Stress management and new skills

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Thomas Kulanjiyil, PsyD, PhD, is a founding member of PARIVAR International. He currently serves on the faculty of College of DuPage. He is co-editor of the book, “Caring for the South Asians-Counseling South Asians in the West.” Dr. Kulanjiyil can be reached at tk@parivarinterntional.org. For any personal or family issues contact Parivar Family Helpline:(877)-743-5711.

By Thomas Kulanjiyil
We have been discussing ways to cope with immigration and acculturation-related stress. We continue the discussion by looking into a few more strategies.

Allowing time to adjust: Some adjust to change easily, but others take considerable time and effort. Children generally adjust quicker than adults. Those with experience living outside of native settings adjust faster than those who don’t have such experiences. The good news is that you have the ability to learn and develop the mental and emotional resources needed to manage change and transition. Recognize that this is a gradual process. 

Utilizing social resources: Immigrant families can take advantage of numerous social resources available in the community, such as pre-employment screening, employment trainings, job fairs, and educational opportunities. Immigrants often have to either learn a new trade or upgrade education to increase job prospects. Learning new job skills that fit the American job market is crucial. Degrees, skills, and experiences acquired in a   foreign country are seldom adequate to find appropriate employment in America. Employment discrimination based on ethnicity, age, and sex further inhibits employment opportunities for   immigrants. Community college is an inexpensive way to upgrade your professional skills and education. Enquire about the scholarship programs available at most educational institutions for minorities. It is always useful to consult with a trusted friend or career counselor to advise you on career opportunities.

Learning new social skills: Proficiency in written and  spoken English is an asset to adjust well to the American society. It is socially and economically self-limiting for one not to possess at least spoken proficiency in English. You must take advantage of programs such as ESL (English   as Second Language) available in the community. Consult the community centers for facilities near you. Learning to drive is a significant achievement. It provides you mobility and independence. If you are within the legal age of driving, learn the new skills. Services from professional driving schools are quite affordable.

Caring for self: Keeping oneself physically and     emotionally healthy is vital to purposeful, productive   living. Balanced diet,  physical exercise, leisure,  relaxation and rest, prayer and meditation, and other such activities contribute to building a healthy lifestyle.

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