I just had a patient who had a lot of stress related issues. She said that she had a horrible boss who yelled and denigrated her constantly. The woman didn’t have the money to change jobs and was stuck and very stressed. I suggested that she send out an email to her boss and her boss’s boss explaining the situation and that she will continue to work harder than anyone in the company. However, all communication between her and her boss needs to be done via email – This was perfect because you can’t yell in an email no matter how hard you type. She did so. I saw her 2 months later and she said she now loves her job and loves her boss and things couldn’t be better. Her stress related complaint also cleared.
There are very and I state VERY few stresses in life that are not your choice. You are overworked because you chose to go to an Ivy League school, or you want to be a partner at a prestigious firm or you want to take on 2 jobs to save up for a house, etc. Nearly every time someone says “but you don’t understand, I’m trapped” we can demonstrate in a minute or 2 that their circumstance is something they chose to be apart of. We tend to choose stressful situations commensurate with our ability to handle said stress. The main treatment is to realize we actually want to be in that situation and then figure out a way to lessen the unnecessary areas of stress. Always keep in mind 2 things: 1. Someone else’s stress doesn’t need to be yours – practice how not to internalize it, and, 2. Work hard, be smart and don’t kid yourself into thinking that you are when you are not. Practice integrity and if you really are working hard and really being smart, then anything absurd that someone asks you to do is simply absurd and no one else could do better. The point is we cause most of our stress internally rather than there actually being outside sources making us feel that way. Be happy– its one of the few things you can control in your life.