Although discussing stress with health care providers plays a key role in helping us stay healthy, many people aren’t doing this, according to a recent study from the American Psychological Association (APA) Dr. David Ballard, APA Assistant Executive Director for Marketing and Business Development, and Citrin Consulting President Richard Citrin offer these suggestions to help you have this conversations with your physician.
- Think like a doctor. Physicians are trained to diagnose symptoms. People dealing with stress often experience symptoms such as trouble sleeping or more frequent headaches.
- Prepare a list of specific list of symptoms and concerns, For example, telling your doctor, “We’ve picked up a lot of new clients at work,” or “My husband is travelling a lot,” can help focus on the source of your stress.
- Reframe your symptoms. Describe how other people in your life might talk about the stress you face. Rather than saying, “Here’s what’s going on with me,” telling the doctor, “My spouse would say this is happening,” can provide a valuable perception.
- Show honest emotion. Some physicians might believe stress is a mental health issue that they can’t fix easily. Sharing your concerns openly can often elicit the doctor’s empathy.
- Don’t rely solely on physicians. Psychologists, social workers, ministers, or rabbis are probably better suited than doctors to listen to your concerns about stress. If your situation is serious enough, they will be able to refer you to the right health care professional or recommend that you see your own physician.