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PECS: How to Achieve a Stress Free Life

by Laura Dabney MD

PECS: How to Achieve a Stress Free Life

An acronym I often use for achieving a stress-free life is PECS. Using this acronym helps people remember how to approach stress, and how to resolve it.

P is for Perception in a Stress Free Life

Perception is your ability to fully understand the problem from your viewpoint. This may seem obvious or easy, but it’s not. The problem is people often automatically go to what the other person should be doing, thinking, or how they should be acting. As opposed to what they themselves feel, and think about the problem. It’s important for you to understand how you feel or think about something.

A lot of people have guilt or shame about certain emotions, and then they bypass them. It’s very important for you to be able to express your emotions. Otherwise, you’re just ordering someone around.

The goal is not to order someone around. The goal is for you to express a pain point that motivates your partner to change.

How can you communicate a pain point?

Example: “I have a pain point, and our relationship is hurting.” This will motivate someone who loves you to help you resolve it. It’s very important to express your emotions. Acknowledge your emotions (sadness, anger, neediness), and express your pain point.

E is for Expression ins a Stress Free Life

I can’t stand the pop psychology line, “All relationships are about communicating.” Think about it, anyone can communicate. Simple conversations are communicating. What’s important is knowing how to effectively communicate.

Expressing yourself effectively is putting the thought and feeling together in a simplistic way that avoids anything about your partner.

An effective template for expression is, “ I feel X when you do Y.”

“I feel irritated when you criticize me in public.”

It’s very simple. By using this template you are expressing pain over a certain action. You’re not blaming, you’re not scolding, you’re not shaming. You’re simply sharing your perception in a kind sympathetic way.

C is for Compromise in a Stress Free Life

Compromising is putting both of your perceptions together and finding something that works for both of you.

The overall PECS template is – you have your perception (X), you express your perception, and then you listen sympathetically to your partner’s perception (Y). You’ll dovetail X and Y together to come up with a masterpiece. I say masterpiece because it is a masterpiece you’ve created together. It’s your own unique signature to the problem. This is an intimate experience because you did not take over or let your partner take over, you are both a part of the solution together.

S is for Sympathy in a Stress Free life

Sympathy is the ability to take your past experiences and listen to your partner’s perception with understanding. By doing this, you are not taking over or giving up. You’re simply laying out the problem, neutrally. You have your perception and she has her perception. Now that everything is laid out on the table, it’s time to compromise.


Watch a video on this topic here.

If you have any questions or would like help with how to break up with someone you love, call, or text anytime at 757-340-8800 or go to www.drldabney.com.

Dr. Laura Dabney

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