reflecting on this situation, can you identify what was in your control or how you could have responded differently? 

Here at Terra Firma, we hope to help you identify and utilize tools to help change your response to situations that are out of your control. As you take the Terra Firma Stress Release Course and apply what Dr. Michael Olpin teaches, take time to reflect on how your response to situations that are out of your control changes. Reflect on how you feel at the end of a day that didn’t go as planned.  

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