Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Debunking 7 Stress Myths

Debunking 7 Stress Myths                                                                                                               
#1. "Stress is bad."
            Is it? Stress is neither good nor bad but simply is.  My greatest stressors have become the greatest motivators for self-change and have Coping & Stress eProfile pushed me for constant improvement on all levels, to achieve personally meaningful goals.  Sometimes stressors are negative motivators; i.e., an impetus to never make the same mistake twice or to re-navigate one's path towards healthier options.  Be prepared for stress by strengthening yourself on all levels by including de-stress practices into your daily regime.  Breakdowns happen after long periods of continual wear and tear.  Provide your body with proper maintenance.

#2. "I can only do so much."
            Really?  What is your limit?  Oftentimes retreat and recreation refuel one's spirit, or as Boulder County Mental Health - Wellness Team Curriculum Coordinator Heidi Marks says, "Disconnect to connect."  We have great capacity for getting a second (and third and fourth)  wind if we know what to do during times of recharging.  Don't take a vacation just when your nerves are about to snap.  Build relaxation and reflection time into each day even if it's just for a few minutes of silence in nature or a quiet, peaceful place.

#3. "Others give me stress."
            Wrong.  My reaction to others causes stress.  This is perhaps one of the biggest myths about stress, which abdicates our personal responsibility for our choices and actions, even if our choice is inaction.  Although most popular stress solutions focus on attitude, nutrition and exercise, the 3 pillars of health, one must learn how to better address one's competence at handling interpersonal stressors as with the Coping and Stress eprofile.

#4. "I can't take any more stress."    
            Read Viktor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning.  Frankl survived Nazi concentration death  camps by daily claiming his right to his attitude of positive expectation, that someday he'd return to normalcy.   Bob Conklin asked, "When can you see the furthest, during the day or at night?"  Survival instincts automatically activate when one is in active combat, when one doesn't have time to think but must act spontaneously and quickly, whether the attack is from bullets, lawyers or mean words.  A bridge can take a series of heavy loads but not all at once.  An  overload of gradually developing stressors causes failure and breakdown ; a caution for us to start today to minimize and mitigate stressors.

#5. "I'm a failure because of a past scenario."
            Not. We are not events and should not define our potential for success based on achievement only.  Frank Demming who contributed to Japan's economic productivity jump in the 80's stressed scrapping individual employee evaluations and instead focus on team harmony and commitment to excellence in achieving key bottom-line objectives: "quality circles."  Don't live in the past but visit it for occasional research when necessary.  Don't be held back by focusing on your weaknesses but focus on your strengths, particularly within the interpersonal realm.

#6. "My job/spouse/money is my biggest stressor."  (See #3)

#7. "If I suffer one more negative I'll have a heart attack." 
            What we expect we tend to get although you may not know that worry is a form of negative affirmation, like a broken record that keeps repeating.  The negative Pygmalion Effect is now referred to as the "Golem Effect." Words have power, especially words we say inaudibly in our constant flow of self-talk.  Become  vigilant about what words and attitudes you allow into your conscious mind and what self-talk words you reject.  A "one more thing" negative assertion can provoke the Pygmalion Effect, the tendency for expectations to become self-fulfilling. 

            Beware of yourself!

- Frank DeDominicis                                                                                                                                                            
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