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The following article
was written by Coleman Patterson and
appeared in the Business section of the Abilene Reporter-News.
Fight stress by
building resiliency, January 28, 2008, 2D.
One of the most
stressful times of my life was suffering through my comprehensive exams and dissertation
in graduate school. I had invested years of
my life and passed up on other productive opportunities to earn a graduate degree. The successful completion of graduate school
required that I successfully complete the comprehensive exam and dissertation. The reasons that these two events were stressful
are because they involved uncertainty and importance.
long-term stress can be harmful to individuals. High
blood pressure, cardio-vascular problems, fatigue, and compromised immune systems are some
physical reactions to continued stress. Feelings
of helplessness and being out of control, anxiety, depression, and worry are psychological
reactions to stress. If not properly managed
and controlled, stress can have detrimental effects on people.
To help cope with
the stress that came from the final two obstacles of my formal higher education, I would
play racquetball several times a week with a group of friends. I also regularly played in softball and basketball
leagues with friends from church. When
engaged in those activities, the nervousness and anxiety of graduate school
disappearedthey were out of my mind. Participating
in activities with groups of friends who were not consumed with the same types of worry
and anxiety that I was experiencing helped keep things in perspective for me. My friends also provided me with encouragement and
support through my trials.
active, keeping my problems in perspective, and having a group of supportive friends
helped me develop resiliency. Resiliency, as
defined in the dictionary, refers to the capability of a strained body to recover
its size and shape after deformation caused especially by stress. Resilient people bend rather than
break while under stress and then recover once it is removed.
There are three
types of resiliencyphysical, psychological, and social. Physical resiliency comes from developing and
maintaining a strong and healthy body. Eating
well, engaging in regular and vigorous exercise, and getting plenty of rest are ways to
enhance your bodys ability to handle and bounce back from stress. Psychological resiliency comes from developing a
hardy personality, accepting a love of challenge, recognizing small wins, and maintaining
a balanced lifestylethat is, allowing time for many types of activities and
interests. Finding mentors, supportive
friends, and others who have been through similar experiences helps develop social
resiliency. A combination of all three types
of resiliency should be nurtured and maintained.
Institute of Stress reports that the estimated cost of stress to U.S. industry, in terms
of accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, workers'
compensation awards, tort and Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) judgments, and
direct medical, legal, and insurance costs, is $300 billion annually. By developing programs to help workers build
resiliency, businesses and organizations can save untold amounts of money on
stress-related expenses and simultaneously develop healthier and more productive
workforces. It may be costly to firms to
create and maintain employee health and wellness programs, but not doing so might be even
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