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October 24, 2005
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Facing your every day anxieties as an officer

By guest contributor Stan Popovich

Being a police officer nowadays can be a very stressful job. There are many stressful and unknown factors that a police officer has to face in performing his daily tasks. For instance, a police officer deals with people who may want to harm them, they sometimes get shot, and they sometimes face dangerous situations that put their lives in danger.

The anxieties that a policemen experiences can sometimes be overwhelming. At times their stresses and anxieties can get the best of them. With this in mind, here is a list of techniques that a police officer can use to help manage their daily stresses and anxieties.

Facing the unknown can be very stressful for a police officer. The first step in dealing with one's anxieties is to learn to take it one day at a time. Taking it one day at a time can help to focus on what is happening in the present.
When encountering anxiety producing situations, always remember to get all of the facts of the given situation. Gathering the facts can prevent us from relying on exaggerated and fearful assumptions. By focusing on the facts, a person can rely on what is reality and what is not.

Another reminder is that while the consequences of a particular fear may seem real, there are usually other factors that can not be anticipated and can affect the results of any situation. We may be ninety-nine percent correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference.

At times, a police officer might experience fearful thoughts that may be difficult to manage. The first thing a police officer can do is to read some positive statements and affirmations that help lift their spirits and make them feel better. When a police officer experiences a negative thought, he or she can replace that thought with a positive and uplifting statement. Replacing your negative thoughts with positive ones can help overcome your stresses.

Another way a person can deal with a fearful thought is to visualize a red stop sign when you think of it. The red stop sign can serve as a reminder to stop thinking about that fearful thought. This technique is a good way to handle fearful and obsessive thoughts.

Sometimes a police officer may get stressed and anxious when everything seems to happen all at once. As a police officer, he or she may become overwhelmed with the stress of a previous situation, and on top of all that, he or she is expected to accomplish four or five task in the next few hours. When this happens, a person should take a deep breathe and try to find something to do for a few minutes to get their mind off of the problem. A person could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things. By taking this small mental timeout, a police officer will reduce his or her anxiety.

When facing a current or upcoming task that overwhelms you with a lot of anxiety, divide the task into a series of smaller steps and then complete each of the smaller tasks one at a time. Let's imagine that as a police officer, you are in the midst of busting a crime operation in your city and in addition you will have tons of paperwork to do after this operation is contained. A normal person who views this situation as a whole can be easily overwhelmed with the stresses and anxieties of this entire task. To make things easier, get a piece of paper and divide this situation into three main tasks and develop a plan where you will only focus on each task one at a time. The three main tasks could be the following:

  1. The first step is to focus on arresting the people in this operation. Remind yourself that you will focus only on what needs to be done to get the people in custody. This means getting a warrant, reviewing with your fellow officers what needs to be done, and then going to the residence and arresting those people.
  2. Once the first task is finished, focus on the tasks that are most relevant at the time such attending mandatory meetings and filling out the necessary paperwork that is must be done right away.
  3. Once the important tasks are completed, concentrate your efforts on filling out the additional paperwork that is less relevant but still needs to be done.

By dividing this entire project into a series of smaller steps and completing them one at a time, a police officer can make their stress more manageable and increases their chances of success.

Sometimes, it helps to be able to talk to someone about our stressful situations. Talking to a trusted friend, counselor, or clergyman can not only make us feel better, but they might be able to give you additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the future because they will be more knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with their daily stresses. Everything we do is a learning experience and learning how to deal with your stresses with the help of a professional is no different.

I have interviewed many psychologists and clergyman and I have over fifteen years of experience in dealing with fear. Dealing with our stressful problems is not easy, especially if you're a police officer. A police officer has to realize that their stressful problems can be managed and that help is available. An officer who is experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety must first acknowledge that they have a problem and he or she must be willing to take the first step in getting the help they need. Remember that the answers that an officer may be looking for in solving their anxiety problems are out there if they are willing to take the time to find those answers.

BIOGRAPHY:
Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For free information on managing fear please go to: http://www.managingfear.com/ For additional book information go to: http://www.managingfear.com/






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