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45 MANAGING STRESS: THE SECOND PATH TO PERSONAL POWER Stress Is the Fever of Burnout. And Like a Fever, You Must Bring the Stress Down to Preserve Your Health. Stress is the fever of burnout! If you had pneumonia it would be essential to keep the accompanying fever down to avoid brain damage. But bringing down a fever will not cure pneumonia. The same is true with the stress that accompanies burnout. You must bring the stress down to preserve health, but reducing stress will not eliminate the underlying cause of burnout, which is a feeling of powerlessness. Uncontrollability How Burnout Is Stressful Following are some principles that explain what is known about the stress cycle. 1. Loss of Control = Threat. One of the most serious threats we can encounter is uncontrollability. All animals, especially human beings, are concerned about controlling their respective worlds. Striving to control the world around us is a survival drive. When we feel a loss of control, we feel threatened, and this triggers the "fight-flight" response. 2. Fight-Flight. When confronted with threat, a body mobilizes to either fight the threat or flee from it. Muscles tense, blood rushes and breathing quickens. But when you neither fight nor flee, but remain in the powerless situation, the result is chronic stress. 3. Chronic Stress. It is this unrelenting chronic stress that causes many of the symptoms of burnout. Some are exhaustion, health problems, irritability, intellectual impairment and emotional outbursts-which is why stress must be treated.