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by Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
Stress is a killer.
There are some
who would say, "there's good stress and then there's bad
stress." That's sort of like saying, "there are good
heart attacks and then there are bad heart attacks."
Maybe there is
some positive benefit to the stresses that will enhance our performance,
but, for the most part, stress is a negative, keeping us from
performing at peak levels, damaging our daily productivity, and
decreasing the chances of our longevity.
Many blame stress
on external forces. "We are living in stressful times."
"This is a stressful job." "My boss (husband,
wife, co-worker, customer, client, kid, etc.) is really stressing
The world is
not really a stressful place and these are not really stressful
times. There really are no stressful jobs. If any of these were
true, then everyone in that community, job, relationship, etc.
would be stressed. Some are. Maybe most are. But some are not.
There are many
"stress reduction" programs, seminars, and courses
out there. Most are effective. But, rather than treat the symptoms,
what if we treated the disease and rid
ourselves of the causes of the stress?
Most stress is
internal, caused by the ways in which we relate to the world
and events and people around ourselves. Stress is caused when
there is a disconnect between our expectation and our reality.
When reality falls short of an expectation, it creates a disappointment
and that causes stress.
let us say you drove your car to work today, your car was parked
in the nearby parking lot, and you will leave work today at 5:00
p.m. You probably have an expectation that your car will be right
where you left it when you got to the parking lot this afternoon.
Well, what if you were to discover at 5:00 p.m. that your car
has been stolen? I would imagine most of us would feel some stress
from finding out about our stolen car!
But, what if
you return to the parking lot this afternoon and there is your
car exactly where you left it this morning? You insert the key
and drive away. Do you feel stress? No, because expectation and
reality match up.
While most of
us will experience those larger disappointments in life, they
are typically few and far between so that our bodies have a chance
to cope and recover. Rather, it is all the little disappointments,
which seem inconsequential individually, but when added together
throughout a day, will really build up the stress. (Dealing with
the morning rush hour, not getting things done on time, tasks
piling up, personal errands not attended to, etc.)
Bring your realities up to your expectations. How? Through effective
Daily Planning. Make sure that you plan to do the little things
you want and expect should be done in addition to all the things
you "have to" do during the day. Prioritize the list
and tackle them in the order of their importance to you.
We will never
eliminate stress completely but, with more effective planning,
we can reduce and stabilize stress.
- Dr. Donald
E. Wetmore is a professional
speaker and publisher of Timely Time Management Tips,
a free ezine aimed to increase your personal productivity and
get more out of every day. You can sign up now for his free "TIME
MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION LIST" at: http://www.topica.com/lists/timemanagement
and select "subscribe". You can also contact Dr. Wetmore
at the Productivity Institute, Time Management Seminars, 60 Huntington
St., P.O. Box 2126, Shelton, CT 06484. Ph: (800) 969-3773, (203)
929-9902; Fax: (203) 929-8151, mailto:[email protected], or visit
his web site at http://www.balancetime.com.