The most commonly accepted definition of stress is “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilise” (Richard S Lazarus)
So is stress all bad?! Without our ability to experience stress, human kind would not have survived. Through the release of hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine, we are able to gain a rush of energy, which prepares us for fight or flight. As cave men this boost of energy enabled us to focus our attention so we could quickly respond to the situation, stay and fight or run to the hills.
In the modern world, the “fight or flight” mode can still be helpful, it can give us an edge during competition, or extra strength in an emergency. The challenge is when our body goes into a state of stress at inappropriate times – we need to either reduce the pressures or use a coping mechanism. If not, when blood flow is redirected just to the most important muscles needed to fight or flee, our brain function is minimised and leads to an inability to “think straight”. In addition prolonged periods of stress can impact on health increasing blood pressure and sugar levels as well as reducing libido!
So what can you do about it? One important point to remember is that stress is a “perception” and as such we may need to challenge our thinking and rationale about the situation. Perhaps one of the most logical answers is to remove the cause of the stress, however, this is sometimes easier said than done. Here are a few hints and tips to help you manage stress:-
- Manage your time. Use to-do lists and prioritise in order of importance. Allow for the “fudge factor” – everyday, someone will “steal” some of your time, so plan for it!
- Learn to say “no‟ – simple, but effective.
- Create a quiet space, just an hour or two a day, whether to relax or get on with your to-do list.
- Accept what you cannot change. A well-known prayer asks for the serenity “to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. Be wise!
- Counter your stress symptoms, if your shoulders are tense – relax them, if you are shallow breathing, take some deep breaths.
- Work off stress with physical activity – that’s what the body was preparing itself for after all.
- Sleep is essential for the body to function properly – are you getting enough?
- Avoid nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar products. They are all stimulants, and they just add to the problem – I know, this seems to be counter to your body’s demands!
Stress is a major issue in corporations across the globe, and is being heavily invested into both in time and money. With the confined work and living spaces, high demands of guests and owners, stress, why not talk to Impact Crew’s experienced team of highly professional consultants. We are on hand to support you to work through your stress.