Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Miner" Stress

The recent Utah miner entrapment is a good example of 'Acute Stress' among four different groups-miners, owners,rescuers, and miner families. Since everyone reacts to stress in their own ways, there are probably many coping techniques being used by the different groups.
The miners, assuming they are alive, are battling for food, water, air, and basic survival.
The owners are battling the unions,media,seismologists,and basic business survival.
The families are battling uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and possible loss of a loved one.
The rescuers are battling the elements, time, and potential loss of life.
All can benefit from the basic stress management tools available. The first and foremost is using common sense and facts vs. emotion to evaluate the situation. Right now, there is no indication the miners are dead or alive, so assume they are alive and need rescuing. Projecting death or the worst case scenario only will bring up unwanted emotions and resignation. Getting out to exercise or walk around will be most beneficial to all, even the miners, assuming they can move around where they are. Praying and meditating and tuning out the media speculation will help calm the mind and emotions. Bonding and social interaction is one of the most important elements in the crises among family members, friends, co-workers, etc. Positive thinking will keep spirits alive and hope as a basic foundation for every one's effort. Watching what you eat and not filling up on caffeine will help to keep the tensions down and people flowing smoothly so they can work together and get their minds working for maximum concentration and effort.
So, even though there are different points of view from the four groups, they all can benefit during the crises by employing the same stress management strategies to help cope, not only during the acute phase, but just as important, afterwards. This is why stress management training is so important as an ongoing tool of coping mechanisms to use constantly for day-to-day functioning, but also in times of acute crises like the mine collapse.
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