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As you read last week, stress is not only a great motivator, on along-term or redundant basis, it is also responsible for a plethora of physical illnesses ranging from the common cold, to allergic reactions, to heart disease and even cancer. It is also a major contributor to many psychological disorders including depression, anxiety, cognitive disruption and learning disorders. Usually, stress motivates one to adopt various coping mechanisms, including understanding the cause of the stress, realigning one’s beliefs about the stressors, changing one’s lifestyle to eliminate the stress, and learning how to manage the physical symptoms of the stress. Once in a while, however, you will meet people whose lives are being controlled by stress, but who will resist making any of the changes necessary to take the control back and learn how to effectively cope with, or eliminate the sources of, their stress. When this happens(assuming the person is mentally and physically capable of “coping”) it often is helpful to remember that a person will continue a behavior as long as it continues to work for him or her. We see this in people who continue to return to dangerous or exploitive relationships; people who continue addiction behavior even though their health is being ruined, their finances are in shambles, or they are facing significant legal consequences; or people who procrastinate to the point of jeopardizing their health, careers or credit ratings, just to name a few examples. Please post your response to the following discussion question by clicking on Reply: Think of an acquaintance in your own personal or professional experience (i.e., not yourself, and preferably not anyone in your immediate family) who is more motivated to continue his or her stressful behavior, than to learn how to cope with the stress (meet the demands of life head-on) and take back control of his or her life. How is the stress working for this person, and how
would you use this knowledge to motivate him or her towards a more manageable, stress-free life?