The Unexpected Stress That Life Offers


When life hands you goats, make goat milk?

I recently recalled a funny situation when I was shipping a live animal on Alaska Cargo.The act resulted in hearing the sentence: “The goats are in the air.” When I made eye contact with the cargo desk employee who made this statement, we couldn’t help but laugh-out-loud.

I asked her “when you took this job, did you ever think that goats flying would become a part of your normal work week?” She answered that it was certainly something she never imagined doing and that it was definitely not in the job description. She went on to explain that having close calls that would result in a missed connection was the toughest part of her job, but it happened almost every day.

We all have situations in our personal and professional lives that take us by surprise. Some are humorous and some, well, not so much. However, no matter the situation, it’s our response that matters. In the case above, it was profoundly more memorable, and certainly more enjoyable because of her attitude. She did not allow herself to be overcome with the stress of seven goats being shipped (and possibly missing their connecting flight). Can you imagine?

Choosing how we deal with stress

We can all agree that stress is one of the toughest things to deal with. Unfortunately, we can’t just not get stressed given that stress is a natural response to everyday situations. However, we do have a choice. We can allow stress to control us, or we can take steps to learn to get better at controlling it.

The key here is that we need to be active in our quest to deal. Whether it is stress associated with our careers, responding to negative situations so it doesn’t trash our day or attitude, or seeking specific tools to help with stress management that may allow ourselves to cope with stress or even the fatigue of everyday life.

One vital component that is often overlooked is identifying the things in our life that cause stress. As a recruiter in the healthcare industry, I hear a lot of different origins of stressors. Managers, co-workers, children, spouse or significant other, traffic, or even chores all cause stress.

Test your stress level

It’s important to keep in mind that well-known common life events could result in a physical illness. Don’t believe me? This fact has some great research behind it, and you can see your stress scale at  Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. You might be surprised at the items that made the list and what your personal score is.

Obviously, no two people are exactly alike, as individual perception is the key to how you handle life events. It is important to find out where you stand. You must know what actions are necessary to prevent stress from having a negative impact on your life.

Another tool that can help with understanding our own personal feelings is called the Perceived Stress Scale. This test was developed in 1983 and is widely distributed, even from the employee retention groups at organizations. While these tests are not the end-all-be-all, they can certainly provide a little glimpse at areas that you need to address to be a healthier you.

Give them a go. Find out what really stresses you out and chip away at it. These tests have helped me manage my stresses, so I know how powerful they can be. Once you can put your finger on it, you’ll be able to live a less stressful life from here on out.