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THE KAROSHI SYNDROME  

BIOFEEDBACK ARTICLE FROM SPIRO DIAMANTIDIS - THE KAROSHI SYNDROME
SPIRO DIAMANTIDIS M.D
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BY SPIRO DIAMANTIDIS M.D.

CEO, President of

PARADISE HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

 

The Karoshi syndrome is a new, painful scientific discovery. It mostly manifests in businessmen or high ranking executives, who are usually just over 40 years old. They are active, successful, with bright careers and often members of the “golden boys” overpaid elite and they suddenly fall apart with an acute cardiac arrest or a stroke. These people actually take good care of themselves. They have their annual check ups, they work out, they are careful with their diet and they do all this under specialist guidance. They take good care of their image, because they invest in it and they definitely don’t leave it to chance. They give the impression of having endless strength and iron stamina. So it comes as a surprise to find out that such people fall apart and unexpectedly die. These phenomena concerned scientists a lot. They originally attributed them even to dietary supplements abuse. It was proven however that these sudden deaths were owed to the accumulated effects of work stress. There are many overly active businessmen who categorically state that they cannot function and perform without constant stress. Their argument is they don’t want to lost this constant “speed” that keeps them going. This happens because they actually don’t know anything about stress control. Most people believe that those who apply stress control are somewhat like Buddhist monks. They believe that stress control reduces nerve and raciness. But they are completely wrong. When an engine constantly runs at top speed, the only thing that is for certain is that it will eventually break down. When a person learns how to drive, how to control the brakes and the accelerator, it is as if they learn how to control stress. If we want to paint a simple, yet realistic picture of stress control, we could say that stress control is learning how to operate the body’s “accelerator” in order to achieve optimum performance with maximum safety. Stress is a natural and useful condition for humans. Creative stress in necessary in every creative phase of our lives. Food is also useful and necessary, but if one constantly eats for the rush that food provides, they will end up falling apart and food will turn from useful to catastrophic. The same applies to stress. It can become catastrophic. Especially nowadays, that “speed” characterizes everything, until we get out of track. Those who can control their car’s accelerators are fast and safe drivers who always reach their destination. Those who only “step on it” are dangerous and will get off the road at the first U-turn. In order for stress to be useful, it should only last for as long as the stressful factor exists. When we drive and we reach an uphill, we must stop on the accelerator and increase our speed to climb it. Then comes downhill and we must release the accelerator and rest our engine in order not get off the road. Metaphorically speaking, the uphill is the equivalent of a stress factor. When a hardship or a challenge comes along, namely when faced with a stressful factor, we will charge ourselves to the maximum extent but when the stressful factor goes away, namely when we go downhill, the stress must also go away. Those who are afraid not to lose their “speed” through stress control, are actually afraid that they will not be able to get to the same “speed” level when necessary, so they prefer remaining at that same condition of constant stress. It is as though they don’t know how to start a car, so they decide to never stop it. I often ask patients if they are aware of a stress control method and if they apply it. It is funny how I get positive answers from the most stressed individuals I meet at seminars. And when I ask them what their method is, they answer that to get rid of their stress, they read books, they listen to music, they go to the gym, they go out with good company, they watch a movie, they practice yoga, they meditate etc. This answer actually contains two mistakes. The first one is that you can’t really get rid of stress because it is one of the body’s natural functions.  However, you can control. They second one is that all these wonderful activities release the effects of stress but cannot actually control it. Stress control is achieved upon the stressful factor’s effect, not when we rest calmly at our home. Stress control is achieved once we learn how to rationally utilize our mental and physical resources when the stressful factor is active. It is achieved when we know how to use our mental and physical engine’s accelerators without going towards the Karoshi syndrome. Stress control requires training.

 

- Published in “INSURANCE MARKET” magazine

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