Maybe don’t “manage your stress” so much

Do you feel too stressed, too often?

Sure, stress is natural. The body has a stress response for a reason. Excessive stress, though, can lead to sleeplessness, poor memory, heart problems, and dozens of other symptoms. Stress is no joke.

If you know that you’re too stressed, how are you handling it?

A friend told me today that she is not very good at handling workplace stress. She seemed almost ashamed to tell me, as if managing stress is simply a skill that any modern knowledge worker should master.

Managing stress is definitely a skill. You’ll get better at it with practice. I spent six months working with a psychologist and learned to recognize stress, to judge its severity, and to take action to help the stress pass.

But just because you could get better at managing stress doesn’t mean you should.

If you feel too stressed, too often, and you spend a lot of energy “managing” your stress, try removing some stressors instead. You might get a much higher ROI on your effort by avoiding stress in the first place.


— Peter

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