Stress Management and Mastery: What We Can Learn from 9 Trapped Miners

Think back a few years to the nine coal miners trapped in a Pennsylvania mine and their rescuers.

Do you remember that story?

I thought the miners were goners.

They were trapped in a 4-foot-high cave. It was dark, wet and cold, 250 feet underground - almost the length of a football field - for more than three days.

Now, that's stress.

But, they did get out.

4 Lessons We Can Learn

1. Seek solutions, not blame

Apparently one guy was responsible for accidentally breaking through the barrier between the miners and an old abandoned mine, causing the mine they were in to flood, trapping them.

The rescuers did not focus on blaming this man.

Instead, some miners further risked their lives to rescue him, because he was separated from the other eight. The group made a plan for how to survive until they were rescued.

It's almost a cultural mandate in our litigious society to find someone to blame - as if blame is a solution.

2. Work together

The trapped miners used a rope to connect one to another so they would remain together, in life or death. When one got cold, the others would huddle around him to provide warmth. When one began to panic, the others calmed him down.

3. Focus your attention

It's amazing how focused you can become when you need/choose to, especially if your life is at risk.

The miners focused on staying alive until they were rescued. The rescuers focused on getting them out.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we brought that level of focus to our daily lives. To our families, our jobs?

4. Live on hope and faith

Living on hope and faith requires the guts to look past present circumstances, regardless of how hopeless they may seem. Stay focused on your goal. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we have not yet seen.

Faith and hope might seem like squishy concepts, but they were certainly real for those nine miners and their rescuers.

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