Empathy with feeling stressed
All too often we hear people say ‘...challenging behaviour’ and wonder what is it that has made them conscious of the way a person behaves. Is it something they don’t understand or don’t like? Can’t tolerate or makes them get impatient? What is it exactly that makes us define someone as having challenging or complex behaviour?
Over the years we have learnt that indeed stress is a human reaction, one which we all experience at some time or another. I believe that stress is pressure or a collection of pressures which we find we can’t manage. It is a reality that at one time or another we all have a form of challenging or complex behaviour. To this end in ubu we do not use the term ‘behaviour’ when trying to understand others reactions, we use the term ‘stress’ and we seek to provide ‘‘Positive Stress Support”.
Appreciating this, I think the way we react to somebody else’s stress is extremely important. Getting frustrated and annoyed or trivialising someone’s stress can be extremely damaging. We need to help each other recognise stress in the people we serve and in ourselves and respond to it positively and effectively.
Because stress is different for everyone, the ability to empathise also varies from person to person. A new situation, an unfamiliar person or even a small change in routine can trigger stress related behaviour. Some people seem to thrive in high-pressure situations, seemingly immune to stress, taking it all in their stride but other people don’t.
At ubu, we recognise that stress and anxiety can cause huge barriers for some of the people we serve, preventing them from doing what many other people take for granted. We support them in dealing with those barriers and overcoming them bit by bit so they can live the life they want.
Progression comes from taking action each day. These actions can be gradual but each one should be a step towards the goal that person wants to achieve to achieve more happiness and independence in life. Once a positive approach to a stress related behaviour has been found, each step can be carried out with less feelings of stress or anxiety, and a person can start moving to the next stage of the process.
Breaking processes down into manageable steps and removing stress gradually, is effective. Through this approach, we have enabled many people to achieve things they never thought were possible. Every success, no matter how ordinary it may appear to others, is acknowledged and celebrated. This is part of what makes the enabling support ubu provides so special.
Stress manifests itself differently in every person and we need to understand that. We cannot control how others perceive or deal with stress but we can take responsibility for our own reactions. At ubu, we react with patience, kindness and respect. We think everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, no matter what challenges they are working through.
April is Stress Awareness Month and is about raising awareness about stress. I think it’s an excellent opportunity to raise awareness not just of how we deal with our own stress, but of how we deal with other people’s stress too.