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Dealing with stress is topic of talk

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

(Photo)
Hamilton Center clinical psychologist Bill Nunn, Ph.D. and Eileen Johnson, Mental Health America Putnam County director, go over plans for Thursday's panel discussion titled "Living with Stress and How to Manage It." The program will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Putnam County Museum, 1105 N. Jackson St. and is free and open to the public. Banner Graphic/AMANDA JUNK
GREENCASTLE -- Handling the pressure of work, relationships, child-rearing or the expectations and demands of school -- all can contribute to stress day in and day out.

Mental Health America of Putnam County will present two speakers who will discuss the topic of how to handle and balance those stressors from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Putnam County Museum, 1105 N. Jackson St. in Greencastle.

Bill Nunn, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Hamilton Center, and Christina Wagner, Ph.D, a clinical health psychologist at DePauw University will talk about stress, including how to recognize, live with and manage it.

Nunn said the panel discussion will cover stress in modern life and how to help people look at some of the sources of their stress by identifying what type of control they can take over the things that are stressing them out in their lives.

Nunn also said while social media sites and the Internet have made communication easier, they can often lead to stress by spreading us too thin and making it difficult to keep up with "being on the grid 24-7."

"Everything has its pluses and minuses, and the Internet does have that plus. If you're not close by, you can e-mail, but if you have Facebook and you have 15,000 friends, you don't really," he said. "No one has 15,000 friends. You want five friends."

According to the American Institute of Stress, there are numerous emotional and physical disorders that have been linked to stress including depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, immune system disturbances that increase susceptibility to infections and a host of viral linked disorders ranging from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and certain cancers.

The stress of being on call 24-7 is also associated with not doing your job as well as it could be done if someone wasn't as overwhelmed.

"If you're juggling too many balls in the air, you're going to drop some of them," he said.

In managing this stress, reduction strategies can be broken down into two categories: cognitive and physical.

"Cognitively, we need to ask ourselves, 'How important is this thing I'm stressing over? Does this really matter?' If I rationally think, 'This doesn't matter that much,' I can talk myself into not worrying about it," he said.

Physical stress reduction techniques can be anything from exercising, going for a walk, playing sports, talking to a friend, drinking in moderation, playing music or spending time with pets.

Nunn said while stress has negative connotations, it is a normative experience we all face at one point or another. The best way to deal with it is to communicate our problems with those around us, he said.

"You don't need to feel bad or weak or insufficient. It's not a character flaw. There's a reason for people feeling stressed out," he said. "Maybe we can come together so we can manage that stress so it's not overwhelming."

For more information and resources on how to manage stress, contact MHAPC at 653-3310.



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