Stress insidiously affects you, your spouse and your children. You or a family member may be suffering from stress or anxiety and not know it. There are three obsessive behaviors that you are likely to be engaging in that reduce your ability to recover from anxious moments and stop you from enjoying a stress-free life. Recognizing these barriers can be an excellent step towards getting rid of the problems associated with being over-stressed. If you have hobbies already, such as writing these might have staved off your stress in the past, but might not be working now because of the blocking behaviours.
The first is obsessive negativity. Obsessive negativity means that you tend to be “negative” about people, places, situations, and things in your life. Teenagers can be susceptible to this behaviour.
You might say things like “I never do this right” or “No one understands!” or “People don’t like me”. This may be completely subconscious, but essentially it’s an attitude that, if allowed to continues, can become ingrained! The world looks different with happiness and positive thinking.
Obsessive perfectionism is the second challenge, and can be a deep source of anxiety, especially if you are the one forcing high standards on your children. Ensure you give praise and constructive criticism, not destructive criticism. When you engage in obsessive perfectionism, everything must be done “right” – your way, to either your standards, or some standards that you perceive have been set for you. Internal statements such as, “I have to do this right, or I’ll be a failure!” or “If I am not precise, people will be mad at me!” set a person up for failure. This behavior might be totally under the threshold of your awareness, nevertheless it interferes greatly with the ability to enjoy things without feeling stress.
Obsessive analysis is the third. You might be obsessed about minute details of processes and procedures, going over them again and again until you are sure you understand it in miniscule detail – often far more than is required. You can’t relax if things go wrong, so you obsess over the processes and procedures.
An excess of analysis robs you of time to enjoy your life. You’re caught up in a loop and you need to break free by reassuring yourself that all is well and undertaking activities that take your mind off it. Understand that not doing the analysis will not compromise your life.
Don’t go rushing off to find a psychologist for you or your kids. If you have already identified blocking behaviours, the first step is to consult your friends and family to get any feedback from them. It will help them if you explain what the blocking behaviour types are so that they can give you a critique based specifically on those things as opposed to trivialities such as your dress sense or whether you can sing! Incidentally, singing lyrics to songs you like can be a great stress reliever.
Explain the three blocking behaviours and ask them to specifically address those as opposed to things that might not be relevant. The insight you will get from others’ assessment of you is invaluable and you’ll know precisely how others see you.
Secondly, keep a diary to write down and establish patterns of when blocking behaviors are used. Even if you are not thrilled with the idea of writing, you can make little entries into a note book or journal each day. The great part is that you’ll begin to see patterns in behavior that reveal exactly what is happening to foster anxiety.