Does this sound familiar?

The following [satirical] material came from a bookmark distributed by De Anza College:

Although the De Anza Health Office long been an advocate of stress management, stress, tension, and burnout are still common complaints of students, faculty, and staff alike. On account of this, we have come to the following conclusion: You all want to stay stressed! The following provides you with a few reasons why.

Stress helps you seem important.
Anyone as stressed as you must be working very hard and, therefore, is probably doing something very crucial.

It helps you to maintain personal distance and avoid intimacy.
Anyone as busy as you are certainly can’t be expected to form emotional attachments to anyone. And let’s face it, you’re not much fun to be around anyway.

It helps you avoid responsibilities.
Obviously you’re too stressed to given any more work. This gets off the hook for all the mundane chores; let someone else take care of them.

It gives you a chemical rush.
Stress might be considered a cheap thrill, and you can give yourself a “hit” anytime you choose. But be careful, you might get addicted to your own adrenaline.

It helps you avoid success.
Why risk being “successful” when by simply staying stressed you can avoid all of that? Stress can keep your performance level low enough that success won’t ever be a threat.

Stress also lets you keep your authoritaiuan management style.
The authoritarian style of “Just do what I say!” is generally permissible under crisis conditions. If you maintain a permanently stressed crisis atmosphere, you can just an authoritarian style all the time.

Are you worried now about how to stay stressed? You’ll have no trouble if you practice the following clinically proven methods:

Never exercise.
Exercise wastes a lot of time that could be spent worrying.

Eat anything you want.
Hey, if cigarette smoke can’t cleanse your system, a balanced diet isn’t likely to.

Gain weight.
Work hard at staying at least 25 pounds over your recommended weight.

Take plenty of stimulants.
The old standards of caffeine, nicotine, sugar, and cola will continue to do the job just fine.

Avoid “woo-woo,” practices.
Ignore the evidence suggesting that meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and/or mental imaging help to reduce stress. The Protestant work ethic is good for everyone, Protestant or not.

Get rid of your social support system.
Let the few friends who are willing to tolerate you know that concern yourself with friendships only if you have time, and you never have time. If a few people persist in trying to be your friend, avoid them.

Personalize all criticism.
Anyone who criticizes any aspect of your work, family, dog, house, or car is mounting a personal attack. Don’t take time to listen, be offended, then return the attack!

Throw out your sense of humor.
Staying stressed is no laughing matter, and it shouldn’t be treated as one.

Males and females alike: Be macho.
Never ever ask for help, and if you want it done right, do it yourself!

Become a workaholic.
Put work before everything else, and be sure to take work home evenings and weekends. Keep reminding yourself that vacations are for sissies.

Discard good time management skills.
Schedule in more activities every day than you can possibly get done and then worry about it all whenever you get a chance.

Putting things off to the last second always produces a marvelous amount of stress.

Worry about things you can’t control.
Worry about the stock market, earthquakes, the approaching Ice Age, you know, all the big issues.

Become not only a perfectionist but set impossibly high standards…
and either beat yourself up, or feel guilty, depressed, discouraged, and/or inadequate when you don’t meet them.

In case it’s not painfully obvious, I do not recommend ANY of the above practices, although in some instances, this might be more of a do-as-I-say situation… something I’ve been working on long since before I first encountered this tongue-in-cheek resource many years ago.

That said, if the above suggestions will help you stay stressed, then it’s reasonable to assume that doing pretty much the exact opposite will help reduce stress. Let’t give it a try, OK?

© DeAnza College; 2013, Dr. Jane Bluestein

Related resources:

8 Ways to Live in Gratitude
15 Ways to Live Optimistically
36 Things You can Do to Feel Great
The Challenge of Setting Boundaries
Dealing with Difficult Colleagues
The Dignity Stance
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Friendships
Magic Sentences for Effective Communication
Perfectionism vs. The Healthy Pursuit of Excellence
Picking up the Pieces: Reclaiming our Essence
Stress and the Brain: The impact of stress on learning and behavior

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