From Dr. Jane's Notebook
Still Stressed Out?
There are some very real causes of stress in our lives. Cavepeople felt stress when
threatened by their bears; we feel stress when threatened by ours. Stress can be a very
accurate reaction to a very real problem, or it can become a bad habit. This month, we'll
consider some more ways of managing stress in this new era of tension.
- As my Grandmother used to say, Where are your rushing? Many of us run
chronically behind the clock because we overload ourselves with time commitments. I'm
guilty of this myself. I plan to be finished with one task at the same moment I'm
scheduled to be in another place across town. It's easy to do in a town like Greensboro.
If you only have ten minutes of driving to do, you think "I can make it". Then
its the pedal to the metal and your heart rate soars.
Some time ago, I realized that I was clearly on my way to a wreck if I didn't stop that
routine. Realizing that I am very tolerant of people who are five minutes late, I decided
to afford myself the same courtesy. Not that being late is a virtue, but it does help to
arrive alive. Actually, since affording myself this "five minute window", I've
been late less often and more composed when I do arrive.
- As the memory fades... When I find myself the busiest, I also find
myself the most absentminded. A couple of tricks help with the task of remembering. The
easiest is, of course, to put everything on a list and check it off when completed. But
for memory tasks such as "Did I remember to turn off the coffee pot?", or
"Did I take that medicine?", another tactic is required. Rather than running
back in the house to check the coffee pot, or counting every pill since the date of
prescription, give yourself an outloud message when you are doing these things.
Say outloud, "this is Monday at 9 a.m. and I am turning off the coffee pot".
This outloud message is easier to recall and will give you a definite answer to your
question or agonizing thought later on.
- As my Grandmother also used to say, Get enough sleep! You have to
respect your body's need for sleep. This is a simple truth. Some people catch up with
catnaps during the day, others sleep late on weekends, some go to bed early. Get the
amount of "sleep per week" that you need to keep up your strength and keep your
- Take a break from being in control. This doesn't mean "losing
control", it means "giving up the need to control everything all the time".
Allow others to do their jobs or suffer their own consequences. Allow others to do their
tasks "their" way instead of yours. Do your part and then stop yourself from
worrying. Things will usually work out okay, but that need to "control" takes a
huge toll on our emotions, physical health, mental health and interpersonal relationships.
We all have a serious job to do when it comes to managing and preventing stress
overload. In an age when we have conquered many diseases through remedies or preventive
measures, stress remains on the rise. We all owe it to ourselves to reconsider our
approaches to this not-so-new-age malady.
ęCopyright, 1994, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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Last Updated November 1, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon,