THE SUBURBAN, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24th, 1986
La joic de vivre
Stress overload - the demon of the '80s
By ELAINE COHEN
Just because you cheated on your diet doesn't mean you have failed, Think of all the days you resisted that slab of Swiss chocolate cake, "Focus on the effort, not the outcome," advises stress management consultant Frances Kucharsky, who resides in N.D. G. with her husband Jonathon. There is value in making a mistake, she adds, quoting an Adlerian phrase, "Develop the courage to be imperfect,"
A contemporary of psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud, Dr. Alfred Adler taught that life's difficulties can be compensated by the individual's efforts to over come them. Kucharsky utilizes the precepts she gleaned from her Adlerian training at the Alfred Adler Institute in Chicago, where she attained her Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology in 1985,
Before that she taught school in Laval and later planned programs and counseled parents and patients at the Montreal Shriners Hospital. "Every era has its demon,' asserts Kuchar sky, a yoga proponent, "and we're living in the age of stress." She contends it is not necessarily heredity or environment which creates anxiety, but rather our perception of things.
"We perceive stress as something external. However we confuse arousal, motivation and stress. Arousal is necessary to be able to perform, however unregulated arousal leads to stress and this interferes with our ability to work.
Stress management is more than just relaxation,' she insists. "It is the art of self -regula lion and realization. Although we can't prevent stress, there are ways to deal with it. However, limiting your sphere of activity, avoiding situations and procrastinating will not solve the problem
A psychotherapist in private practice, Kucharsky, 37, also gives courses at the YM-YWHA, John Abbott College and instructs yoga at the St. Laurent YMCA. Although she doesn't use yoga in her stress management classes, she does incorporate breathing exercises. Our thoughts create anxiety as much as do external events," she cautions.
We can deal with stress by making changes which may be environmental, physical, cognitive and behavioral. "People are constantly recreating themselves and I've noticed changes after three sessions." she observes. When asked for stress-management samples, Kucharsky offered the following suggestions.
Examine your belief systems and ask yourself: Am I living life by rote? Do I expect perfection? Do I have to be in control at all times? Be aware of the consequences of these beliefs, In order to change, it isn't necessary to criti cize yourself. Commit yourself to goals by monitoring thoughts and language. For ex ample if you say "fit try" that is not strong enough. And don't mislabel things. For in stance, don't use the word disastrous when you really mean inconvenient because that is provoking a stress response,
And rather than dwelling on the past, remember that we are not bound by it, but create our future today, through our actions in the present."
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