We all know that stress is necessary to keep us in balance — the right combination of eustress (good stress) and distress is similar to tuning an instrument: the right tension between different sounds produces a pleasing sound.
When distress tips the balance people try to reassert balance, sometimes by doing more of the very things that cause distress in the first place. Like the anxious employee who works even longer hours and becomes physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelmed. In other words, more distressed.
I recently gave a homework assignment that called for my client to periodically yell and scream in some private, safe place. The next session, he reported that right after our meeting he sat in his car and screamed. And it worked! When you try it, clue in your partner or family; he didn’t and scared the living goose bumps out of his wife.
There are lots of other ways to attack stress and some are pretty odd.