Two university studies conclude that the best way to curb stress -- either individual or national -- is to stop blaming your job, your family, your bank balance, the oil cartel or your local congressman. "All the complaining in the world won't bring back the 'good old days' of the more manageable, predictable business and political climate we enjoyed immediately after World War II," says Temple University business professor Peter Sugges. Another Temple professor, Dr. Jay Segal of the health education department, says the common theory that stress is anxiety over one's station in life is "balderdash." Segal estimated about 90 percent of all anxiety can be traced to five areas -- what he calls vulnerability, demandedness, fear, awfulizing and judgementalism.
Vulnerability is the "I had no choice" attitude.
Demandedness comes from painting the world as a black-white, yes-no sphere where compromise is impossible.
Fear causes a person to hide rather than face a usually simple problem.
Awfulizing is "terminal pessimism," which turns a half-hour delay into a global crisis.
Judgmentalism turns a person into a nitpicker convinced he posesses the solution to a problem. Segal said that once admitted to, stress becomes "a truly manageable problem." And looking at stress on a national level, Sugges said, "Instead of complaining, we should concentrate on adapting to conditions as they are by initiating structural change instead of becoming increasingly efficient in doing the wrong things." Sugges, a former professional engineer, said: "Today a businessman has a better chance of surviving as an inefficient producer of semiconductors than as an efficient producer of large, luxury automobiles." He recommended international cooperation among politicians, labor leaders and induswry captains to manufacture components for the final product in whatever county could do the job most efficiently. "There would no longer be as great an incentive for manufacturers to confront one another internationally or for their governments to become involved in protective actions," he said.