STRESS ! ! ! ! !

What does that mean? Stress? Come on. We use that word without ever really knowing what it is. In English, it’s very common to say, “I’m so stressed out!” Or, “I have too much stress in my life.” But using such a word accomplishes nothing toward solving the problem. The word stress merely blurs several different problems into one unmanageable mass.

The first step in managing “stress” is to try to avoid using the word stress from now on. It’s confusing. If you want to talk about stress, use the term stressor. All this STRESS!!!!! is actually a bunch of different stressors that require different sorts of attention. The first step in dealing with stressors is to separate them and deal with them individually.

Handling stressors is actually the core method of learning how to feel. Even Pleasure or Love or Joy can become a stressor if it is not processed correctly. As on the page Don’t Tell Me How to Feel, this page will review the technique of processing stimuli and will present more examples of how to process stressors.

If you’ve read the page “Don’t Tell Me How to Feel,” then you remember the example of the rattlesnake in the bed. The fear response is innate (inborn) but it does not help you. In fact, snakes have been using fear to confuse their prey since they began eating the first synapsids that today’s mammals evolved from, including humans! From an evolutionary biological point of view, our fear of snakes may be up to one hundred-fifty million years old! The snake knows a great deal more about fear than you do.

That is why you must choose to respond to a stressor like a snake with Contempt instead of fear. What does that mean? It means the same thing that it means in all other cases—that you take action that benefits you.

Personal Stressors

The following table lists several common stressors, a typical innate response, the proper conscious response, and a possible action for dealing with each stressor. Of course, the “Possible Action” you choose will likely be much more specific and more beneficial to your particular situation.

Personal Stressor Innate Response Conscious Response Possible Action
Overspending Anxiety Disgust Write a budget. Stick to it. Increase income.
Child speaks rudely to you. Anxiety or Grief This is not a loss. Grief is definitely wrong. Disgust Relax. Remain calm. Refuse to tolerate.
Never respond from anxiety or fear.
Spouse declines sex. Grief, anxiety, or contempt
All wrong! Never react negatively, here.

Love, Compassion Offer massage, quiet time, food, or drink.

Workplace Stressors

There is some conflict between workers and employers about whose responsibility it is to manage workplace stressors. The workers say management should do more to reduce workplace stressors. Management insists workers have some responsibility to handle the stressors. Of course, they are both right. The “Possible Action” in the table below attempts to preserve that balance.

Workplace Stressor Innate Response Conscious Response Possible Action
High work load Anxiety/Fear Disgust Increase efficiency and time management. Approach mgt. calmly and professionally about the work load.
Long hours Anxiety/Fear Compassion for self. Disgust for situation Eat, drink, and rest properly.(compassion). Approach mgt. calmly and professionally about the long hours.(Disgust)
Pressure from clients Anxiety/Fear Disgust
You can also handle this with Pleasure or Joy.
Ask to switch clients.(Disgust) Find new ways to please client with product/service.(Pleasure, Joy)
Racial, sexual, religious discrimination Anxiety/Fear Disgust, Contempt, Joy. Yes. This is a tough one. Action can range from humor to legal action. It must fit your style.

I hate to cop out on the discrimination stressor, but, as always, the point is not to recommend action. The point of this website is to practice responding with the most effective emotion. The most effective action is highly debatable.

Coping Skills

You will find other websites and books that mention “coping skills”. These are what I call “Possible Action” in the tables above. Or sometimes I just call it “taking action that benefits you.” You may call them “coping skills” if you like. Sounds a little technical for me. A little too seminar.

This is a just a two-bit website put together by a hack designer who wears the same clothes three days in a row. Feel free to call them coping skills.

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