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The School of Emotional Intelligence Don't Stress Out About Your Stress! Appreciating Differences



Stress and its all-too-common symptoms are on the rise. The first of these two conferences equips employees to deal effectively with stress which will prevent them from falling into a burnout; the second equips them to successfully anticipate and negotiate major organizational transitions.


An accumulation of unmanaged stress leads to burnout and depression. In this conference, we identify the warning signs of "too much stress" and become aware of how extreme stress might manifest itself in our emotions, our thoughts, our physical health, and our behaviour, as well as in our relationships and in workplace morale and productivity.

After awareness we move towards prevention, and in the second half of this conference we discuss the flip side of stress—the “relaxation response”—and illustrate effective methods of dealing with stress by taking control of those aspects of our life which are most under our conscious control.

We will use the acronym "SCOPE" as a model for effective stress management:

                                    • SUPPORT
                                    • CONTROL
                                    • OUTLOOK
                                    • PRIORITIES
                                    • ESTEEM


A change, whether in personal life or in job status, may happen in a single moment, but the process of transition resulting from this change may last months. . . or even years.

This conference explores the process of transition and its three stages according to the model developed by William Bridges:

                                    • ENDINGS
                                    • THE NEUTRAL ZONE
                                    • NEW BEGINNINGS

A clearer understanding of the process of transition will contribute to a better adaptation to change as well as a greater ability to protect ourselves from stress, one predictable natural consequence of change.

The Transition Process
According to William Bridges (2004), transition occurs predictably in three stages.
In Endings, the main task is to recognize and mourn losses;
In the Neutral Zone, the main task is to manage stress and uncertainty; and
In New Beginnings, the main task is to forge a new identity and begin to move forward.

If the symptoms below seem all-too-familiar, burnout may be just around the corner—or you may be a prime candidate for burnout.

o Feeling overwhelmed
o Chronic fatigue, exhaustion
o Moodiness, resentment, anger
o Negativity, cynicism
o Critical of self and others
o Unmotivated
o Martial and other relationship problems
o Physical symptoms—headache, GI, weight change, sleep disturbances
o Anxiety, depression
o Alcohol or drug overuse
o Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness
o Suicidal ideation


Find out by scoring your answers to the questions below.

 • Neglect your diet?    
 • Try to do everything yourself?    
 • Blow up easily?    
 • Seek unrealistic goals?    
 • Fail to see the humour in situations others find funny?    
 • Act rude?    
 • Make a "big deal" of everything?    
 • Look to other people to make things happen?    
 • Complain you are disorganized?    
 • Avoid people whose ideas are different from your own?    
 • Keep everything inside?    
 • Neglect exercise?    
 • Have few supportive relationships?    
 • Use sleeping pills and tranquilizers without a doctor's approval?    
 • Get too little rest?    
 • Get angry when you are kept waiting?    
 • Ignore stress symptoms?    
 • Put things off until later?    
 • Think there is only one right way to do something?    
 • Fail to build relaxation time into your day?    
 • Gossip?    
 • Race through the day?    
 • Spend a lot of time complaining about the past?    
 • Fail to get a break from noise and crowds?    


1 - 6: There are few hassles in your life. Make sure, though, that you are not trying so hard to avoid problems that you shy away from challenges.

7 - 13: You've got your life in fairly good control. Work on the choices and habits that could still be causing you some unnecessary stress in your life.

14 - 20: You're approaching the danger zone. You may well be suffering stress-related symptoms and your relationships could be strained. Think carefully about choices you've made and take relaxation breaks every day.

Above 20: Emergency! You must stop now, re-think how you are living, change your attitudes, and pay careful attention to diet, exercise, and relaxation.

(Stress Index courtesy of Canadian Mental Health Association)
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Each scale below is composed of a pair of adjectives or phrases separated by a series of numbers.

Each pair has been chosen to represent two kinds of contrasting behaviour.

Circle where you think you belong along this continuum between the two extremes.

1 = you strongly agree with the statement on the LEFT hand side.
2 = you moderately agree with the statement on the LEFT hand side.
3 = you slightly agree with the statement on the LEFT hand side.
4 = you neither agree nor disagree with EITHER statement.
5 = you slightly agree with the statement on the RIGHT hand side.
6 = you moderately agree with the statement on the RIGHT hand side.
7 = you strongly agree with the statement on the RIGHT hand side.

1. I don’t mind leaving things temporarily unfinished 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I must get things finished once started
2. I am calm and unhurried about appointments 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am never late for appointments
3. I am not competitive 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am highly competitive
4. I listen well and let others finish speaking 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I anticipate others in conversation (interrupt,
 finish their sentences)
5. I am never in a hurry, even when pressured 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am always in a hurry
6. I am able to wait calmly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am uneasy when waiting
7. I am easygoing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am always going full speed ahead
8. I take one thing at a time 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I try to do more than one thing at a time
9. I am slow and deliberate in speech 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am vigorous and forceful in speech, I use a lot of gestures
10. I am concerned with pleasing myself, not others 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I want recognition from others for a job well done
11. I am slow in doing things 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am fast at doing things (i.e., eating, walking)
12. I am relaxed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am hard driving
13. I express feelings openly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I hold feelings in
14. I have a large number of interests 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I have few interests outside of work
15. I am satisfied with my job 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am ambitious, I want quick job advancement
16. I never set my own deadlines 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I often set my own deadlines
17. I feel limited responsibility 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I always feel responsible
18. I never judge things in terms of numbers (quality is more important) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I often judge things in terms of numbers (quantity is more important)
19. I am casual about work 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I take work very seriously (work weekends, bring work home)
20. I am not very precise 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I am very precise (careful about detail)


Assign a value from 1 to 7 for each score. Total them up. (The maximum possible score is 140). The categories are as follows:

Total score - 110 to 140          Type A1

If you are in this category, and especially if you are over 40 and smoke, you are likely to have a high risk of developing cardiac illness. You would do well to have a medical check-up as well as stress management training.

Total score - 80 to 109            Type A2

You do not always cope well with stress and you are in the direction of being cardiac prone, but your risk is not as high as the A1. You should, nevertheless, pay careful attention to the advice given to all Type As. Stress management training is something you might consider.

Total score - 60 to 79              Type AB

You are an admixture of A and B patterns. This is a healthier pattern than either A1 or A2, but you have the potential
for slipping into Type A behaviour and you should recognize this.

Total score - 30 to 59              Type B2

Your behaviour is on the less-cardiac-prone end of the spectrum. You are generally relaxed and cope adequately with stress.

Total score - 0 to 29                Type B1

You are relaxed and cope well with stress. You tend to the extreme of non-cardiac traits. Your behaviour expresses few of the reactions associated with cardiac or stress-related illness.
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Copyright © 2007  Dr Darrell Johnson.  All Rights Reserved.
couple therapy, family therapy, individual therapy with adolescents, children, cognitive-behavioural approach/ CBT, systemic approach, brief solution-focused approach