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Diffusing the Stress Bomb: Part 1

--Adam Maisen, LPC-S/TA

· Diffusing Stress

Over the last several weeks, I have been talking about improving relational connections in the family. Last week, I discussed reactions versus responses and the correlation between our behaviors and our outcomes when we experience stress. After writing Connecting Through Correcting, one of my readers posed the question about how to maintain control when we are angry. First off, we must recognize that angry behaviors are reactions to stress that we already feel.

The Stress Bomb

During this season of life, everything in our world seems topsy-turvy. We see more people working from home or out of work altogether. Extra-curriculars were cancelled. High school and college students missed out on many rites of passage. Not to mention the social unrest, social distancing, and masks.

What we can all agree on is that we are in unprecedented times. The ambiguity that we face every day only serves to quicken our fuse burn. When the fuse gets lit, it tends to burn quickly, unless we can find a way to extinguish it.

Over the next 3 weeks, I am going to give you 9 tips for diffusing the stress bomb. We need to start with the way we think. It is easy for us to fall into using a negative mental filter. Think of this like putting on a pair of sunglasses. Everything takes on the hue of the lenses. If we are looking through negative lenses, our perception of our situation becomes colored with stress.

3 Thought Shifts to Diffuse Stress

  • There is usually a silver lining.

Think about the social change and awareness that is coming out of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the discussions around Systemic Racism. On a lighter note, I can’t wait to see what new inventions come out of the COVID era.

Also, for some families I have worked with in the last 4 months, COVID has provided them the opportunity to connect with each other more than ever because distractions have been minimized.

  • Consider the pros and cons of your stress.


Stress is often seen as a negative thing.But, some level of stress can motivate us to change. For instance, the stress of a deadline can help you to get tasks done in a timely manner.


However, if your stress is having a negative impact, then perhaps you need a perspective shift. For instance, a large project can seem overwhelming until you break it down in to small simple tasks.

  • Think about the consequences that your thoughts and actions have on people around you and your own emotional well-being. 

Since March 2020, social media has been flooded with everything from conspiracy theories to commentary about the coming of the end of the world.Nobody knows when the world will end, but all the commentary seems to create a societal atmosphere that promotes stress.


On a more personal note, when my son hears the slightest hint of stress in my voice or in my wife’s, he feeds on it and his stress turns into panic.This tends to cause a chain reaction of him yelling at his siblings because he is triggered.

Diffusing the stress bomb can be difficult. Over the next 2 weeks, we will be discussing self-care strategies and effective coping skills that you can use immediately to experience more peace in a stressful world. Being proactive about keeping your baseline stress level low improves your stress tolerance and makes you more resilient so you can extinguish the fuse when stress begins.

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Also, please type your thoughts and comments below. I will personally respond to each one. Let’s discuss the impact of stress and ways that we are coping.

Thanks for reading!

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