3 Musts for Stress-Free Work

by - 9:35 PM

While speaking before a woman’s forum, I was handed this saying: “A woman is like a teabag—you never know how strong she is until you get her in hot water.” Women have the reputation of being steel magnolias. But actually, if we are really so strong, why are we the major consumers of antacids? Why don’t we admit to being “angry,” instead of politely saying we’re “depressed” or “hurt”?

Depression is anger turned inward, directed at us by ourselves. That’s not strength at all; it’s passivity. The result of not achieving the success you long for causes stress—which can ultimately kill you.

Women are not alone in needing help in handling stress. More and more men are seeking me out for stress management techniques. At work, men and women alike are told that to get ahead is to get along. They think they should swallow their tongue, and swallow their Tums. Swallow and wallow.

At home, many people follow the same routine. According to the University of Michigan School of Public Health, swallowing your emotions can be dangerous. Their study found that swallowing anger toward a mate can double a person’s risk of premature death.

The “Don’t make waves” mantra at the office causes most people to follow the formula for peacemaking, pleasing, and placating. But that notion denies and defies their individuality. Ignoring who you are is painful and stressful. We don’t need the advice of self-help gurus and shrinks to tell us that most of us have difficulty confronting. For years, Oprah Winfrey admitted confrontation is one of her own greatest flaws.

How can we mortals get our emotions out, clear our thoughts, cleanse our consciences, and win respect? Follow the 3 Musts for a Stress-Free Life. This prescription mandates that we must respond to life’s crises, rather than react to them. It won’t happen automatically all the time, but it certainly will happen when you remember what the necessary ingredients are.

Must #1

Many years ago, Gloria Steinem said that people waste too much time waiting for someone to take charge of their lives. While I was running a Management Optimization Seminar attended by mostly male executives, the managers bemoaned their boss for not promoting them and giving them raises.

When I asked whether their boss knew about their discontent, they said, “He should know!”

In reality, not one of them had shared their goals and aspirations with this superior. Time is life. Don’t wait for someone to come along and give you a job, a raise, a promotion, or a break. Take the reins yourself.

We all have natural power. Look the part, feel the part, and be willing to discuss what you want. Project a Power Image™, which is the name of a very popular workshop I have conducted around the country. Empowered people demonstrate control over their lives—and attract people who help them achieve it.

Must #2

Most people want respect, but have trouble giving up their need to be liked. Multitasking aside, most of us can only do one thing effectively at a time. If you’re trying to accomplish a particular goal, forget whether people will approve or disapprove. Pursue the goal on your own, and gain respect for having achieved it when it’s done.

The success sequence mandates respect first, and liking later. Risk being disliked, and state what makes you happy. You are entitled to your own feelings. If you require support, tell people honestly, “I need . . .,” “I want . . .,” “I feel . . ..”

It’s not a diminution of self to request backup. Whichever people in your life won’t honor your goals are actually doing you a big favor, because they’re clearly letting you know you can’t count on them. And you can gracefully move on.

Must #3

If you accept poor treatment from a boss or colleagues, you teach these people that it’s okay to continue disregarding you. Confront adversity as soon as it strikes. As writer Somerset Maugham said, “When we refuse to accept anything but the very best, we very often get it.”

Power is as power does. Power does as power feels. Power feels as power thinks. THINK these 3 musts, and ingrain them in your conscious mind. Then watch how your thoughts affect others’ actions toward you.

What you give out, you’ll get back. As you garner more recognition for your hard work, your stress will lessen, and you’ll extend your life! What greater reward could you ask for?

Do you agree with Dr. Gilda’s advice? Do you have your own? Share it in the comments below.

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