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2010年5月30日 (日)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:変化はストレス /東京

(Mainichi Japan) May 30, 2010
Kaleidoscope of the heart: Change brings stress
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:変化はストレス /東京

At the hospital I work at, there are sometimes layout changes, and this time my consultation room was to change floors. I was occupied and unable to help with the move, and when I came into work one day, the moving of my desk, computer, and everything else was complete.

The staff had worked hard to complete the move without disrupting my consultations with patients, and I felt I owed it to them to continue my work without delay. I began seeing patients, but somehow things weren't going so smoothly. Everything I needed was there, but for some reason the consultations were taking longer than usual, and I ended up keeping other patients waiting for a long time.

"Why is this happening?" I wondered. Then it hit me. All my things were there. But my PC, patients' files, all sorts of things were in slightly different spots than where they had been previously. When I needed a patient's file, my arm would reach instinctively to the old spot. "Oh, that's right," I would remember, and move my arm a little to the left to the new location.

This process of gradually retraining my body was more of an ordeal than I had expected.

One moment, "I have to twist my body a little more than before to grab the medicine guide."
The next, "The PC is a little farther into the room than it used to be."
As I corrected each small action, I took almost twice as long as usual to finish the day's consultations. Naturally, by the end of the day, I was exhausted. I often explain to my patients, "Change is itself a source of stress," and now I felt I had just confirmed that through actual experience.

It's said that depression cases rise from April to May, the season of house moves, workplace moves, and the start of school in Japan, and this is very understandable. Say, for example, all that happened was your workplace changed from a 10-minute walk from the station to a 15-minute walk. Even if your brain understands that, your body takes time to adjust. Your feet and arms, thinking, "We should be arriving right about now," are ordered by your brain, "Nope, five more minutes," and get thrown off. You end up tired, feeling like the walk was longer than it really was.

Of course, we can't live refusing any and all change. Still, we should remember to take it slow when a change in our environment has occurred. Even if a change at our job brings no change to the workload, we should remember that "Change brings stress," and take breaks when we need them.

I wish that the staff who worked so hard to smoothly complete the floor move could take a nice, long rest, too. Unfortunately, things don't often seem to work out that way. (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

毎日新聞 2010年5月25日 地方版


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