Taking Control of Stress
By Steve Goodier
Have you heard about the man who was shopping with his baby boy? The
obviously distraught and screaming child sat in the shopping cart.
As the man walked up and down the aisles, he calmly and patiently
repeated, "Don't yell, Bobby. Calm down, Bobby. Don't get excited,
A woman standing next to him turned and said, "You certainly are to be
commended for trying so hard to soothe little Bobby."
The bewildered man looked up and said, "Lady, I'M BOBBY!"
It all gets a little much sometimes. Have you taken inventory of the
stress in your life? Stress can come from work. It can come from
family. It can come from the places we live and the lifestyles we
In a recent survey, 60 percent of respondents said the city in which
they live is noisier now than five years ago. The other 40 percent?
They didn't hear the question.
How much stress do you feel? Though not all stress should be avoided,
too much pressure can cause lasting harm in practically every area of
your life. The solution is to take control.
Robert Reich did just that. As Secretary of Labor in the Clinton
cabinet, Robert B. Reich, in an article published in the Op-Ed
sections of the New York Times and Washington Post, told of his
decision to resign from the stressful job. He said, "I have the best
job I've ever had and probably ever will. No topping it." It was true.
He seemed to love his job. But he added, "I also have the best family
I'll ever have, and I can't get enough of them." And there was the
problem -- too much of a good thing. He could not give himself to his
family and to this particular career at the same time.
So Reich said, "I had to choose. I told the boss I'll be leaving, and
explained why." His boss, of course, was the president of the United
States. And the country took notice. Some people were stunned. Here
was a high government official who made a decision to step out of an
important and powerful position in order to spend the more time at
home. He took control.
That is the first step to freeing ourselves from unnecessary stress:
take control. Make the tough decision. It may be a decision for less
money, a smaller home, a new location, a different job, less
prestige, or a simpler lifestyle. But one thing I believe: it will be
a decision you will never regret.
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