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Stress Less in Seattle

Thursday, November 9, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Paul Huschilt, Professional Speaker


For those who missed my talk on humor and resilience at the recent NWRPCA/CHAMPS Conference in Seattle, here’s a glimpse. The presentation was set up as a low-budget spa in which health care workers whose job it is to routinely help others were reminded to remember to take care of themselves. And they were taught simple, low-cost interventions for resilience. 

One of the things we talked about was perspective.  It’s an important concept, because in health care you all come up against roadblocks in your daily life – at work and even at home.  If you are reading this I’m sure you’ve had to deal with something – like a change in rules or policy - that turns your world on its side and stops you in your tracks. It can leave you stuck in a difficult situation and cause a great deal of stress.

One way of managing through this is by changing your perspective. It can be surprisingly helpful to look at the situation from a different point of view. It’s not always easy to ignore the impact on you and your team, but by stepping back, you de-personalize the problem. You’re more likely to find a solution and remove some of the stress.

Consider the metaphor of a hike up a mountain where gravity is not a suggestion, it’s the law.  You can’t change it no matter how hard you try.  But, if you take one step off the steep trail and think about what you can change, you may be able to lessen its impact.  Maybe choose a different path.  A wider but less steep route may be the answer.  The trip may take longer and you won’t burn any fewer calories, but it’s all easier to deal with and easier to make progress. 


At the conference, we did an activity that showed the power of changing your perspective. The group shouted out things that stressed them out. There were a lot of examples you might expect from health care professionals: deadlines, budgets, having to do more with less, uncertainty, and so on.  For each negative stressor, we found a positive: Deadlines mean things get done; budgets guide policies and procedures. Doing more with less forces creativity. Uncertainty forces … Wait a minute. Now that I think of it, there was nothing positive about uncertainty. In fact, that’s what someone cried out from the back of the room: “Nothing!”  A wave of laughter followed because it was true. Sometimes a change of perspective and a different point of view doesn’t fix your problem.  But in the end, we concluded that the stressors we looked at may not be all bad.   
The next time you find yourself overcome by a problem, take a step back and see if you can change your perspective. When something turns your world on its side, a new outlook might lead you to a solution.


Paul Huschilt

Professional Speaker

Member of the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame






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