Friday, October 7, 2011

The New "Black Death"...

From AOL: "It's been dubbed the "21st century equivalent of the Black Death." In the U.K., it's the most common reason employees take long-term sick leave. It costs American companies $300 billion a year. In Japan, it's a fatal epidemic."

The story goes on to accuse STRESS. But "they" are wrong.

The problem is not, and never has been stress. The problem is the DISTRESS that is caused by ignoring stress.

Stress is to the human body as a smoke alarm is to a fire-prone tenement in the Bronx. It is nothing more than a warning. When we fail to heed the warning and take the necessary steps to eliminate the problem, the stress becomes distress. And THAT is what harms us.

The cure? Listen to the warnings, and take the steps necessary to eliminate that which is causing the warning - just like you would seek out and eliminate whatever is causing your smoke alarm to go off.

Stress only occurs when we find ourselves face-to-face with a situation for which we are not adequately or properly prepared. You then have three choices:

1) ignore the problem and hope it goes away (it won't)

2) learn whatever you have to learn to cope with the situation, or

3) take a 3 martini lunch

When stress comes, simply ask yourself what is it about the situation that you are not capable of handling. Then go out and learn whatever you must in order to BECOME capable.

EXAMPLE: Both Bob and Joe are up for promotion to supervisor. Bob has studied the job, has taken night classes on supervision and is prepared for the job. When he is promoted, there is no stress and he succeeds. Joe, on the other hand did not study the job, or take classes. When he gets promoted, he faces situations he is not prepared to deal with, and he feels stress. If he continues to ignore the warnings and does not learn what he must, the stress will become distress. And Joe will soon be replaced (causing even more distress, I'm sure).

The first line of defense against stress is to try and prepare in advance for situations that may arise. The second line of defense is to actively seek learning when a stressful situation does arise.

Of course, you could go for the martinis - but that will just add other stresses...


No comments: