Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Need Your Help

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Coming soon, new viral video to promote our retreat. I need your help though... in order for the video to be "viral" I need your help in forwarding the link to the video to as many colleagues as you can - those who have an interest in Anger Solutions and the field of anger management in general. Please, talk this event up to your friends and colleagues and encourage them to make this first retreat a memorable one!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Keep Un-necessary Stressors Away

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Crying baby? Can’t help that. Boorish boss? Maybe you can’t help that either. But that third cup of coffee? You can steer clear of that one. There are some things in life that are uncontrollable, and then there are others that we can do something about. Ironically, part of the challenge about stressors that we can’t control, is that sometimes we can’t control when they come in and out of our lives. That said, there are certain kinds of stresses that we can keep out of our lives. Here are just a few things that we openly welcome, sometimes unaware that they are stress-inducers rather than stress-reducers:

Ø Watching or reading the morning or 10 p.m. news – starting or ending the day with bad news can heighten our stress. I remember giving a seminar in Rochester, NY, and most of the people showed up late for the session. Turned out there was a fatality on the highway – a pedestrian was killed while “attempting to cross” the interstate. Now, having worked in the field of mental health for several years before going into corporate speaking, I made the mistake of relating to a few of the early folk that the last time I heard of something like that happening, it wasn’t an accident, but a wilful act on the part of the “pedestrian”. Didn’t that put a damper on the morning! News – especially bad news travels fast. I didn’t realize how that one off-hand comment could set the tone for the day – with everyone suddenly feeling down and low-energy, because of the thought that they may have witnessed a suicide on the highway that morning. I learned my lesson though! Now, I start the day with positive input, and do the same for my seminar participants, because I know that bad news can overshadow your mood for the day.
Ø Making frequent and lengthy stops at the water cooler or coffee machine. Too often an innocent trip to the break room becomes an opportunity for people to carp about the challenges, stressors, and difficult people at your workplace. The more you find yourself getting caught up in those kinds of conversations. And… the more you talk about what is wrong at work, the more stress you will feel. (What you focus on is what you will achieve. Remember this when you get to the chapter on Focus.) Pretty soon, the job you loved to get up for every morning suddenly fills you with dread when the alarm goes off each morning, and before you know it, you are wondering why you ever decided to work here. What changed? The job didn’t – but your RESPONSE to it did. So guard your thoughts and focus on the reasons why you love this job, rather than the reasons everyone else hates it. Watch your attitude, and keep it positive!
Ø Engaging in low energy activity during your high energy times. Make sure you match your activities that require high energy with your peak energy times in order to maximize the use of both your time and energy. More on this when we talk about managing one’s time.
Ø Silently tolerating the boorish behaviour of your belligerent, bullying boss. Trust me – I have been there, and for years I thought that the best way to get through my bosses’ temper tantrums was to sit quietly and wait for the storm to pass over. However, after 60 lbs of weight gain over 2.5 years, two surgeries and 6 weeks of sick leave from one particularly stressful job, I began to re-think my position on how to deal with workplace bullies. Now I take the position that one must be clear about what is acceptable and not acceptable in terms of behaviour and the way one is treated.

I remember when I was on the road teaching the “Exceptional Assistant” program for Pryor Resources, I met some people who were so oppressed by their bosses that they had to ration the amount of water they drank because they were only allowed to use the bathroom at certain times of the day! I met women who put up with so much inappropriate behaviour on a consistent basis, that they had reverted to the same kind of belligerence that they hated, much to their dismay. They had somehow bought into the myth that they had to accept poor treatment at work, because after all, they should be happy they even had a job, right? Remember the list of self-evaluating questions you went through in the chapter, Face Your Fears? Do it again for this situation. You may be surprised at the answers you generate.

It is often hard to stand up to someone who has authority over you, even when you know for certain that they are wrong, but the truth is this. The stress you may feel in the moment of standing up to tyrannical behaviour may be intense in the moment, but the worst thing that can happen is that the behaviour will continue. The best thing that could happen is that your boss might actually realize the impact s/he is having on your ability to perform effectively, and STOP! Remember, no one can hurt your feelings without your permission.

Guess What? There is more to this chapter! Please visit to download your PRE-ORDER Form so you can be one of the first to get a copy of my new book, Stress Less in 27 Days when it rolls off the presses.