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Safe Stress II
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The Four Stages of Burnout
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Smoke Signals I
Smoke Signals II

Stress Smoke Signals II

Is your good nature eroding from too many demands or from juggling responsibility for too many people or projects? Is facing an everexpanding base of data, policies and procedures causing a personality transformation -- going from Dr. Jekyl into Hiding? Perhaps you're a slave to deadlines, or tied up by thieves of time? Beware! You may be caught in the "Multiple & Simultaneous Demand Situation." If you're not careful, this Multiple & Simultaneous (or M & S) Demand Situation can turn around and become an "S & M" experience. You end up a "Servant to too many Masters!"

 Are you servant or master with these stressors?:

 1. Telephone Tremors. Do you start shaking when the phone rings? Or, can't set limits on yourself and others? Are you ready to rewrite the old AT&T television commercial. One more abrasive caller or intrusive telemarketer and you will "reach out and CRUSH someone!" Take control of the telephone. Don't allow others to keep interrupting you. If you think Alexander Graham Bell was "the father of stress," you probably have not cut the cord with your mother. Enough already!

 2. Clutter. How cluttered is your life? Does the state of chaos or stacks of paper in your office or apartment have you almost envious of the unemployed or homeless? What about the inside of your car? Be honest...Do you feel like you're driving around in a pocketbook on wheels?

 3. Type A Trap. Are you reluctant to delegate work because no one can do it as efficiently or perfectly as you? Be careful. You may be setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy. People may start agreeing: "You're right. No one can do it quite like you. Please, go do it yourself!" (You know, of course, who's the real Type A...The person who won't settle for anything less than being a Type A+.)

 4. Cover-up. I once encountered a law firm where we finally exposed the big stress secret: half the attorneys - male as well as female - kept Grecian Formula 44 in their top draw. Makes me think of a T-shirt I once bought for an anxious woman friend with a good sense of humor. There's a picture of a woman having a "bad hair day" with the caption: "How can I control my life when I can't control my hair!"

 But now for a real cover-up. After discussing a list of stress warning signs in a workshop, a somewhat pompous State Department manager arrogantly asked, "What do you call it if you don't have any stress?" I looked Mr. Bluster in the eye and calmly gave a word reply: "Denial!"

 So laugh or lampoon, just don't tune out, those stressors and smoke signals. Email me and join "The Stress Doc's" on-line support/chat group -- "The Frequent Sighers Club." Come learn the art and practice of "Safe Stress!"