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How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Reducing Work Stress

Stress-reducing activities can transform your attitudes toward work and enliven your state of health. Here are some of the many techniques that can help you cope with stress and transform your attitudes toward work:

You can also use meditation techniques to get in touch with yourself and as an aid in dealing with the pressures of life that confront us all (see Wellness and Transcending).

Creativity in bringing a playful attitude to bear on your work may help you to get a new perspective on your job. This can mean something as simple as rearranging your office, giving a flower to your coworkers, inviting your boss to play tennis, or changing the music station on the radio. One small company in Colorado found that weekly staff meetings could become brainstorming sessions in how to personalize and relax the working environment. Productivity increased at the same time.

Applying the principles of wellness to working means that you assume responsibility for yourself and your choices and continue to love yourself. Wellness means that there are alternatives. There are other jobs. There are ways of dealing with stress in your present job. There are ways of transforming your work by incorporating the attitudes that enhance play. There are ways to give up being so serious - to stop being the rescuer for the whole world. There are ways of discovering your real needs and fulfilling them; of discovering your real talents and using them; of discovering your many options and trying them out.

The field of life-work planning is devoted to helping people clarify what it is they really want to do, what they do best, and how to design a plan for doing it. In his brilliant book, What Color Is Your Parachute? Richard Bolles presents practical guidance in how to find out about yourself, in how to assess the job market, and how to put the two together.

Continuing education programs through large universities, community colleges, and technical schools list courses in everything from computer programming and small business management to jewelry making. Thousands of folks just like you are taking advantage of these low-cost (sometimes even free) opportunities to develop themselves in new ways. Darla, for instance, was a dissatisfied typist who, at one point in her life, took evening classes in shoemaking for less than one year. She went on to open a thriving shoe store that specialized in custom-made sandals. Darla loved this work. Even so, she went on to study auto mechanics, just so she'd be prepared if she again wanted a change of pace. She was determined not to be stuck again!

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