Sources of Stress and Relief for African American Women

By Catherine Fisher Collins | Go to book overview

meets to discuss its stated purpose and that purpose does not meet your needs, you will be caused more stress.

Unfortunately, some friends can be a source of tremendous stress. In her article [When Friends Create Stress,] Janet Bailey (2001, p. 44) states, [Think twice before you go to your friends for stress relief.] She further cites research from Ohio State University in which forty women were asked to confront a store manager about a defective purchase. These women, who brought a friend along, had a greater increase in cholesterol (a response to stress) than those without a friend present. Sometimes having our friends with us during certain critical situations may cause us to worry that they may think poorly of us. As mentioned previously, African American women do hold the opinions of others to be very important. However, only you can be the judge of how much you want to confide in a friend. I find that I rely on some of my friends more than others. In addition, I am very guarded as to how much I want to burden my friends with. That's why other stress busters like prayer and meditation can be another way to help you lay your burdens down.


CONCLUSIONS

The events of September 11, 2001, and the war with Iraq, have added another stressor to the long list of stressors that African American women must deal with on a daily basis. As I mentioned in part I of this book, there are some stressors that we have no control over, and the tragedy in New York City and Washington, D.C., fits into this category. However, we cannot simply block out the media that constantly reminds Americans that we are vulnerable to outside forces, and we cannot block out reports of racial profiling and overpolicing of African American communities. However, with all the faults in America, we African American women love our country. And it is because of this love that we must keep our stress levels under control so that we can help our families, our friends, and this great nation. It is my hope that when you have read this book, you will discuss your feelings with individuals who can lend their social support, and you will incorporate and practice one or more of the de-stressors found in this book. You will find that they can help. Some are simply common sense; others are amusing; and still others are serious and should be given serious consideration before you engage in them. In addition, you will find a [Stress Reduction Contract for Life] (SRCL) in Table 9.1. To complete the contract, fill it out as indicated in each column. This SRCL is one tool for you to use. As you begin to identify your stressors, you may also uncover a pattern that must be controlled. In order to live a long and healthy and less stressful life, it takes effort and determination. We, as African American women, have survived for more than four hundred years. This hasn't

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