When Should I Consider Big Lifestyle Changes Because I Cannot Cope With My Stress?

Question: When should I consider big lifestyle changes (changing jobs, my living situation) because I cannot cope with my stress?

Answer: Well, I would first simply say that one of the rules of thumb is that we don't want to make big life decisions when we're under stress, because frankly we just don't tend to make good decisions under stress. So we first I think have to start with learning about ourselves and trying to find ways in which we can modify our stress response to those stressors.

I think we take our own personal inventory, we understand how we're responding and why, we come to understand the ways in which we're thinking through these situations. And learn about whether about we're making misassumptions or hold faulty beliefs about those stressors, working often in the context of the help that a psychologist or psychiatrist can bring who is expert at these issues.

And if we've exhausted those resources and if we still feel as though we're under stress, then and only then I think do we consider making big wholesale life changes -- changing jobs, moving, pulling our child out of one school and sending her to another. Those are the kinds of changes that I think that we delay until we've exhausted the possibility that the stress issue is really within ourselves, more than it is a part of the external environment in which we find ourselves.

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