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Perception Interventions

  • Selective awareness is deciding on whether to focus on the good or on the bad in a situation or person. Focusing on the good is less stressful.
  • Experiencing life as fully as possible requires conscious effort, since we become habituated to things that are repeated. Varying our experiences (such as taking different routes to school or work) can help in this process.
  • Type A behavior pattern is a particular complex of personality traits, including excessive competitive drive, aggressiveness, impatience, a sense of time urgency, and a free-floating but well-rationalized form of hostility almost always accompanied by a deep-seated sense of insecurity. People exhibiting Type A behavior patterns are more prone to coronary heart disease than are Type B's. Type B's are less apt to contract heart disease and exhibit just the opposite behavior pattern from Type A's. Hostility and holding in anger seem to be the major variables associated with ill health resulting from Type A behavior.
  • Self-esteem refers to how high a regard you hold for yourself. Individuals with low self-esteem experience stress from not thinking well of themselves, not trusting their own opinions, and acting nonassertively. Self-esteem is learned and can be changed.
  • Locus of control is the perception of the amount of control you believe you have over events that affect your life. An external locus of control refers to a perception of very little control (control is outside yourself). An internal locus of control refers to a perception of a great deal of control.
  • Anxiety is an unrealistic fear resulting in physiological arousal and accompanied by behavioral signs of escape or avoidance. State anxiety is either temporary in nature or specific to a particular stimulus. Trait anxiety is a generalized sense of anxiousness.
  • Other types of anxiety include panic disorder, social phobia, and specific phobia. Panic disorder is a condition in which feelings of terror occur as a result of unrealistic fear. Social phobia is an overwhelming fear and self-consciousness. Specific phobia is an intense fear of a specific situation that poses little or no actual danger.
  • Anxiety can be managed by environmental planning, relabeling, self-talk, thought stopping, or systematic desensitization.
  • Albert Ellis developed the ABCDE technique for managing anxiety. It consists of examining irrational beliefs that make us anxious, changing those beliefs, and envisioning more positive consequences of our actions.
  • Hardiness results from three factors: commitment, control, and challenge. Commitment is the tendency to involve oneself in what one is doing, control is the belief that one can influence the course of events, and challenge involves the expectation that change is both normal and will lead to personal growth. Studies have found hardiness associated with less illness, lower levels of blood pressure and triglycerides, less psychological distress, increased happiness and adjustment, and marital happiness.

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