combating stress from College Works Painting CEO Jeff Gunhus.   Leave a comment


If you want to test your memory, try to remember what you were worrying about one year ago today. E. Joseph Cossman

Stress has become a fixture in the working world. Everybody is stressed for what they feel are very good reasons and they carry that stress with them like so much baggage. It doesn’t need to be this way.

The starting point to control the stress in your life is to understand its source. This is the easy part because there is only one source  the unknown. If you absolutely know something for a fact, you don’t stress about it. Your boss calls you in for an unscheduled meeting  stress. Someone tells you the meeting is about a promotion  no stress. Someone tells you the meeting is about your poor performance stress, not due to the meeting but because of the uncertainty of the results the meeting will have.

I know people who will stress for days because they have a big unknown. They get a speeding ticket and agonize for days whether they are going to lose their license or not. They work through every possible scenario of how their life will change if they lose their license. Finally, they, after days for stress, they call the courthouse and their license is fine. No more stress, but what a waste of energy!

Another manifestation of the unknown is stress from too many things going on.  Sometimes the world seems too crazy to handle and everything is spiraling out of control. Small issues can become enormous when they are pushed into such a cluttered background. You find yourself with an overwhelming feeling of stress, but you find it hard to put your finger on an issue that could cause it. Here are a few tactics you can use for stress control.

  1. Write down what is stressing you. Have you ever told someone your big problem and halfway through the story you started to feel petty because the problem sounded dumb? Things we stress about often are dumb, but they get built up in our minds to be bigger than they actually are. Write down your problems in as simple language as possible. You may find yourself laughing at them.
  2. Write down a question whose answer would alleviate the stress. Once you write down your problems, analyze the root issues and determine what unknown fact is stressing you out. If you are concerned about your future with your company, why not ask your boss that question specifically. If you are stressed about someone in the office that you think has a problem with you, simply ask him. Once you know the answer, then you can decide on an action.
  3. Weigh the pros and cons. Every decision has give and take. Write down all of the pros and cons to every decision. It will help you to organize your thoughts and make a clear decision.
  4. Prioritize your stress. Think of the most stressful week you had in a past job or in school. Pretty bad, right? Now imagine something truly important happened during that week  your parent was diagnosed with a major illness, a sibling was in a car accident, whatever. Do you think that any of the things you stressed about in school or in work would have even entered your mind if you were faced with a true crisis?

It truly is a matter of magnitude. I’m not telling you to be apathetic to your life and not care when small things go badly, but don’t let the small things paralyze you and keep you from enjoying life. Our time is way too short to lose sleep because someone gave us a dirty look or because we put a dent in the car. Big deal. You will not remember these things years from now, so why worry about them today?

Stress will always be part of your life. It’s a sign that you care about what happens to yourself and those around you. It is easy to allow these concerns to fester in our minds and allow them to poison our outlook on all of the good in our lives. One small issue blown out of proportion can impact you everything you do. I mean, don’t you find it hard to appreciate a sunset when you are mad at the world? Use stress to wake up your instincts for action and apply yourself to solve problems and uncover the unknown. You’ll be much for easy going and you’ll enjoy more sunsets.


Posted June 2, 2009 by collegeworkspainting in Uncategorized

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