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Stressed Out America: Transforming Stress into Optimal Performance

Stressed Out America: Transforming Stress into Optimal Performance


I was asked by a writer for Time Magazine to comment as a workplace expert on an interview she conducted with a well known Indian "business guru". Swami Parthasarathy was quoted in Time's October 29, 2007 issue stating that "Work can never tire you! What tires you are your worries about the past and anxieties about the future." The philosopher's point of view makes a lot of sense. My major comment was that sometimes you also have to help the environment change as well.

I recently returned from a fly fishing trip visiting some friends near Bend Oregon. It was my first fly fishing experience and I even caught a fish!  It must have been beginner's luck as most of the time I just sat on a large rock allowing the line to drift downstream in the water casting occasionally when my mood suited me. I guess I had gotten tired of the hook getting caught in my jacket or the trees. The following example speaks to the importance of changing ones attitude and your environment.

One of my 60 year old friends, a high school counselor, is considering retiring because of the stress. He told me that working as a high school counselor was right up there with airport flight controller on the stress meter. He was told by his doctor that every additional year that he worked at his job could take 3 to 4 years off of his life. My good friend rationalized that he could save another $30,000 towards his retirement by working another year. It would pay for two vacations and a year membership at the golf club!  He was considering making this choice until we had a heart to heart conversation. It is often hard to close the door or end something even if it could cause you your life!

The American Psychological Association (APA), published the results of its' Stress in America survey in October. The survey asked 1,848 Americans about their stress levels, the ways they cope with stress, and the effects it has on their bodies and minds.

The results of the survey found that one-third of Americans live with extreme stress and that 48 percent believe that their stress has increased over the past five years. For 75 percent of Americans, money and work were the top stress-related factors.

Only 28 percent of Americans reported they are managing their stress extremely well. Four in ten reported that when they are stressed, they eat too much or eat unhealthy foods. Those who drink (39 percent) or smoke cigarettes (19 percent) said they were more likely to engage in those behaviors during periods of high stress.

I believe learning effective ways to become more stress resilient in our fast-paced, socially-networked, constantly changing, and potentially dangerous world is a core competency for well-beeeing, success, and happiness. 

Working with a seasoned consulting psychologist and executive coach trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating instrumented assessments such as The Stress Profiler and BarOn EQi can help your become more stress resilient. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence, and who inspires people to become happily engaged with the strategy and vision of the company.

About Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

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Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
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