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Psychologist Offers Tips for Handling Stressful Events

BOONE–The approaching holidays can be stressful times for many people. Be sure to make time for relaxing activities, suggests an Appalachian State University psychologist.

Dan Jones, director of the Counseling and Psychological Services Center, discusses “Coping with Stressful Events” on the latest episode of “Appalachian Perspective.”

“Appalachian Perspective” is the university’s 30-minute cable television program hosted by Chancellor Francis T. Borkowski.

“I think regardless of whether the stress you have is related to the holidays or Sept. 11, you want to do things that relax you, such as exercising, getting in a quiet place, taking a hot bath, or listening to music,” Jones says.

Holiday stressors can include strained relationships and financial woes. This year’s holidays may have added stressors due to lingering emotions over the Sept. 11 attacks on America and subsequent military action and threats of bioterrorism.

Methods of coping with traumatic events vary among individuals, Jones says. Therefore, while some people worked through their emotions about the attacks on America in a few days, others don’t work through their feelings until months later. In some people, the events have stirred up existing emotional vulnerabilities and worsened feelings of depression or anxiety, Jones explains.

“We do know there is an increase in alcohol and drug use and domestic violence after a catastrophe,” Jones says.

Jones also advises parents how to talk to their children about terrorism. “Convey that this is usually a safe country. Kids need to know they are safe, their mother and father are safe and that these are unusual events.

“Also, don’t make a big deal of regressive behavior such as thumb-sucking or wetting the bed again.”

“Coping with Stressful Events” airs Nov. 26-Dec. 21. “Appalachian Perspective” can be seen at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays on Charter Communication’s Cable Channel 39 and at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Charter Communication’s Cable Channel 2. It also airs at various times on MTN and on community access channels in Charlotte, Kannapolis, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Newport and Hickory.