Have you ever successfully worked through a serious problem? Maybe you helped someone climb out of depression. Or, did you save the day with a huge departmental budget issue? If so, you should share the knowledge of how you made it over the hump--or helped others to do so.
Most of us desire to make a difference in this world; sharing stress management tips is one way to honor other people.
What’s interesting is that anytime you teach a coping skill, you’ll reinforce that skill in your own life. If you’re struggling with a teenager with behavioral issues, for example, you might feel extremely aggravated. So, try an old time-tested method for uncovering some answers: Sit down and pretend you’re giving someone else advice about raising a teenager. You’ll be amazed at how resourceful you are.
For instance, a friend of mine--whom I’ll refer to as Kathy--wrote down these tips for parenting a teen:
* Make sure you give your teenager lots of praise. Hunt for ideas. Brag on your daughter’s ability to take care of the family pets. Let your son know his yard mowing is taking a huge strain off you.
* Help your teen learn to set boundaries. Sit down and do some practice sessions with him or her. Pretend you’re a pushy friend asking your teen to skip school. Ask your teen to line up some good verbal responses.
Kathy made a list of 20 points that came from the back of her mind. She was harvesting ideas from what she already knew.
The point is, Kathy started using her list with her kids. Her kids told her they liked this kind of help from Kathy.
“What grew from this exercise,” says Kathy, “is that I started using the my teen tips at work. I started bragging on my employees. And, I started teaching my employees to speak up to set healthy boundaries. For example, I knew one woman--a new employee-- was getting slammed by two of my ego-maniac employees who shift all of the work they hate to her. I coached this woman to speak up and put the brakes on advantage-takers.”
Inventing good stress management skills is actually a fun process. It’s empowering to see what you can come up with.
Many years ago, I took a Dale Carnegie course. I remember that one point of advice was this: If you’re stuck for answers on a hard problem, pretend you've been hired to coach someone else through this problem. Your job is to help them chip away at the difficulty. This gives you a new perspective. You can think more objectively.
Do any of you have any tips to share on how you whittled a mountain down to size? If so, please let us know what methods you used and what you learned from the experience.
Judi Light Hopson
Co-author: Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress