At one time or another, stress affects everyone.
What sets people apart is how they manage that stress, according to Steve Naxer, Family Advocacy Program specialist for the Stuttgart military community.
Naxer teaches free stress management, parenting and anger management classes through U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Army Community Service on Panzer Kaserne.
The classes aim to educate community members on how stress, anger and lack of communication affect their relationships, and help them to better manage their emotions, at home and at work.
“Healthy, open communication is the key [to] all of these,” Naxer said. “If you can handle your stress, you won’t be angry. If you can handle your anger, you won’t get stressed. If a family and kids are communicating together, they’re not going to have anger, [and] they’re not going to have stress.”
The “Managing Your Emotions” class focuses on anger management in three areas: understanding anger, anger in the workplace, and anger in relationships.
All of the areas are interconnected, Naxer said.
“If you have pent up anger in one area [such as work], you’re letting it out on people you love,” he said. “They really bleed into each other.”
In the class, participants learn what their individual anger triggers are. They also learn to deal with anger in a healthy way, Naxer said.
Married couples in particular find this class useful, he added.
“What I find is the biggest [issue] is a lack of communication between spouses,” Naxer said. In the class, they learn how to be understood and respected.
Naxer also teaches “Stress Management” and “Stress Management for Women.”
He has found that men and women open up more in a same-sex classroom environment. “Women deal with stress differently than men do,” he said.
Simone Catania, a civilian who took the stress management class earlier this year, found Naxer’s personalized approach helpful.
“He broke a lot of things down … how you should think, how you can improve your relationships,” she said. “He’s the sort of guy who can tune in to a woman.”
As a former Army Soldier who has been deployed himself, Naxer can also relate to service members. He often begins one-on-one stress management classes with service members by telling them about his background.
“When I open up to Soldiers, they get a look like: ‘Wow, somebody who understands,’” Naxer said. “I give them the tools to work with to help [reduce] anger or stress, whatever is bothering them.”
Another free FAP class at ACS is the “Love and Logic” parenting class, based on the philosophy founded by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D.
The Love and Logic DVDs teach parents how to influence their children’s behavior by allowing them to make choices and deal with the consequences.
“It’s really about teaching children to make their own decisions,” Naxer said.
Naxer said the Love and Logic program has helped many parents see eye-to-eye on parenting.
“People are shocked at how easy it looks and that is works,” Naxer said. “If [both parents] come to the class and both practice skills out of this parenting class, things will change.”
Love and Logic classes are available for parents of newborns to children age 6, and parents of children age 7 and older.
For more information about FAP classes, call Steve Naxer at 431-3364/civ. 07031-15-3364. To sign up for a class, call ACS at 431-3362/civ. 07031-15-3362.