新视野大学英语2读写教程课文原文unit 7 Lighten Your Load
Please listen to a short passage carefully and prepare to answer some questions.
Listen to the tape again. Then answer the following questions with your own experiences.
1) What causes stress?
2) What are the NICE factors? Why are they important?
3) How do we follow Ben Franklin's example?
Lighten Your Load and Save Your Life
If you often feel angry and overwhelmed, like the stress in your life is spinning out of control, then you may be hurting your heart.
If you don't want to break your own heart, you need to learn to take charge of your life where you can — and recognize there are many things beyond your control.
So says Dr. Robert S. Eliot, author of a new book titled From Stress to Strength: How to Lighten Your Load and Save Your Life. He's a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Nebraska.
Eliot says there are people in this world whom he calls "hot reactors". For these people, being tense may cause tremendous and rapid increases in their blood pressure.
Eliot says researchers have found that stressed people have higher cholesterol levels, among other things. "We've done years of work in showing that excess alarm or stress chemicals can literally burst heart muscle fibers. When that happens it happens very quickly, within five minutes. It creates many short circuits, and that causes crazy heart rhythms. The heart beats like a bag of worms instead of a pump. And when that happens, we can't live."
Eliot, 64, suffered a heart attack at age 44. He attributes some of the cause to stress. For years he was a "hot reactor". On the exterior, he was cool, calm and collected but on the interior, stress was killing him. He's now doing very well.
The main predictors of destructive levels of stress are the FUD factors — fear, uncertainty and doubt — together with perceived lack of control, he says.
For many people, the root of their stress is anger, and the trick is to find out where the anger is coming from. "Does the anger come from a feeling that everything must be perfect?" Eliot asks.
"That's very common in professional women. They feel they have to be all things to all people and do it all perfectly. They think, 'I should, I must, I have to.' Good enough is never good enough. Perfectionists cannot delegate. They get angry that they have to carry it all, and they blow their tops. Then they feel guilty and they start the whole cycle over again."
"Others are angry because they have no compass in life. And they give the same emphasis to a traffic jam that they give a family argument," he says. "If you own anger for more than five minutes — if you stir in your own juice with no safety outlet — you have to find out where it's coming from."
"What happens is that the hotter people get, physiologically, with mental stress, the more likely they are to blow apart with some heart problem."
One step to calming down is recognizing you have this tendency. Learn to be less hostile by changing some of your attitudes and negative thinking.
Eliot recommends taking charge of your life. "If there is one word that should be substituted for stress, it's control. Instead of the FUD factors, what you want is the NICE factors — new, interesting, challenging experiences."
"You have to decide what parts of your life you can control", he says. "Stop where you are on your trail and say, 'I'm going to get my compass out and find out what I need to do.'"
He suggests that people write down the six things in their lives that they feel are the most important things they'd like to achieve. Ben Franklin did it at age 32. "He wrote down things like being a better father, being a better husband, being financially independent, being stimulated intellectually and remaining even-tempered — he wasn't good at that."
Eliot says you can first make a list of 12 things, then cut it down to 6 and set your priorities. "Don't give yourself impossible things, but things that will affect your identity, control and self-worth."
"Put them on a note card and take it with you and look at it when you need to. Since we can't create a 26-hour day we have to decide what things we're going to do."
Keep in mind that over time these priorities are going to change. "The kids grow up, the dog dies and you change your priorities."
From Eliot's viewpoint, the other key to controlling stress is to "realize that there are other troublesome parts of your life over which you can have little or no control — like the economy and politicians".
You have to realize that sometimes with things like traffic jams, deadlines and unpleasant bosses, "You can't fight. You can't flee. You have to learn how to flow."