Australian General Semantics Society Inc.




Seminar Summary - 22nd February 2015


"Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress"
A presentation/discussion on applying GS principles
to managing the stresses of everyday life.
Presented by Mr David Hewson.

A presentation/discussion on applying general-semantics principles
to managing the stresses of everyday life.

We considered the dangers of excessive stress, like comfort eating / drinking and hence weight gain, ill health, unhappiness, etc.

This led on to development of a causal model of the abstracting / evaluating process based on the REBT ABC model and general-semantics formulations.

The group used this model to find ways we can cope with the causes (e.g. one’s irrational beliefs) of stress as well as the effects of stress. Other options considered covered: meditation, relaxation and happiness methods.

1) Educational SCRUM (called eduSCRUM) was used to help students learn the topic. SCRUM according to J Sutherland is “A revolutionary approach to building teams, beating deadlines and boosting productivity” SCRUM looks at how people actually work rather than how they say they work.

Plans are useful but many put too much detail into a plan. He states “the map is not the terrain”. And GANTT charts are maps. So people make the mistake of relying too much on these maps. He states that while there is a range of 10:1 between the best person to the worst in the time taken to finish a project, the range is 2000:1 for the worst to the best team. So he suggests working on improvements in teams. A Dutch group applied this idea to education.

2) Why study stress? The negative effects of too much stress include: alcoholism, asthma,
     overweight (and hence an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart attack, high blood
     pressure, etc) , ulcers, unhappiness and unsanity (anxiety, depression, hysteria,
     obsessions, etc).

3) When stressed some say we can only either express or suppress our strong emotions.
    An Either/Or trap. There is a third option: change thoughts and change emotions.

4) We looked at the location of one’s control of events
    and related it to observer-observed formula.

5) Causes of stress? A (activating event) causes C (stress)?
     No! A (activating event) => B (beliefs used to evaluate the activating event against)
          => C (consequences of evaluation like stress.)
     More accurate but still not there. We developed a diagrammatic model of the process.
         A → (Interpret A i.e. abstract A) → Abstracted A (AA)
             → generate specific beliefs B about AA using our general beliefs
                → rate these specific beliefs
                     → consequences C
                          e.g. stress → further consequences.

6) So how can we reduce stress once we know this model?
    a) Changing A, to the extent we can and it is useful to.
    b) Changing how we interpret / abstract from the territory
    c) Changing our general beliefs (by using the P1 => T1 diagram)
        so we make different specific B’s for our AAs
    d) Change our rating method. For instance reduce our catastrophising.
    e) Use other methods to directly impact our stress consequences C
        so as to have less unwanted further consequences.

7) We considered a "Stress versus Benefit" curve.

8) Other ways to cope with stress include: comfort foods and alcohol. These have negative side effects. They can be replaced by exercise with positive side effects. We watched a video on research about this. Recent research shows too much drinking in your 50’s and 60’s can lead to s significantly increased risk of stroke

9) Other ways to reduce the effects of too much stress
     a) Use a GS happiness formulation like IFD
         or Korzybski’s E1, E2 & E3 expectations method.
    b) Relaxation methods
    c) Meditation methods

Next Meeting: 

"The Enlightenment"
The "Age of Reason" ("The Enlightenment") in the 17th - 18th Century was a movement emphasising reason and scientific method, challenging ideas grounded in tradition, superstition and faith. Sounds familiar? We considered the historical context of Alfred Korzybski's work, and what is really "new" about it.
Presented by Mr Robert James

WritingThis is a "living document", subject to ongoing evolution as recollections re-emerge from our memories of the event, and are re-evaluated in light of ongoing experience and reflection.  It will never be "the full truth and nothing but the truth", or "a map that expresses everyone's notion of the territory"!
Disclaimer: This "summary" is a collection of notes derived from our discussion by a number of means.  It is by no means a scholarly dissertation on the subject as presented.  It does not purport to be the "policy of AGS".  Comment and criticism (constructive or otherwise) is welcome.  If anyone has been misquoted, copyrights infringed or confidences betrayed, please Contact us.


Updated by RJ 22 Feb 2015

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