What's the State of Your Stress?
By Rebecca Coates Nee
August 20th, 2001
What do a TV news reporter in California, a stay-at-home mom
in Florida and a PR executive in New York have in common?
They all have a case of the "terrible toos." Too much to do.
Too little time. Too confused. Too tired. Too stressed.
No matter what type of client I coach, stress is usually their
biggest symptom. In fact, if you're not stressed these days
- you're heavily medicated or living with the Amish.
The latest census data confirms the sources of our stress.
We may have more money and more education than ever before,
but we've also got bigger houses, more cars, longer commutes
and more hours to work to pay for it all.
Indeed, most of us have gotten so familiar with stress that
we get kind of lonely without it. If our jobs, family or friends
don't provide enough of it, we'll find a way to bring it on.
People working in TV news generally don't have to worry about
a shortage of stress. Our stories, viewers and supervisors
are more reliable suppliers than PG&E.
So are all broadcasters destined for early heart attacks,
high blood pressure or unhappy lives? Not necessarily. The
latest theory on stress is that there's good stress and bad
stress. Kind of like good debt (mortgage and education) and
bad debt (luxury cars and Bruno Magli shoes).
Good stress can motivate and energize us - provided we channel
it correctly. Bad stress can drive us insane.
To determine the state of your stress, answer these questions
true or false:
1) I'm pretty tired when I go to bed and sleep soundly.
2) I have so many things I want to get done, there doesn't
seem to be enough time in the day.
3) I sometimes wonder if I'm qualified enough to do the work
that I do.
4) I have so many ideas I want to work on - I'm not sure how
to prioritize them.
5) I still get a little nervous when I'm working on a big
story or project.
6) I have no energy when I wake up in the morning and I get
even more tired during the day
7) I get a knot in my stomach when I walk into work
8) I can't stand my boss and many of my co-workers
9) I have no life outside of work
10) I frequently lose things, break things, injure myself
or get sick.
Questions 1-5 are examples of good stress while 6-10 are signs
of bad stress. For example, someone who feels under-qualified
may still be challenged by their job. Someone who has no energy
is probably more drained by their job than challenged. If
you have more bad stress than good - it's time to wake up
and make some major changes in your life or career.