Get A Life: Don’t let stress take over

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

By Loretta LaRoche

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The true nature of stress is still misunderstood by the masses. Not everything is stressful, but if we were to eavesdrop on a million conversations across America, we’d start to believe that a pimple is just as much a cause of anxiety as a car accident.

Believe it or not, good stress does exist. It’s what gets us up in the morning urges us to take out the garbage so seagulls don’t move in, and helps make our lives interesting and vital. It enables us to perceive the things that need to be managed versus the things that don’t. And it keeps us safe in moments of danger.

Distress is bad stress, but much of it is in our power to control. It can happen not only when we react negatively to an event, but to our perception of what may go wrong in the future — and that’s something most of us do many, many times a day. It’s our heart rate going up when we’re in a hurry and see a traffic light changing, it’s someone trying to cut in line in front of us at the supermarket, and it’s our airline flight that’s cancelled at the last minute. Are all of these inconveniences? Yes. But are they life-shattering? No! If we were calm and thinking in a rational way, would it really be necessary to have a deeply negative reaction to any of these scenarios?

I’ll never forget being at the airport in Toronto waiting to fly back to Boston when the gate agent suddenly announced that the flight had been delayed. Almost instantaneously, the entire group started acting like a bunch of bulls who had seen a fertile cow go by. They all began pawing the earth and snorting, whipping out their cellphones and calling as many people as they could to share this enormous transgression. I realize that there were probably some calls that had to be made, but most individuals can’t seem to adjust to a minor irritation without sharing it with the world. Once when I was standing in line at the supermarket, the woman in front of me who was already paying for her groceries called someone to say how aggravated she was about having to wait in a long line. She definitely needed a reality check!

Cellphones have made it very easy to call someone no matter where you are. Unfortunately, some of the calls are merely used to share mundane frustrations which ends up exacerbating the situation and adding to “global whining”!

Take a deep breathe, and allow yourself a few minutes to consider how to handle a situation, rather than letting it handle us. The end result will be a lot less stress.

Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360. Visit her website at