How to cope with
the crisis points in your life
A friend of mine is in the middle
of moving house. During the last few weeks I've had plenty of opportunities to
see exactly why moving house is said to be one of the most stressful experiences
in anyone's life - a real "crisis point"!
The main problem is that all
the so-called "professionals" involved in the business of buying and selling
houses seem determined to make everything as difficult as possible.
lawyers take three weeks to do what any reasonably alert hamster could do in
Estate agents write better fiction than Charles
And the people fixing mortgages make second-hand car salesmen
look kindly, generous and warm-hearted.
It isn't difficult to see why
buying a new home is more than just a moving experience.
It's a major
In any sensible world solicitors, estate agents and
insurance brokers would have government health warnings stamped on their
Everyone buying a new house should be accompanied by a medical
team and constantly monitored for stress damage!
In practice, however, we
all have to fend for ourselves.
And the result is that every year
thousands of home buyers suffer from high blood pressure, headaches, stomach
ulcers and sleepless nights.
Naturally, moving home isn't the only
"crisis point" that is likely to threaten your health.
Here is how to
deal with the stress produced during ten of the most common "crisis
1. Moving house
Much of the stress produced when
moving house comes from the feeling of helplessness that affects us all in this
The problem is made a thousand times worse by the fact that it
is your home that is involved.
My first piece of advice is that you
should not move house while there are other major, personal stresses in your
life. So, for example, if you're starting a new job try to put off moving house
for a few months. Commute to work for a while if necessary.
can cut down the unexpected problems by making full lists of everything that has
got to be done. Prepare the whole move like a military operation and there will
be far less risk of any unexpected surprises.
Third, don't forget that
the people who cause you grief are working for you. The solicitor, the surveyor,
the builder, the plumber, the removal man - they're all on your payroll. And
since you're paying their wages you are entitled to know what is going on and to
be kept fully informed.
So, for example, don't be afraid to ring up your
solicitor every day if you don't hear from him.
some people divorce comes as a relief. For them the marriage may have been one
But for millions divorce is a devastating
The dominant emotion is often a feeling of
Partners who have been abandoned may feel "worthless" or
So build up your self-respect and confidence.
yourself that just because one relationship has failed that doesn't mean that
you are incapable of a lasting partnership.
Remind yourself of your good
qualities. Make a list of them. You'll probably be surprised - and cheered to
see how much you've got going for you.
someone you love must be sad. Don't try to hide your feelings. Don't be ashamed
to cry or show your sorrow. Bottling things up won't help.
And nor will
pills help. Drugs can smother your emotions temporarily. But mourning is healthy
As you mourn try to keep hold of your happy memories. And
remember that memories can never be taken away from you.
Every year countless thousands of people who have retired
become ill and die within weeks of attending their retirement
Because their lives lack purpose or meaning.
you're planning to retire then decide how you want to spend the rest of your
life. You have earned the chance to enjoy yourself. What do you want to do most
with the years you've got left?
Start new hobbies, educate yourself, make
new friends, travel abroad. Even if money is tight you'll be surprised at what
you can do.
Being unemployed produces two types
First, there are the practical problems - a shortage of
Second, there are the mental problems - a feeling of being
Try to tackle your problems head on. Make a list of all the
things you'd like to do. Put the truly impossible on one side for now. Then look
at what's left.
Maybe you could start a window cleaning business. Or a
hedge trimming business. Find something that needs time and energy not capital.
Then set yourself targets.
Your initial aims will have to be
But don't abandon your dreams.
Learning to share your life with someone else is a stressful
The only way to cope is to communicate.
fears, your problems, your hopes, your aspirations. Talk to one another.
Understand one another.
Don't bury fears, anxieties, doubts or niggles.
If you do they'll eat away inside you and eventually surface to wreck your
7. Promotion at work.
It's the job you've dreamed
of. But suddenly it all seems terrifying. And you're frightened that you won't
be able to cope.
A physical or nervous breakdown is a common
Stay healthy by first remembering that you wouldn't have got
the job if they hadn't thought you could cope.
And help yourself by
reducing your other commitments. Make a list of all the pressure points in your
life. Choose your priorities and minimise your exposure to stress to ensure that
you'll succeed and survive.
8. Starting a new job.
are as stressful as a fear of the unknown. Take the edge out of this crisis
point by finding out as much as possible about the people you'll be working for
and with. And find out whatever you can about the job you'll be
Research and homework are the keys to survival.
If you try to hide or run away from your problems
then in the long run you'll suffer far more.
Your anxieties and guilts
will build up and your health will suffer.
Face the problem square on
now. Ask for independent, practical advice from social services or citizens
advice bureaux. Plan your budget carefully with their help.
Personal injury or illness.
You can improve your chances of making a
speedy, complete recovery by taking an active interest in your illness - and
Find out as much as you can about your illness. And take a
positive interest in your treatment.
By replacing a fear of the unknown
with a determination to get well you will have done more than anyone to speed up
your recovery rate.
Copyright Vernon Coleman 2005