Friday, May 31, 2013

24/7 SPEED/Resiliency Shrink Rap ™: Safe Stress Survival Strategies

This poetic/lyrical “SPEED Rap” is an elaboration of an earlier work.  [Actually, I have just coined a new concept – Resiliency Rap ."]  The three expanded or new areas are:  Sleep, Passion, and Empathy. Audiences are very engaged when I talk about the concept, so I decided to rework a “Shrink Rap” ™ version.  It's a yin-yang mix of light and dark humor and insight.

On a lark, I showed it to a Howard County librarian this am, a total stranger, just for her reaction.  She simply said, "Wow!"  And also thanked me profusely when I gave her a copy and suggested she share it with her colleagues.

Hopefully, you too will be jolted with energy, entertainment, and some enlightenment.

Enjoy!  And feel free to share.


24/7 SPEED/Resiliency Shrink Rap
Safe Stress Survival Strategies

By Mark Gorkin, "The Stress Doc" ™

What is the answer to modern duress?
Should you try Prozac?
Is it time to confess
To Ebay shopping – which may be a warning
When you're clicking madly at three in the morning?

But relax, have no fear...
The Stress Doc is here. So lay worries to rest…
Now listen and learn to Practice Safe Stress! ™

As you sprint to the wire with blood pressure higher
Timeless mind-body tips to heed
For slowing down, getting feet on the ground
And building Natural SPEED – Sleep-Priority-Passion-Empathy-Exercise-Diet.
Now don't be cheap with your need for “Sleep.”
Maximum learning must be REM deep
To be a beauty with mental acuity
Not that snooze-button bashing BLEEP!

For when it comes to daily slumber
Late night video/gaming is dumb and dumber.
You may think I croak like a grouchy old toad:
“Enough…Pull the plug on ‘just one more’ download.”
Alas and alack, when an insomniac
You are ripe for brain plaque
Even small brain attacks or dementia.

Beware numbing at night with pie ala mode
Better mind travel down a pine-scented road.
Or let sounds of the ocean
Sing a lullaby potion
While launching a dreamy adventure.

So, can you get seven hours, at least
Without an Ambien or Bacchanalian feast?
When stress from your head crawls into the bed
And virals as a nightmarish beast...
Despite what you think you’ll need more than a shrink:
How do you find – without losing your mind…Aha!
Is there an app for a “multi-HYPER-texting ‘n tubeing-always on-
Facebooking-Skype-savvy” exorcist priest?

"P" stands for "Priority"
You can't do it all every day.
Urgent means now but important can wait.
Do you know how to "N & N"? –
Just say "No and Negotiate!"

I hope you’ll pardon my asking:
“Must you always be multi-tasking?”
Oh, it’s just me, honey, your Energizer Bunny.
Running from quiet, your life is a riot.
Hmm…what is that “ADD” masking?

Another “P”-word is “Passion”
And we’re not talking sex, shoes, or fashion.
Don’t try to impress, better…
Learn to play chess
Or dig, dream, and dance in your garden.

"E" is for the "Empathy"
Found in a caring shoulder.
But all give without take is a big mistake
For now you shoulder a boulder.

Find a stress buddy who knows TLC
Someone honest and self-aware –
One who gives “Tender Loving Criticism”
Yet also takes “Tough Loving Care!”

The second "E" is for "Exercise"
Start pumping iron or those thighs.
You may not need SSRIs.
Try thirty minutes of non-stop spin
For your mood uplifting endorphin.

And, finally, "D" is for a healthy "Diet"
Alas, many would rather die than try it.
To manage foods so often craved
Grieve, "let go," and then be brave
Sending diet fads to an early grave.

So eat those fruits and veggies
Try fish oils and soy protein.
For too much fats and sugar
Excess alcohol and caffeine
Is a rollercoaster formula
For an artery-clogged machine.

It's time to end this Shrink Rap
With final tips for you –
"A firm 'No' a day keeps the ulcers away, and the hostilities too."
So to lessen daily woes, "Do know your limits; don't limit your 'No's!"

Ponder this Stress Doc wit and wisdom
Try to live it day after day:
Burnout is not a sign of failure
You simply gave yourself away.

Remember, sometimes less is more
And more is really less.
Balance work and play, faith and love
And, of course...Practice Safe Stress!

© Mark Gorkin 2013
Shrink Rap ™ Productions

Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is an acclaimed keynote and webinar speaker and "Motivational Humorist & Team Communication Catalyst" known for his interactive, inspiring and FUN programs for both government agencies and major corporations.  A training and Critical Incident/Grief Intervention Consultant for the National EAP/Wellness Company, Business Health Services in Baltimore, MD, the Doc is also leading “Stress, Team Building and Humor” programs for various branches of the Armed Services.  Mark is the author of Practice Safe Stress and of The Four Faces of Anger.  See his award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" -- -- called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR).  For more info on the Doc's programs or to receive his free e-newsletter, email


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Case for High Task-Touch-Tolerance Training for Supervisors and Managers

Several events have come together within the last six weeks compelling me to share my thoughts on services/programs that I believe would be of great benefit to colleagues, clients, or employees, especially managers and supervisors.  More specifically, I have seen the clear emotional support, the interactive energy, enthusiastic and open sharing, and morale boost, as well as the “hands on” PRO – Personal-Relational-Organizational – problem-solving benefits of:

a) a two-hour class for a handful of county government managers, and b) an all-day workshop for eighteen “Metro Transit” managers.

Other recent events have demonstrated the impact that motivational-interactive-team oriented programs have on both small (corporate) and large (government) audiences.

Before describing these events, let me mention an excellent resource, a book I am presently reading, by Jane Stevenson and Bilal Kaafarani, Breaking Away:  How Great Leaders Create Innovation that Drives Sustainable Growth – and Why Others Fail, McGraw-Hill, 2011.  According to the authors, innovation is “something unique that delivers true value and is worthy of exchange.”  I believe the below programs/services, in particular, problem solving-support groups and workshops for Managers and Supervisors, clearly meet this criteria.  When a Manager or Supervisor experiences and integrates the value of Stress and Conflict Resiliency and Relaxation, a virtuous cycle spreads throughout their network

The above-mentioned interactive-interconnected-innovative events include:

1) Motivational-Interactive Keynote with a major Fairfax County Govt Department (see testimonials below); the 1.5 hour program for 100 + employees went so well that it quickly spun-off an upcoming June 2013 Stress Resiliency/Practice Safe Stress program for all FCG Department Heads

Date:     3/25/2013

Hi Mark,

Hope you had a great weekend.

I spoke with Gail this morning and she is absolutely DEE-lighted with the Stress Doc! 

[Gail Ledford, Department Director, was going to share her observations with Dept. of Public Work's Director James Patteson.]

WE have had nothing but rave reviews from the staff

“Engaging and Educational”

“Just a note to say how much I enjoyed yesterday’s event at the Government Center.  I think it changed the attitudes of many because not only were we ‘away’ from the office but also having Mark Gorkin as a guest speaker helped everyone connect better….and laugh. Thank you!”

“We are already using some of the tools and suggestions from the training. Our vote is more like this, whether it’s him or similar activities.”

I will be in touch. All the best,

Robyn L. McCoy

Resource Development and Training Manager
Department of Administration for Human Services

“Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Hi, Mark.

I just wanted to thank you for your presentation today.  I feel that I took away some strategies that I can use to handle stress in my work life (I just changed jobs) as well as in my home life (caring for an ill loved one).  I was a mad scribe and wrote down many of your anecdotes that will serve me well!

Best wishes,

Christina Hokenson
DAHS-Contracts and Procurement Management
(703) 324-7025 phone

2) As a consultant for Business Health Services, led a 2-hour Managing Stress for Montgomery County Govt Managers class; while because of technology-marketing factors numbers were small (three attendees); however, having only three people allowed for an intimate and focused sharing/learning experience; there were substantive cathartic and strategic benefits, along with tangible “take home” plans.  The participants were decidedly less stressed, had a clear problem-solving direction, and were definitely more hopeful.  I believe a regular small group support system for Managers and Supervisors would be invaluable.

3) As a consultant with Business Health Services, led a one-hour class for a major area transportation company, a mind-body, cognitive-alternative health method of dealing with stress, including focusing on styles of self-defeating thinking and the use of a relaxation-visualization exercise (the class was given three times in the day, including for night shift employees).  One of the principals of this transportation company attended all three sessions.  His words:  “You have an inspiring message!”

From: Cookie Kornstein
Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
To: Doug Nelson

Subject: Next training

Hi Doug,

Can we secure the date of April 30 for The Mind & Body Connection?  We would like to have the same 3 sessions as before with the same instructor if possible, (we LOVED Mark!) The times would be: 9:30-10:30am, 11-12 noon and 10-11 pm.

Let me know if that date is okay...thanks!

Cookie Kornstein, HR Director

Eyre Bus, Tour & Travel
Direct: 410.442.1330 x3220
Fax: 410.442.0010
PO Box 239 - 13600 Triadelphia Rd. - Glenelg, MD. 21737

4) A recent one-day Stress Resiliency Workshop with Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Managers proved magical.  The group engagement, venting and strategizing, along with mutual support/dialogue literally led to all top-rated evals, and this follow-up note:

Subject: Newsletter
Date: 5/13/2013

Good Morning Mark

My intention was to email you right after your class on Thursday (5/9/13), but of course I got side tracked.  I would once again like to share how much I enjoyed your class.  As stated before, if I come across anyone who might need your services, I will forward your contact information.

Thanks again for such a refreshing class.

Toyia Hall

This one-day, small group-interactive program for WMATA covered such content areas as:

Stress Assessment and Stress Building Beliefs/Self-Defeating Styles of Thinking

Recognizing the Personal and Professional Link with Burnout

Knowing How and When to “Let Go”

Loss-Stress-Change Assessment Scale

The Importance of Recognizing and Continuing the Process of “Unfinished Grieving”

Asking “Good Questions” for Disarming Power Struggles while Building Trust

Strategies and Resources for Dealing with “Family” Triangle Conflicts

Defusing a Critical Aggressor with Tactful Assertion

Dealing with Departmental Stress/Conflict or a “Superior” Rank “Stress Carrier”

Identifying and Intervening with the “Team Virus”

Reaching Out for Internal and External (HR, EAP, Independent Consultant) Resources

Learning Progressive Relaxation and the Stress Doc’s Formula for Natural SPEED – Sleep, Priorities-Passion, Empathy-Exercise, and Diet

Using a 3-D – Discussion-Drawing-Diversity – Team Exercise to creatively manage group stress/tensions while building camaraderie and morale, especially in times of transition

Of course, these topics can be tailored for programs of any length.

If you would like to discuss these or any other ideas further, please email or call 301-875-2567.  Best wishes and good adventures,

Mark Gorkin

Mark Gorkin, the Stress Doc ™,, acclaimed Keynote and Kickoff Speaker, Webinar Presenter, Retreat Leader and Motivational Humorist, is the author of Practice Safe Stress and The Four Faces of Anger. A former Stress & Violence Prevention consultant for the US Postal Service, "The Doc" is a Team Building and Organizational Development Consultant as well as a Critical Incident/Grief Intervention Expert for Business Health Services, a National Wellness/EAP/OD Company. Mark leads highly interactive, innovative and inspiring programs for corporations and government agencies, including the US Military, on stress and brain resiliency/burnout prevention through humor, change and conflict management, generational communication, and 3 "R" -- Responsible, Resilient & Risk-Taking -- leadership-partnership team building.

Email for his popular free newsletter & info on speaking programs and phone coaching sessions.

Stress Doc Mantra: "Think out of the box, perform outside the curve (the Bell Curve) and be out-rage-ous!"