Monthly Article Archives: April 1999

Stressed Out or Stress Hardy? – Part IRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

In my last two columns I discussed a common feature of people who are successful in both their personal and professional lives, namely, the ability to be empathic. In this and my next two articles I will examine another characteristic of the mindset of successful people, namely, how effectively they deal with difficult and seemingly stressful situations. I vividly recall a comment made several years ago at the end of one of my workshops for educators. A participant said to me, “I really like many of the ideas and strategies you described today, but I feel too stressed out to try them.” While this statement was expressed with a hint of humor, it also contained a strong feeling of frustration and doubt about being able to make changes necessary to lessen a stressful job situation. As we discussed her comment, this teacher said that a part of her believed that if she were to apply the strategies, some of the factors contributing to pressure in her work would improve. Yet, she realized that a powerful feeling existed within her that overshadowed her sense of hope, a feeling permeated by a lack of optimism, energy, and motivation to implement change. Over

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