Stress is part of life. In the workplace it can be a source of positive motivation to succeed, or it can be a dark cloud that hinders health, morale and performance. Stress sets off a chemical reaction in the brain, preparing the body for defensive action. The nervous system is aroused, and hormones are released to sharpen the senses, quicken the pulse, deepen respiration and tense the muscles. This response (sometimes called the fight or flight response) is important because it helps us defend against threatening situations. The response is preprogrammed biologically. Everyone responds in much the same way, regardless of whether the stressful situation is at work or at home. For instance, someone feeling pressured by a difficult situation might start smoking or smoke more, overeat and gain weight.
When stressful situations go unresolved, the body is kept in a constant state of alert, which increases the rate of wear and tear on emotions and health. Ultimately, fatigue takes over and the ability of the body to repair and defend itself can become seriously compromised. As a result, the risk of injury, accidents or illness increases.
Three types of stress
In his widely acclaimed book Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to
Overloaded Lives, Richard Swensen, MD, describes three forms of modern stress:
• Healthy stress. Stress is a normal physiological adaptation to change. Providing for our families, desiring a promotion and making more money are all normal stresses that motivate most of us to be productive at work.
• Distress. A destructive form of stress, distress can manifest itself as high blood pressure, insomnia, irritability and pocr job performance. During periods of distress, people often overcompensate and engage in behaviors that provide short-term relief but in the long run cause even more stress. Drinking alcohol, overeating or misusing drugs are common examples.
• Hyperstress. When stress becomes severe or overwhelming, health, morale and productivity decline. Hyperstress is a chronic or long-term condition resulting from having too much on our plates for too long, things coming at us too fast, from working beyond our skill level or, in some cases, all of the above.
Over the past two decades many studies have looked at the relationship between job stress and health. The evidence suggests that hyperstress plays an important role in several types of chronic health problems, especially cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders and numerous mood and psychological problems. Hyperstress also is a major source of conflict at the worksite. Little problems quickly can swell into major conflicts when overloaded workers reach the end of their ropes.
The cause of debilitating stress is not confined to just the workplace. Marital or family problems, financial concerns, serious illness or the loss of a loved one easily can overwhelm the best workers. When nonwork stress is combined with work-related stress, the consequences are often serious.
Some common signs and symptoms of hyperstress
• fatigue, accidents, incidents and errors
• increased absenteeism or tardiness
• increased physical problems, illness and visits to the doctor
• short temper, depression or anxiety
• frequent power struggles
• poor morale and strained relationships with loved ones
• increased use of alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs
What can be done to manage stress?
There are no quick fixes to managing stress. Combating stress is a process of changing the things you can change and getting help with the things you can’t.
Here are some general tips for combating stress:
• Rehearse the day and see yourself reacting and responding to stress or stress situations positively.
• Exercise daily. Even 15 minutes per day can have a dramatic, positive effect.
• Getting enough sleep each night.
• Eat balance meals with adequate protein, essential fats and plenty of green vegetables.
• Listen to your hypnosis processes daily. .
• Review your day each night and assess your priorities and goals.
• Cut back on unimportant activities.
• Make special time for your spouse or children. Plan play time, date nights, etc.
• Be patient, tolerant and understanding of your mistakes.
• Simplify your life; cut out clutter.
• Address conflicts immediately.
The CD Process – HT-006 - Building a Stress-Free Future – Covers the benefits of health that you will receive when you learn new and creative ways to live your life without the need, want or desire for stress.