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Progressive Experience

 

Techniques Managing Stress > Progressive Experience

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get real experience, but do not jump in at the deep end with situations where you are liable to experience extreme stress. On the contrary, start at the other end, doing something that is very easy and not very stressful.

Move upwards at your own pace and when you are comfortable at the current level. Increase slightly any of the factors that make you feel more stressed, such as doing more difficult work or engaging with people you do not know.

The amount to increase each time depends on you (and perhaps opportunity). Generally try to make the step challenging, but not frightening, so the new experience is something to be looked forward to not feared.

Example

A person who is afraid of public speaking starts with a short talk at his local photogaphic club where he is well-known and respected, then workks his way up through speaking at town meetings on local subjects to guest speeches at work-related conferences.

Discussion

This is something like developing a career, where you get ever more skilful jobs. The difference here is that 'getting the job' is not so much the problem as handling the stress.

A principle being this approach is that thinking about doing something is often not as bad as actually doing it. People are remarkably adaptable, and with a little experience can get used to quite a surprising range of situations.

Stress can be paralyzing, and so the idea is that you take on amounts of stress each time that does not paralyze (and perhaps actually motivates).

See also

 

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