'I know what to do to manage my stress, I just don't have the time to do it....'

was blurted out by a young woman in a group of participants during the first minutes of a seminar I was conducting at the Royal School of Librarianship in Denmark…

“ I’m sick and tired of running to these seminars, reading the books, buying the relaxation, CD’s, DVD’S,  exercises and contraptions; which could all be ok, maybe;  but I’m beginning to think that all  this stress-management crap is ´driving me mad… it’s er… stressing me out……”

“Why did you come, if I may ask?”,  I asked.

“My boss says I need it”, she answered.

And there it is.  Negative- or over-stress, the feeling that we are in ‘effect’, not ‘cause’;  feeling pushed into things we’re not interested in, or just can’t do because of the push, the stress, though often thinking that we must be poor time-managers and/or undisciplined, irresponsible or even incompetent, feelings which in themselves are far from motivating.

The values, visions and goals, which give direction and inspiration to our actions seem out of our minds, out of our range or dictated by others,   They’re not our own, or closely connected to us.  What’s left are tasks and duties to be implemented.

Stress-management is just that.  It’s not stress removal or stress-solving, but balancing the forces of change and challenge, connecting them to personal resources and values, making discussions and developing strategies to redefine work and personal development for you.   

Some might feel that they can only achieve an inspiring life by making major changes, but most are able to find ways of personalizing tasks and relationships, and harmonizing  them with one’s one intentions.

The stress-management tools I offer are typically given in small groups, from 1-4 over several sessions.  Larger groups and lectures typically last over 1-2 days, with a follow-up about 30 days later.

They begin with a stress map which evaluates 21 factors, from ‘burned out’  to ‘optimal performance’.  Like any other profile it’s just a snapshot of your present responses to a series of questions covering the last few weeks to the past several months.

Among the points explored:

What are the differences between neutral, positive and negative stress and how and why do these differences occur in me, as opposed to others?  That is, what is my personal stress profile?

Learning to prioritize, not just by what has to be done first, but by finding my own values, visions and goals and connecting them, and prioritizing for the best results and satisfaction for all involved parties.

What solutions work best generally, and how to I find those which work best for my stress profile at any given moment?

Devising stress-management strategies from the above, to be followed up about one month later, and possibly beyond.

Implementing these skills and integrating them in job, family, friendships, marriage, management and leadership.

By the way, regarding the young woman from the course, I told her that there was nothing new I could teach her about the personal experience of stress.  I asked her to please take the morning off, smell the roses, spoil herself as best she could, and come back refreshed after lunch and assist me for the rest of the day, by giving me direct feedback on the strategies and plans we develop.

Giving a before-after picture of being pushed to keep her boss happy, or being encouraged to keep her self, recharged reinvented in charge of her energy, and happier.  After all, a boss who doesn’t appreciate a relaxed, energized and curious employee, might not be too good for the employee's ‘top line’ or the company’s bottom line.

Personal and Organizational