Human Capital

By February 23, 2012 Articles No Comments

 PDF_LogoD-Stress – Resilience in Tough Times


The World Health Organisation defines stress as a person’s physical response when they are presented with demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities. Stress is also defined as an emotion that usually comes from challenging circumstances or fearful or threatening thoughts.

Author Meiron Lees, who grew up in South Africa and witnessed mugging and car jackings, has written a book titled D-Stress: Building Resilience in Challenging Times which tracks his experiences in dealing with stress. Presented in a concise, easy to read format and packed with practical advice and real life anecdotes, D-Stress offers seven simple techniques for a stress free life.

HC: Many people are feeling stressed right now. How can your book help?

Meiron Lees: I wanted to write something that was more of a handbook. You don’t have to wade through hundred of pages before you get to the juice with this book. I’m offering practical things that you can do – not just vague ideas. It has a practical aspect to it, which for me is the most important thing. I’ve read so many books where concepts sound good and make sense, but then I’ve struggled to put those concept into practice in everyday life. I’m an author who went through quite extreme circumstances living with stress. I lost two friends to crime, and living with that kind of thing every day and coping in those circumstances enabled me to get first hand knowledge and experience. I wanted to share with readers the kind of techniques I used, and how they can be employed in the day to day life situations that we all face.

HC: It sounds like many people need to reprogram their brain to deal with stress more effectively. Is resilience the key to handling stress more effectively?

Meiron Lees: what is the one quality that will allow us to manage and control stress? Resilience. If you’re faced with challenging circumstances of you’re presented with something that would cause a stressful response, resilience build the tools in the armoury to meet that challenge. The question to ask is – what does it take to build out resilience so that when the possibility of stress arises we have the tools to manage it? Resilience and stress go hand in hand. The more resilient we are the less stress will affect us – the less resilient, the more stress will have an opprtunity to affect us.

HC: You outline seven resilience builders in your book – could you summarise one of them?

Meiron Lees – A Thought Attack is where the mind turns on itself and attacks the possibility of a position outcome. It’s where all these negative thoughts start churning in the mind. We have 60,000 thoughts a day, and 90 per cent of these thoughts are the same ones we had yesterday – and the majority of them are negative in nature. Before even getting out of bed in the morning we know we’re going to be faced with substantial negativity before we even get to neutral. It’s time for a change. The Red Card strategy aims to transform those thoughts are works in a similar way to red cards in sport. If a player commits a damaging act he gets send off, and similarly when we allow these thoughts to stay it’s like a bull in a china shop. If it stays for two seconds it won’t do much damage, but if it stays for two minutes it can wreck the place. Negative thoughts can come in but if they don’t have a strong effect on us they won’t result in stress. That’s why the red card is useful – Firstly you know these thoughts are harmful – Secondly you can choose different thoughts – Thirdly you can ask yourself how you should go about interpreting the thoughts differently. As soon as we ask that question the mind starts looking somewhere else. It moves to other possibilities, and they are usually not negative because you’ve moved away from the negative space already.

HC: All these resilience builders seem so simple – do they work?

Meiron Lees – They most certainly do. In the book, I use personal anecdotes of times when I’ve used them and how they’ve worked. These are the ones I live by everyday, and when I don’t live by them, that’s when I feel stress.

HC: How long before the D-Stress takes place?

Meiron Lees – When you repeat something for 21 consecutive days you start forming some strong though patterns. It’s when these patterns become entrenched in the brain that they start becoming a habit.

HC: What work does your company, InnerCents do?

Meiron Lees – InnerCents is a training and coaching company, specialising in stress management, leadership development and sales. We offer executive coaching for managers and leaders, including workshops and one on one stress coaching.

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