A bit snappish, ol' bean?


April 16, 1991|By Barbara Turk

Your life is on overload at the moment, and the stress is getting to you. When that happens, not only do you get hyper and exhausted, but you get impatient and snappy with those around.

It's as if their questions, needs and sometimes even their very presence just adds to the stress. But you feel bad treating them that way. It's not their fault that you're uptight.

That's right, it's not. And, further, your attacking behavior only escalates things:

And on and on . . . then more of your growls and roars . . . increased stress for everyone . . . your guilt . . . their hurt feelings . . . your growls and roars.

So how do you handle yourself?

* When others are around, tell them how you're feeling as it pertains to them ("I'm really uptight right now, sort of like I could double for Attila the Hun. Best give me a little space for a while.")

* If you do goof and become impatient with them, apologize. Just assuming that they will understand and forgive you because you are under stress is not respecting of them or worthy of you.

* Take a little time for yourself. While it may seem like a walk in the woods or a movie will leave you with even more to do when you return, relaxing by focusing on something pleasurable will renew your energy and so add to your sense of control and ability to deal calmly with others.

And, remember, keep things in perspective. Those close to you will be around long after this stressful period is past. Isn't treating them well now good insurance for making them even closer to you in the future?

Barbara Turk is a psychotherapist in private practice.

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