Monday, November 10, 2014

Four Key Coping and Stress Skills

            Napoleon Hill suggested that everyone might benefit by annually taking a  fearless personal inventory, preferably over end-of-year holidays. He suggested that we reassess what we are becoming, what we've attracted, what we've spurned and what we generously and graciously given back to our communities.
            History is a great teacher, Professor Hindsight teaches us to learn how to recognize problems' warning flags and to how to re-navigate through or around them. Yet, through our "normal" default conditioning, we often naturally react to inter- and intrapersonal stressors via predictable, habitual behavior patterns within our personality temperament.
Four keys to treat interpersonal stressors:
                Problem-solving is most effective for those who can synergize ideas, create multiple solutions and color outside the usual lines of "normal.” A prevalent problem with problem-solving is that interpersonal problems can be complex, presenting multiple symptoms, some of which may be more emotionally distracting than the actual, practical core problem.
            To improve your problem-solving skills, first acknowledge that the emotional component of a problem is sometimes larger and more impactful on one's sensibilities  than the problem itself.  Emotional stress is traumatizing.  Therefore, we tend to first  focus our behavior on primarily relieving discomfort and distress of negative feelings. 
                A positive attitude suggests that although I expect problems to reveal themselves to me via negative feelings, that is merely a signal, an indication of a feeling that I really don't want; which then empowers me to choose the opposite feeling, the real win at the end of the storm, like success, triumph, overcoming or real love.          
                Communication - Besides our own self-talk, where else in our lives do we enjoy valued conversations with friends, family, lovers and mentors? Oratory is not just a skill but also a need. Good speakers are also good readers, good listeners and can be good team players.  Communication can affect both individuals and groups' collective flow with the potential to positively energize or negatively discourage and weaken others' resolve towards their dreams.   Therefore, please choose to consciously communicate or, as Ben Franklin said, "speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."  
            Flexibility - Who do I think I am? What am I but a bundle of subatomic energy particles ultimately expressed in DNA hardware and software; merely a product of early experiences, observations of role models, attitudes, values and influences? What if, in confronting interpersonal problems, I am wrong in my personal heuristics? In a school of  Japanese psychotherapy "what if" serves as an highly effective re-framing tool in the  treatment of depression.  Reflect.  Ask yourself, "what if I'm totally wrong?"
            Closeness - The real question is not whether we need or desire closeness but to what degree and when. Closeness occurs when two opposite fears are in check: the fear of loss of love from someone and the fear of abandonment.  If you were abandoned as a kid, left alone in your room like Robin William who used his isolation to create imaginary characters and fictitious friends, then perhaps your conditioning necessarily attracts  similar experiences, within your painful but familiar emotional 'comfort' zone.
            A persistent, deeply rooted fear of abandonment may ultimately become self-fulfilling. The safety-seeking reasoning of such a person is, "Why risk involvement and attachment if a relationship begun can then just progress onwards as a relationship that eventually (as expected) crashes?" 
            Those who desire closeness ought observe and come to terms with their own natural need to bond with others versus a strong need for solo time alone to deepen oneself through reflection, meditation and other interests. Open dialogue with others about our emotional waves, our closeness fluctuations, may help comfort others' fears.
            These four interpersonal skills and their interactions is measured via a high validity/high reliability Wiley Publishing instrument called a "Coping and Stress" e-profile, available at "Longevity" presentations and at
Comments or questions: 323.543.5719.                               - Frank DeDominicis

Contact me for a copy of Hill's inventory.                            10  November  2014

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