Saturday, December 31, 2016

Humor as a coping mechanism for stress

Laughter, in addition to being the “best medicine,” can also be a great tool.  Several studies have shown that maintaining a sense of humor can be an effective technique for stress relief.  If you are someone who is naturally funny or is close with someone who has a great sense of humor, this probably rings true when you read it; you’ve likely seen many situations firsthand where a well-timed laugh can diffuse the stress of a situation and allow everyone to make an internal shift and focus on solutions rather than fear, for example.
  Or you’ve been able to palpably feel it when just the right shared joke can help the stress seem to melt away.  If you’re not someone who has a natural sense of humor, you can always develop your sense of humor to a greater degree and take advantage of this great stress relief tool.
When using humor, however, there are different types of “funny” that can help you, and some that can even hurt you and create more stress in your life.  According to research, here are some things to keep in mind.

Use Humor To Connect

Laughter can bring people together, and social support can lower stress levels and raise resilience in many ways.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that research has found that those who use humor to connect with others and strengthen relationships tend to be more emotionally intelligent, and tend to fare better when facing stress.  This means it’s a great idea to share a laugh with a friend, a partner, or anyone you’re close to when you’re feeling stressed, and you can likely lighten the load for both of you.

Use Humor To Cope

“Laugh, and the world laughs with you,” the phrase goes, but you can also laugh on your own.  The thing to remember is that finding the humor as a coping strategy in itself is also emotionally intelligent, and can help you in most of the stressful situations you face in life, even if nobody else is there to share the joke.
  Look at the absurdity of the situation, have an inside joke with yourself, do what you need to in order to maintain a positive perspective, just know that it does help.  It can even be helpful to watch comedies and re-runs of movies and shows that always make you laugh, to get yourself into a laughing mood.

Don’t Hurt Others With Your Jokes

We all know some jokes can be biting, and that isn’t always a good thing.  If you find yourself saying “oh come on, it’s just a joke!” or “you don’t have a sense of humor” to people who don’t enjoy your teasing, it’s possible that you’re the one who doesn’t “get it”—research finds that jokes made at the expense of others are related to lower levels of emotional intelligence, and can create stress in relationships, which contributes to overall stress in your life.  (This is the opposite of what we’re going for, right?)  If you have someone in your life who teases you in ways that don’t feel entirely friendly, or that feel more like masked hostility, it’s possible that you can learn to lighten up a little more, but it’s also likely that maintaining boundaries with this person can reduce your stress levels.
  Do what feels best for you, and what relieves the most stress.

Don’t Hurt Yourself, Either

Laughing at yourself can sometimes be a effective way to disarm bullies or put others at ease, but it can also take a toll on your self-esteem and stress levels, and is actually found more often in those with lower levels of emotional intelligence as well (or in those who feel they have low levels of emotional intelligence, which could also mean low self-esteem).  If you find yourself always putting yourself down, even in a joking way, consider whether this is really helping you, or if it’s hurting you in some ways.  Don’t forget to focus on your strengths and “own” your greatness, too.  And also remember to use humor in more beneficial ways: by connecting with others and by shifting your perspective.  While laughter in itself is great for stress relief, it helps to know what has the most positive impact!
See the resources below for more on how laughter can work as a coping technique.
Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rising From The Ashes of Loss, My Voyage Through Grief: excerpt # 18

Suicidal Thoughts
. . . One dreary February afternoon coming back to my stuffy house after an unsatisfactory walk in the park, I had a life changing experience.  The last few days had been horrible and so emotionally charged that any attempts to ease my debilitating stabbing pain was futile.  I was desperate and just did not know what to do.  I was lost and disoriented like never before.  At the end of my roll, I felt I had no strength to talk to anyone, not did I feel like it.  The walls of my little house were dangerously closing in on me, crushing my lungs mercilessly.  I could not breathe and kept grasping for air.  My weak shaking legs could barely hold me up and my out-of-whack heart was pounding so wildly I thought it could burst through my chest at any moment.    I felt more alone than ever.  I missed Louise tremendously and everywhere I looked I could not escape the sight of her beautiful face.  It suddenly dawned on me then that the only place I could be, the only place I wanted to be was with her.  The severity of my pain and desperation was so overwhelming that at one point my legs gave out on me and I laid down crouching on the floor miserably, in gut wrenching agony. 
Completely broken and subdued, in a desperate attempt to breathe I momentarily raised my head upwards and for some unknown reason opened my teary eyes briefly and stared at the open kitchen cupboard.  There it was, my way out, the answer to my precarious predicament: freedom!  It was right there in front of me; two 250 ml bottles of liquid morphine and twenty-four patches of topical morphine, enough to kill a horse.  The liquid would put me out quickly and the patches would finish me off slowly.  The stash had been left there by the nursing staff after Louise died.  It was begging to be abused.
I was in some kind of a trance and my thoughts were travelling at a hundred miles an hour deliberating on my next move.  Man, it would be so easy; plaster myself with the deadly morphine patches, gulp the sweet liquid and  ‘Voila!’ I’m off to see the wizard and disappear from this crazy world, no more pain, no more agony.  I’d be gone and with Louise forever.  So tempting, so enticing, I was in such despair that at this point, the thought of dying was a blessing.  The horror of committing such a despicable act wasn’t even a consideration.  I was in the grips of the indescribable burning pains of hell and I needed relief immediately.  Something was holding me back though.  Some kind of energy was pulling me the other way and like an emotional tug-of-war, I was torn between the beast and the angel fighting inside of me.  It was literally a struggle for life or death, and, in the end, those few minutes of hesitation allowed me the time necessary to realize the foolishness of what I was about to do. . . 

. . . I don’t know what happened to me that day, but I suspect that some kind of mysterious force intervened in my favour to help steer my life towards a different course and not end my life.  Was it a Divine period of grace, a brief spark of enlightenment, inspiration from a spirit guide, Louise sending me a message from the other side to hang on, or simply that out of deep despair, I let go and succeeded in tapping into my inner self and drew from my own strength?  I guess I’ll never know for sure and I will always remember that moment in time as a major mystical turning point in my life.  God, Buddha, gurus, mystics and parapsychologists of all kinds, from now on I will keep a positive doubt about the veracity of your claims on the unknown.  My life changing experience expanded my consciousness further and I am grateful for it.  


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

18 affirmations pour vous aider à lâcher prise

Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Conseiller Thérapeutique- Auteur
Consultation téléphonique - en ligne - en personne
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Lost a Parent? Learn how to recover.

How to Recover and Find Strength after Losing a Parent

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” ~Dalai Lama
There was a period in life I called “the golden era.” Not in hindsight but at the actual time.
I named it such because I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Everyone I loved was alive and well. I had a good job, a home, and a loving companion. All the things everyone longs for.
Little did I know, this “golden era” would end too soon.
One day, out of the blue, Mum asked if I had noticed a change in Dad’s behavior. She described how he could no longer write his signature and would often become distant.
After some tests, we discovered that my father had a brain tumor.
That instantly spelled the end of the golden era and the beginning of a rather painful period.
Watching someone who was strong become weak and bedridden, suffer seizures, and eventually drift away eats away at you.
It’s difficult to describe the tumultuous wave of feelings that come and overwhelm you. There’s the fear of coping with loss and feeling powerless because you can’t cure the illness and avoid the inevitable.
Losing a parent can feel like losing part of yourself. If they’ve always been there, helping and supporting you, it’s hard to imagine coping without them.
Getting through such a bleak period, however, proved one thing:
We are stronger than you think.
Somewhere inside us is a resilience we never thought possible.
Use the following steps to uncover your inner strength, overcome grief, and learn to smile again.

1. Forgive yourself.

When a parent dies, guilt can become a burden because of past arguments you now regret or maybe because you think you didn’t do enough to help them.
You should realize no parent-child relationship is ever perfect. Disputes, mistakes, and shortcomings occur on both sides and are all in the past. You were still loved even if you were seldom told.
By recognizing the past as something that is finished and unchangeable, you can begin to free yourself from guilt and reflect on the good times instead. The good times are what they would want you to remember.

2. Face your feelings.

Feelings of loss or anger can grow stronger if left unchecked, especially if you’ve never known death so close.
Exploring ways to cope with these feelings myself led to meditation. Mindfulness meditation is one way to help understand the flow of these feelings.
Imagine sitting on a river bank and watching the boats sail by. Similarly, by watching your thoughts, you’ll see how your grief has influenced your emotions. This “watching” of thoughts creates an awareness of their impact on how you feel that, in turn, reduces the pendulum effect of emotions. By anticipating emotions, you begin to reduce their power.

3. Keep talking.

The sudden reality of not being able to chat to your Mum or Dad again can be hard to accept.
For a time after losing Dad, I still chatted to him. I asked what he thought of something, but of course I didn’t expect an answer. It was a way of getting the words out that were already in me to say.
Don’t hide from the fact that your parent is gone. Visit the grave, and chat to them in thoughts. Whatever makes you feel comfortable. Not only does it keep their memory alive, but it’s also a release for your feelings.

4. Look after you.

Grief can take its toll in many ways. Loss of sleep, reduced appetite, and damaged immune system are not uncommon. The remedy is to protect your health and fitness.
Like the pre-flight safety instructions to put on your oxygen mask before helping others, protect your health first to ensure you can heal and help others do the same.
You only need to take small steps. Get walking with a friend, eat natural, unprocessed food, and stay hydrated. When your body feels strong, it will lift your mood and help you cope.

5. Take time out.

During the immediate aftermath, you’ll have an overwhelming to-do list. From making funeral arrangements to addressing legal matters. All physically and mentally exhausting.
It’s vital for your physical and mental health to rest. If you take a vacation to recuperate when things have settled, you’ll be able to return refreshed to help your family over the longer term. Never feel guilty for taking time off.

6. Avoid comparisons.

During grief, we can become self-conscious of how we’re perceived by others. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, so don’t judge your reaction to loss. You don’t need to look or behave a certain way.
A colleague returned to work recently the day after their father’s funeral, which attracted comment, whereas I took several weeks off.
Don’t worry about how it looks to others or what they might think. This is your personal journey and yours alone, so never fear judgment. Do what’s right for you.

7. Be patient.

Missing a parent is natural, and if you were very close, you’ll need time to adjust.
Time heals the acuteness of pain, but you may continue to miss your parent. After five years, I still miss Dad very much. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t think of him, but it used to be hardly a day.
Don’t wish time away in the hope you can speed up the healing process. Recovery will happen at its own natural pace.

8. Support your family.

The passing of a parent can send a shockwave across the whole family. We might become withdrawn in our own grief and not realize others are sharing in the loss.
So offer your hand in support to other family members. You will avoid feeling isolated if you focus on the needs of others and help other loved ones to cope.
As a loving team, you will be able to count on each other at different times to get through the toughest periods together.

9. Enjoy precious memories.

There was a time I couldn’t think of Dad without a tear. When I returned to work, I had to make a determined effort not to swell up when colleagues offered condolences.
But I discovered that I could still enjoy my Dad’s “company” by recalling the good times we shared. The laughs, the trips, and the DIY jobs that seemed to take forever.
Don’t avoid reliving your precious moments in your mind’s eye. A time will come when you smile or laugh to yourself just as you did at the time. So let your parent live on in your thoughts, and enjoy seeing them there any time you wish.

10. Accept the new you.

As we get older, our opinions and outlook on life can change. The passing of a parent is one of those experiences that will change you. I became more tolerant because life’s trivia was put in context.
Worry about missing deadlines, being late for an event, or having a new gadget malfunction. Events that annoy us day to day pale into insignificance.
This change is not for the better or worse; it’s simply a change. Grief increases awareness that all things change, so prioritize what’s really important.
Value and enjoy every waking moment, and let the new you grab each precious day with passion.

Unlock a New Chapter

Society often writes off the death of a parent as the natural order of events, but those who’ve experienced it know how life-changing it is.
You feel hurt and loss because you have a heart but that heart is stronger than you ever imagined.
With the steps above, the same heart can grow in confidence, beat with new hope, and become healthier than ever before. You can still enjoy life, and you should.
Life is there to be cherished.
It’s what your parent would have wanted. Live your life in the knowledge they’d be happy for you.
Father and son image via Shutterstock

About Alan Marsden

Alan Marsden presents authentic and effective advice to help you grow in confidence, health, and happiness. Join Alan on the journey of discovery at and claim your free copy of his 9 Step Guide To Health and Happiness.

Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Monday, December 5, 2016

Rising From The Ashes of Loss, My Voyage Through Grief: excerpt #17

Grief, can be a wild beast and even though it may crush your determination to live at times, it can also trigger inspiration.  The latter was my case on a very special day.  Here's an article that I wrote on such a day.  It was a hit and has been touring the internet world for the past 5 years, and I want to share it with you one more time. 
A Good Day in the Life of a Grieving Widower
By Dr. Pierre Milot
Strangely enough, today is a good day, it's been so long since I've had one.  
All bundled up in my red checkered construction shirt, and discreetly trespassing on my neighbour’s long country driveway, I'm taking my old dog Max out for his morning walk.  Protected from the cool river wind by the bordering woods, I can feel the hot spring sun gently warming my face and shoulders, and can hear nothing else but the birds chirping, the familiar honking sound of the Canadian wild geese flying high in the clear blue sky happy to come back home, and the delightful crunching sound of gravel underneath my feet as I walk.  With an uncertain smile I breathe in the fresh morning breeze, I feel good.  
Strolling along, lost in thought, I marvel at our capacity to recover from what seems at times like the 'unrecoverable'.  How can it be that today I can smile when only yesterday I was in the deepest of sorrows, with little hope for tomorrow.   As I ponder on this, I reminisce, I think back on that dreadful November day, when, as I was holding my wife's cold dying hand and counting her last breaths, she left me in so much pain and loneliness.  I remember that while I was putting on a brave front reassuring her that I would be OK, I was prompting her to go towards the ''light'' (as if she wasn't  already there, for where else could such a kind and loving soul be, but in the arms of an angel).
Little did I know then that very soon I would be kneeling on the ground, bent over in gut-wrenching agony, sobbing like a child, and begging for her to come back.  I would have done everything then, change my religion, give away all that I owned, even my life and soul to see and feel her, to be able to one last time delicately run my fingers through her soft silky hair, as I lovingly kiss her forehead while savouring her particular body scent that I've grown to love so much.
But, if the Divine Intelligence in its infinite wisdom has granted us the gift of growth through sorrow and pain, it has also given us the necessary strength to overcome the same hardships.  So, reaching inside the deepest confines of my being for that slippery strength, I managed to somehow make the pain more bearable, stand up and shakily face the day one more time.   
Now, in an effort to heal my shattered life, I'm slowly learning to redefine my sense of self, my identity in this strange and scary new world without her, to think in terms of 'I' instead of 'We', while at the same time keep her memory alive in my heart.
I will make it, I will survive, I will somehow learn to be whole again but in a different way than before, and when the tough days comes back again, I will always have today, the comforting memory of this 'Good Day' to fall back on. 
Waking up from my reveries, I focus back on Max, my only daily companion these days, as he too, healing from his loss, enjoys the day.  His inquisitive nose intrigued by the pungent odour of last fall's decaying leaves, he decides to investigate further and scratches the ground with an awkward paw to uncover the newly grown fresh tender grass shoots, a welcomed sign of the summer to come…the never ending circle of life.

Today is made of my yesterdays, and tomorrow is made of my today.


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Friday, December 2, 2016

Power Up Your Life & Make Stress Work 4 You: excerpt # 9

Kappalabhati: Breath Your Stress Away
''The most efficient coping mechanism ever in stress management'

Specifically recommended to counter the negative effects of stress and burn out, this exercise deeply affect the nervous system.  It brings about a hyper-oxygenation of the blood and a momentary CO2 reduction, which as the effect of calming the respiratory system.  This system, in return, relaxes the nerves, thus creating an incomparable energizing effect.
'Kappalabhati; oxygenates the brain, increases endorphins (the feel good hormone) in the brain and restores vital energy in the body.  The effects of this breathing technique offer inestimable benefits for nervous, stressed or burned-out people.
This exercise is harmless because the arterial pressure always remains within normal physiological limits.  Nevertheless, it is not recommended for people suffering from serious pulmonary or cardiac conditions.
'Kappalabhati' consists of forced brief expulsion airbursts, each time followed by a passive air intake. Contrary to normal breathing where the inhalation is active and exhalation passive, the opposite occurs in this instance.
The exercise can be performed standing up, however, it is the kneeling position which is the most comfortable.  The spine must be erect while the head is well balanced.  The chest must remain as immobile as possible throughout the exercise.  The abdominal girth, which comprises the muscles in the sub-navel area, is the motor of the exercise.
Kneel down and sit on your knees (sitting on a chair is also acceptable, if you have a problem with your knees), with both hands resting on your thighs.
Straighten the spine, expand your torso, immobilize it and concentrate on your abdomen.  Now, release the abdominal girth until your belly hangs out and then contract the girth suddenly while exhaling abruptly through your nose (or through your mouth if there is a problem with your nose).  This contraction will cause a brutal expulsion of air from your lungs.  Release the abdominal girth naturally and allow air to enter passively and silently through your nose and into your lungs,
The complete exercise consists of of succession of abrupt expulsions of air followed by passive inhalations.
In this exercise, it is the sub-navel girth area that is the most active.  Remember that the most important is the force of the exhalation, not the quantity of the air inhaled.
The exercise speed must be increased progressively.  At the beginning, the rhythm is increased in order to reach 60 expulsions per minutes.  When the exercise is well mastered, 10 expulsions per minute is added until a maximum of 120 expulsions per minute is reached.  The expulsions must last at least 3 times longer that the inhalation.  Three series of 120 expulsions per minutes interspersed with a rest period represents a goal to be reached.
Kneel or sit on your kneels (Japaneze zazen position), with the spine erect and the head in a stable position.  The expanded chest remains immobile throughout the exercise.
- The sudden and vigorous contraction of the stomach muscles expulse the air from your lungs
- The controlled release of the abdominal muscles triggers the passive inhalation
- The face and nostrils are relaxed during the inhalation
- The air expulsion is three times longer than the inhalation
- The amount and length of the sessions are progressively increased until three series of 120    expulsions per minutes are reached
- A one minute rest is recommended before starting again
- The minimal length of a session should be 3 minutes, but may be prolonged to 10 or even 15 minutes
The most common mistakes are:
- To move the chest
- To relax the spine
- To sacrifice the strength of the expulsion for the benefit of the speed
- to be distracted during the exercise
- To raise the legs
To feel light-headed after the exercise is due to the fact that you're putting too much emphasis on the inhalation, which is a mistake.  Revise the technique, make the proper corrections and start again.

Read more at Barnes&

Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A short Zen video on learning to let go.

Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Rising From The Ashes of Loss, My Voyage Through Grief: excerpt # 16

Chapter 5
January 10, 2011
Experiencing deep pain, frustration, resentment and great feelings of loss.
It's 12 noon and I feel a strong urge to get drunk again.  It has been my pattern for the past week now, uselessly messing around on my computer , tying up loose ends all morning and drinking Scotch at midday.  The intoxicating liquid always helps me to escape the dark grips of grief that resurface the very minute I attempt to relax my mind.  No wonder I like it so much!  As hard as I try, I can only manage to stay pain-free for a couple of hours at a time and again and again I need support from 'Glenfiddich' my best friend and favorite single-malt scotch.  But every time the numbing effect of the alcohol dissipates, the painful reality shows up it's ugly head again and I sink once more into darkness.  When that happens, I suffocate and I need air, lots of it.  Every single time it's the same: run out to escape the confines of my prison, ignore every ounce of logic I may have, and, still boozed up significantly, jump into my car and take of for a long ride by the river, my second-best means of escape at this point.
Driving under the influence has always been against my principles and I feel guilty every time I do it, but the pain is so unbearable that I can't help myself.  Day after day it's the same scenario and even the few close calls I have by narrowly escaping police barrages do not deter me from my recklessness.  I am so miserable and out of it at times that I don't even care if I lose my driver's license, or get into an accident and hurt someone.  Grief is a horrible thing; it changes people and it surely has brought up the worst in me at times...
...After painfully witnessing Louise dying of freaking cancer in spite of doing everything that was humanly possible to do to be healthy, I've lost faith in life.  I am pissed off and frustrated at the sight of brutal gangsters and grossly fat and reckless individuals living to be 90 years old decrepit, while caring and and beautiful young souls are savagely taken away from this world.  What's the point of taking care of oneself if it doesn't even make a damn difference?  Hardship will happen regardless of what one does.  Que sera sera as the song says.  Whatever will be will be, and I'll die when I die, I scream mentally.  To hell with the world, I don't give a damn anymore.


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rising From The Ashes of Loss, My Voyage Through Grief: excerpt # 15


...Louise is kicked out of her private room...I have to sleep in the patient's lounge...
A funny moment to break the tension...

...So here I went, holding sheets and pillow, en route to my improvised bedroom.  Mumbling all the way my dissatisfaction, I set the sheets up on the cot assigned to me, closed the door, put out the lights and proceeded to lie on my bed of fortune.  Try to imagine this ridiculous scene: I'm a 5 feet 11 inches tall adult and the cot was one of those folding beds that must have been made to accommodate a small child.  It was a joke.  When I sat my butt in the middle of the mattress and stretched, my feet hung out of the end of the contraption and my head stuck out in empty space like a scary puppet.  The only way I could fit in was in some kind of fetal position or on my back, legs bent upwards at the knees.  Any position I tried to contort myself into was unbearable and the night was going to be long, very long.  Little did I know also that this little inconvenience was nothing compare to the heart-stopping shock that was about to scare the crap out of me.

It was about 3 a.m. and after tossing and turning like a wiggling warm, I finally fell asleep and slipped into a light dreamy state.  My reverie was short-lived though as I was slowly awakened by a soft shuffling sound and became progressively aware of a presence near me.  Still in a sleepy haze, I hesitantly turned around to investigate the disturbance.  I just could not believe what my inquisitive eyes were seeing.  With mounting trepidation, as my vision was slowly adapting to the darkness of the room, I was beginning to see the outline of a misty shadow taking shape.  My skin was crawling as if an army of ants was invading my whole body and my pounding heart was menacing to burst through my chest as the ghostly image was becoming more and more defined.  Barely able to contain myself and in a panic, I clumsily tried to throw my sorry ass out of that stupid bed, but my rickety legs, numbed from being contorted all that time, could not hold me and, like a sack of sand, I collapsed to the floor ready to scream like a scared puppy.  Terrorized, I could not keep myself from staring at the invader, when all of sudden the mysterious enigma was solved:  it was Louise, who with head and shoulders covered by a white sheet to keep warm, was sitting in a chair quietly observing me sleeping...


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Monday, November 14, 2016

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Power Up Your Life & Make Stress Work 4 You: excerpt # 8

Chapter 3
Recognizing the negative effects of stress.

It is now time to increase your knowledge of the negative effects of stress.  As any good military strategist would say, "to win the war, we must know our enemy".

According to Hans Selye, the dean of stress, the complete absence of stress is death.  We need to find a healthy balance between acceptance and control of this stress.

In the early 1960's, researchers asked serious questions regarding stress and came to very interesting conclusions.

For exemple, they established that a person experiencing an intense life stress must go through six stages before disease appears.  Firstly, the individual tries to identify the state of his stress by associating it with passed experiences, which can ease or increase the effects of stress.  For example, the fact that a person has been fired from a job once can facilitate or make more difficult the acceptance of being fired one more time.

Secondly, it is the psychological defence mechanism such as projection (I showed the supervisor how incompetent he is and as a consequence, he fired me) or the refusal (I was not fired, I quit) that act as filters (filters are actions or behaviours that people adopt to protect themselves).

The third stage occurs when stress increases to penetrate the physiological defences of a person.  It is then that reactions such as accelerated breathing and heart rate occurs.

Following this comes the fourth stage, learning to control stress by implementing methods such as relaxation, dynamic breathings, etc., to keep the metabolism from over-reacting.

Fifthly, after many unsuccessful attempts to manage stress, a person can decide to talk to a doctor about his symptoms, and in a sixth stage, the doctor finally diagnoses the person's symptoms as a sign of physical diseases...


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rising From The Ashes of Loss, My Voyage Through Grief: excerpt # 14

Back in Louise's room after the surgery...
... The hours and days somehow passed by quickly as the routine tests and exams were continually performed.  From time to time an important looking doctor with pen in hand and carrying a bunch of medical files would come for a visit to monitor Louise's progress.  The usual feelings of insecurity and anxiety were at the party, but the professional and patient attitude of the nursing staff helped us somehow to cope better with these difficult circumstances.  Aside from a few bumps and scary moments, the events were unfolding as they should and Louise was making the expected hoped-for progress,
Her targeted release date from the hospital was rapidly approaching and we could not wait to get out of that place.  But, there were a few hurdles to jump before we got there as we would soon learn.  For instance, the importance of not removing her bladder shunt too soon, otherwise it would have to be reinserted a second time as it was a painful procedure when done after the surgery.  The other source of concern was the evacuation of gases and fecal matter.  This was a 'biggy' for Louise as she always had been chronically constipated.  The farting part was not a problem for her, or so she thought, and she was surprised to learn that the massive amount of medication ingested had blocked her pipes and had rendered her kind of 'silent' and 'tight ass' so to speak.  "Never mind the hard stuff" she said to me, "that will come later.  For now, let's get some wind going".
The solution to counter this problem according to the nurses was to walk endlessly in order to stimulate the peristaltic movement and get the bowels moving again.  So, enriched with that knowledge, Louise, looking a little funny dressed in the traditional hospital gown and hooked up to her mobile serum stand, proceeded to endlessly haunt the hospital corridors in the hopes that the gas factory would soon open its doors again.  As for me, like a faithful puppy, I accompanied her around and around the eight floor of the hospital's convoluted passageways, smiling and discretely waving here and there at the oncoming walking patients, wondering in amusement if they needed to fart too.  While Louise was in a continuous struggle to keep her naked derriere from showing through the rear opening of her hospital gown, I, on the other hand, was on constant alert for any possible sound, and as disheartening as it may have been, nothing was happening and we bravely kept up the scenario...


Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Assertiveness: An Important Stress Management Technique

Reduce Stress with Assertiveness

Businesswoman leading discussion with coworkers

Assertiveness isn't usually thought of as a way to reduce stress, but you may be surprised by how exercising this character trait can improve your mood.

What Is Assertiveness?

Assertiveness is the ability to express one’s feelings and assert one’s rights while respecting the feelings and rights of others. Assertive communication is appropriately direct, open and honest, and clarifies one’s needs to the other person.
Assertiveness comes naturally to some, but is a skill that can be learned. People who have mastered the skill of assertiveness are able to greatly reduce the level of interpersonal conflict in their lives, thereby reducing a major source of stress.

Assertiveness Compared to Other Behavior?

Sometimes people confuse aggressiveness with assertiveness, seeing that both types of behavior involve standing up for one’s rights and expressing one’s needs. The key difference between the two styles is that individuals behaving assertively will express themselves in ways that respect the other person. They assume the best about people, respect themselves, and think “win-win” and try to compromise.
In contrast, individuals behaving aggressively will tend to employ tactics that are disrespectful, manipulative, demeaning, or abusive. They make negative assumptions about the motives of others and think in retaliatory terms, or they don’t think of the other person’s point of view at all.
They win at the expense of others, and create unnecessary conflict.
Passive individuals don’t know how to adequately communicate their feelings and needs to others. They tend to fear conflict so much that they let their needs go unmet and keep their feelings secret in order to ‘keep the peace’. They let others win while they lose out; the problem with this (which I’ll go into in more detail momentarily) is that everybody involved loses, at least to an extent.

What Does Assertiveness Look Like?

Here are some common scenarios, with examples of each style of behavior:
Scenario A: Someone cuts in front of you at the supermarket.
An aggressive response would be to assume they did it on purpose and angrily say, “Hey, jackass, no cuts!”
A passive response would be to just let the person stay in front of you.
An assertive response would be to assume that they may not have seen you in line, and politely say, “Excuse me, but I was in line.”
Scenario B: Your friend, who can be quite verbose, calls to vent about her bad day. Unfortunately, you have a lot of work to do and don’t have time to talk.
An aggressive response would be to become angry that she obviously doesn’t respect your time, cut her off, and sarcastically say, “Oh, get over it! I have my own problems!”
A passive response would be to let her talk for as long as she needs, and figure that your deadline can suffer; she needs your help.
An assertive response would be to listen for a minute or two, then compassionately say, “Wow, it sounds like you’re having a tough day!
I’d love to talk to you about it, but I don’t have the time right now. Can we talk later tonight?”
Get the idea?

The Benefits of Assertiveness

Assertive people tend to have fewer conflicts in their dealings with others, which translates into much less stress in their lives. They get their needs met — which also means less stressing over unmet needs, and help others get their needs met, too. Having stronger, more supportive relationships virtually guarantees that, in a bind, they have people they can count on, which also helps with stress management, and even leads to a healthier body.
In contrast, aggressiveness tends to alienate others and create unnecessary stress. Those on the receiving end of aggressive behavior tend to feel attacked and often avoid the aggressive individual, understandably. Over time, people who behave aggressively tend to have a string of failed relationships and little social support, and they don’t always understand that this is related to their own behavior. Ironically, they often feel like victims, too.
Passive people aim to avoid conflict by avoiding communication about their needs and feelings, but this behavior damages relationships in the long run. They may feel like victims, but continue to avoid confrontation, becoming increasingly angry until, when they finally do say something, it comes out aggressively. The other party doesn’t even know there’s a problem until the formerly passive individual virtually explodes! This leads to hard feelings, weaker relationships, and more passivity.

Become More Assertive

The first step in becoming more assertive is to take an honest look at yourself and your responses, to see where you currently stand. The answers to the following questions will help clue you in:
  • Do you have difficulty accepting constructive criticism?
  • Do you find yourself saying ‘yes’ to requests that you should really say ‘no’ to, just to avoid disappointing people?
  • Do you have trouble voicing a difference of opinion with others?
  • Do people tend to feel alienated by your communication style when you do disagree with them?
  • Do you feel attacked when someone has an opinion different from your own?
If you answered yes to several of these, you may benefit from learning assertiveness skills.