Stress management, business prioriety

Stress can quickly lead to poor health.

I have written this case study as a result of my personal experiences with major traumas. The death of my parents, a business failure, cancers and heart attacks and the excitement of business. I believe that stress has become a major health hazard for people in business, for both owners and employees. Today, stress and depression have become commonplace, affecting the health of many, along with their businesses, lifestyles and careers.

Life isn’t always easy – Case Study

By Peter Sergeant

I started my entrepreneurial journey at 19-years of age. A time when I didn’t even know what the word stress meant, let alone know much about business. Luckily I had a few mentors  who helped me to get off to a good start.

I was running my own multi-million dollar business a few years later. The money was great but, what really excited me was the freedom it provided, or so I thought. Even though you might own a business there are things that will impact your life in a negative way that is beyond your control. Things such as economic downturns, droughts, floods, disasters, losing a good employee, a death in the family and unexpected health problems can all create stressful situations.

Many businesses set corporate and financial goals but overlook goals that relate to stress, health and wellbeing both for management and employees. Something that took me two major health crisis to do something about.  The consequences can result in high staff turnover, a decline in customer service, the tension between staff members, low staff morale and overall productivity declines. From the employee’s point of view, it impacts their family, lifestyle, career and leaves them uncertain about their future health and well-being.

Stress is commonplace in our lives

Everyone suffers from it at some time, in business usually more often than not. In learning to deal with stress you need to understand what stress is really about. It means identifying common causes and then practising some method of stress reduction on a regular basis. Stress is generally thought of as a negative syndrome that needs to be avoided, which is not surprising when you investigate stress.

You soon realise that research has been preoccupied with its adverse effects. However, Hans Selye (1) one of the original stress pioneers states that “the only escape from stress is death.”

If this was the case then you have nothing more to look forward to but more stress, depression and death. There is a lot more to life than this and by avoiding and learning to cope with stress you can live on the more positive side to life. That will involve exploration, challenge, mastery, fun, excitement, success, and above all, happiness.

Do you have a coping method?

Most people have some method for dealing with stress or think they have, as I did. Sometimes the methods used are productive, but more often are meaningless and don’t get to the root causes.  Meditation, exercise, and listening to your favourite music would be examples and moderate your personal workload would also help. But sometimes the methods chosen may not be so positive: alcohol abuse, drugs, smoking and overeating for examples.

Though these negative stress management tools tend to work in the short-term, in the long-term there will be more serious negative health outcomes. It is best to find stress management tools that will have beneficial, positive health effects in the long-term and yet still effectively manage stress in the short-term. Untreated stress can quickly lead to anxiety, depression, bad habits and serious illness, so good management is critical.

Once I used to think things like cancer and heart attacks were just bad luck. I now know that it is not all about bad luck but, related to a bad lifestyle and overdoing what you like and enjoy doing. It was ‘eustress’ that was to become my problem. A more balanced lifestyle, keeping mentally active and developing coping strategies helped me  manage my stress. A commonly accepted definition of stress seems to be. “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”.  

Types of Stress

The body’s autonomic nervous system often does a poor job of distinguishing between daily stressors and life-threatening events. If you’re stressed over an argument, a traffic jam, or bills you can’t pay, your body can still react as if you’re facing a life-or-death situation. Stress is a natural human response to pressure when faced with challenging and sometimes dangerous situations. That pressure is not only about what’s happening around you, but also about demands you place on yourself, including surrounding yourself with negativity.

Most people understand the negative side of stress, correctly referred to as distress (dis=bad). Only a few, however, are aware of the positive stress you inflict on yourself because you like doing what you’re doing, namely eustress (eu=good). Stress can be acute (short term), episodic (frequent), or chronic (long term).

  1. Acute stress – Is the most common type, results from events, pressures, and demands of the recent past and anticipated in the near future.
  2. Episodic stress – Acute stress that occurs frequently is called episodic stress. You will find this type of stress is common in people whose lives are extremely busy or disorganised, and who tend to worry excessively.
  3. Chronic stress – Is a serious condition. It occurs when a stressful situation is prolonged and continuous, often causing severe physical and emotional symptoms.
  4. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) –  This is a psychiatric condition that can occur following life-threatening events, such as military action, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, and violent personal assaults, such as domestic violence.

Trauma and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)

Following severe trauma, some stress reactions do not go away and even worsen over time. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, often having difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged. These symptoms can be severe and long lasting and can significantly impair daily life.

A trauma is an intensely stressful event during which a person suffers serious harm or the threat of death. Or they can witness an event during which another person is killed, seriously injured, or threatened. Traumatic events are commonly classified as follows:

  • Abuse – Mental, physical, sexual, verbal .
  • Catastrophe – Harmful and fatal accidents, natural disasters, terrorism.
  • Violent attack –  Animal attack, assault, battery,  domestic violence, rape.
  • Failures – in business and personal relationships.
  • War, battle, and combat – Death, explosion, gunfire.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may also develop after a serious medical emergency. Like a heart attack or stroke, or as a result of a major business failure, or a failure in a personal relationship.

Who’s at risk?

Modern life is full of problems, frustrations, wants and needs along with deadlines and the many demands of others. For many, stress is so commonplace that dealing with it has become a way of life, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Stress isn’t always bad, stress properly managed within your comfort zone can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when stress becomes overwhelming, it can ruin your quality of life.

The question should be “Who isn’t at risk”? Because of the fast pace of life today and the fact that you all want more, you are leading more hectic lifestyles. Balancing family, work, education, social obligations and financial affairs have become big issues. Smoking, excessive drinking, overeating also takes a toll on our health. Chronic stress can wear down your cardiovascular, immune and gastrointestinal systems.

in-the-grip-of-stress

I find most people know when they feel over stressed.

 

Stress is the body’s response to physical, mental, or emotional changes, situations and forces. It can result from external factors such as traumatic events and the environmental problems or from internal factors such as attitudes, feelings and expectations not being met. Stress often occurs in response to situations that are perceived as being difficult to handle or threatening. Common causes of stress (called stressors) include illness, injury, fear, and anxiety.

Recognising how our bodies respond to stress

Each person reacts differently to stress. A healthy response to stress begins quickly, is appropriate in degree and in length and can improve function, motivation, and productivity.

The body’s response to stress is initiated and controlled by the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). In response to a stressful situation, the brain first signals the inner portion of the adrenal gland (called the adrenal medulla) to release hormones (e.g., adrenaline [epinephrine], norepinephrine) that initiate the “flight-or-fight” response.

Next, the brain triggers the release of other hormones, such as cortisol, to sustain this response. Effects of these hormones include the following:

  • Changes in digestion caused by increased blood flow to the muscles and reduced blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Dilation of blood vessels.
  • Rapid increased breathing (respiration) rate.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure, caused by increased blood flow to the brain.
  • Increased blood sugar levels to provide more energy,

After recovering from operations with my family and getting my head back in order, I found myself solving old problems and frustrations more quickly. I was told many years ago that taking time off was not a luxury but a necessity for growing a strong business and at the time I found it hard to believe.  It was hard to believe it until I was forced to test it out during my recovery from a health crisis.

Family-related stress  

Family-related stress is very common in families of the modern era. Fast paced, high-stress living has become the norm and many people are not coping, which can lead to family breakdowns and impact on the family’s capacity to achieve their aspirations. Too much pressure will hurt your dreams and kill your capacity to achieve them. Following are some basic causes of stress in the family:

  • Family violence.
  • Financial pressures.
  • Divorce.
  • Bullying.
  • Interference by relatives.
  • Children or lack of them.
  • Social media.
  • Death in the family.
  • Making a major relocation.
  • Alcohol and drug related issues.
  • Lack of relaxation – short breaks and holidays.
  • Other health issues.

Work-related stress

Stress in the workplace is common and is caused by many different factors. Including poor performance, lack of money, excessive hours, economic downturn, conflicts, harassment, unfair treatment and feelings of isolation and loneliness. The amount of stress a person experiences is often determined by whether or not they can accept that some things in their work environment will simply never be sorted out to their satisfaction.

Some problems will never be fully resolved and you may have to accept them. Don’t be complacent about workplace stress as the effects can be far-reaching and detrimental to all stakeholders.

stress-in-the-work-place

Causes of workplace stress are many and varied, particularly if you are the boss.

 

Work-related stress is not necessarily an individual’s fault, but an organisational issue, and is one of the most common outcomes of a poor work environment. Risks arise from poor work design, poor organisation and poor management, as well as a poor social context at work. They can result in negative psychological, physical and social outcomes.

Basic causes of stress to look out for in the work environment

  • Excessive workloads.
  • Financial pressure.
  • Poor time management or time constraints.
  • Conflicting demands.
  • Excessive pressure to perform.
  • The breakdown in trust and loyalty.
  • A poor vision of the future.
  • Lack of control.
  • Ineffective communication.
  • Lack of a good Business Model and Business Plan.
  • Inability to cope with new technologies.
  • Lack of clarity over the roles and responsibilities.
  • Inability to cope with changes in the marketplace.
  • Making a big mistake or having a business failure.
  • Badly managed organisational change and change happening too fast.
  • Lack of support from management or colleagues.
  • Poor interpersonal relationships.
  • Harassment, bullying, aggression and violence.
  • Difficulty combining work and home commitments.
  • Stressful family situations can impact the way you react to problems at work.

Risks should not be confused with a healthy, stimulating but supportive work environment in which everyone is highly motivated and encouraged to perform to the best of their ability. While it’s great to create such an environment beware, a high charge atmosphere can lead to ‘eustress’ and bring people down as it did to me.

Symptoms to look out for

Stress manifests itself in a long list of physical symptoms that are easily recognisable. Looking out for the first signs of stress can reduce the likelihood of an employee developing  severe anxiety, depression or long-term health problems, which can severely retard a person’s capacity to perform well. As a result, the business’s performance drops. Implementing stress management policy can help tackle stress at the source and encourage employees to seek help if they are feeling under pressure. Occasionally an individual may need to seek medical advice.

There are always symptoms here are some of the most obvious ones

  • Disputes and disagreements become commonplace.
  • A once calm person starts to snap and yell at others.
  • An increase in complaints from customers.
  • Working long hours and not taking breaks.
  • Being over emotional and irritable.
  • Increased absenteeism.
  • The quality of work starts to deteriorate.
  • An employee becoming less productive.
  • Sudden loss or gain in a person’s weight.
  • Missing deadlines, or unable to keep up.
  • Overdue creditors and other money problems.
  • Poor time management.
  • Irregular or poor eating habits.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Excessive smoking, drug and alcohol consumption.
  • Reduction of social engagements.
  • Poor judgement, struggling to make simple decisions.
  • High employee turnover.
  • A person becomes more reckless.
  • Becoming more accident prone.

Approaches to managing your stress

Success means a lot of different things to different people. Lifestyle, money, power, fame and achieving your dreams are at the core of feeling and being successful. In order to have an enterprise that delivers on your aspirations and those of the stakeholders, you need to ensure all the parts of the organisation are working well. And that means maintaining your health and well-being. This is important if you want to stay focused on your aspirations.

Are you only focusing on what you like doing, or what you are good at, instead of what really needs to be done? Even with your best intentions, by letting things just happen, it will be difficult to keep things working well? At worst it will lead to ill health.

It’s nice to go to social events, but not at the expense of your business. Your business is your ‘milking cow’ and you are the breadwinner, so if things are not working well they need fixing. Following are some ways to start fixing  the problems and get things working well again. See the post “Working well means  success”,  http://goo.gl/Qk4JOQ.

You all have many sources of stress: school, jobs, relationships, money and so on. There is no more important topic than how you can handle or cope with stress. Following are some important questions to ask yourself prior to starting any management program:

  • What are the main stressors in your life right now?
  • Are these stressors caused by people or things?
  • How have you attempted to manage these stressors, by avoiding them, by confronting them or by using substances?
  • Have you ever given any thought to developing several, positive methods for stress management that could be effectively and safely used when the need arises?

Following are some different approaches to stress management.

  1. Action-oriented: In which you seek to confront the problem causing the stress, changing the environment or the situation. The action-oriented techniques help you to manage the demands upon you and increase the resources you can mobilise.
  2. Emotionally-oriented: In which, you don’t have the power to change the situation, but you can manage stress by changing your interpretation of the situation and the way you feel about it. The emotionally oriented techniques help you to adjust your perceptions of the situation.
  3. Acceptance-oriented: Where something has happened over which you have no power and no emotional control and where your focus is on surviving the stress, the acceptance-oriented techniques help you survive the situations that you cannot change.

Controlling you stress at work

To be able to take an action-oriented approach, you must have some power, or ability to control the situation. If you do, then action-oriented approaches are some of the most satisfying and rewarding ways of managing stress. These are techniques that you can use to manage and overcome stressful situations, changing them to your advantage. You can cope with the stress of workload. Survive the stress of problem jobs, deal with people induced stress, manage environmental stress, manage performance stress and avoid burnout.

If you do not have the power to change a situation, then you may be able to reduce stress by changing the way you look at it, using an emotionally-oriented approach. Emotionally-oriented approaches are often less attractive than action-oriented approaches in that the stressors can recur time and again. However, they are useful and effective in their place.

remove-the-clutter-in-your-life

If you start by removing the clutter in your life, you start to remove the mind-traffic and your stress is reduced.

 

Sometimes, you have so little power in a situation that all you can do is to survive it.  For example, when loved ones die this is the case. In these situations, often the first stage of coping is to accept your lack of power. Look at building buffers that help you through difficult periods. Relaxation techniques can be of great assistance.  Your attitude, personality and approach to family, work and life in general, will influence how you respond to stress.

Things that will be important in managing stress might include

  • How well your business or work is going.
  • Whether you have experienced anything like this before.
  • How anxious you feel generally.
  • Whether you can control what is happening.
  • How severely the problem affects you.
  • Your approach to a problem.
  • How long the event affects you.
  • The ways you cope with difficult situations.
  • How important the outcome is to you.
  • Your life experiences can be advantageous.
  • Whether you have people around who can provide support?
  • Your self-esteem and confidence will have an impact.
  • Whether you have developed a stress-management plan

What can happen if you become over-stressed?

Problems are your teachers in business and in life. Some people don’t like admitting they have problems and others don’t like hearing about it but, eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment and know that everything happens for a reason. Remember, there are two types of pain in this world: pain that hurts you (physical) and pain that changes you.

Before you assume the causes of the problems learn about them,  before you make a judgement understand them, and before you say anything, think about them. It’s not the problems that will hold you back, it will be the way you think about it and react to it.

You all have problems and some of them will reach a crisis point. See this post for some thoughts about becoming a better problem solver and crisis manager,  “Problems overcome prevent a crisis”. http://goo.gl/GgR7tY.

Slow down, take the time to relax, think, reflect and plan the best fix. Looking at problems, crisis and failures you should recognise you have all failures at some time and to some extent, but how you recover is what’s important. The first thing to do is to analyse the problem properly. Don’t over-react by thinking it is one thing then discovering  it’s actually something different.

Slow down, take the time to relax, think, reflect and plan the best fix. Looking at problems, crisis and failures you should recognise you have all failures at some time and to some extent, but how you recover is what’s important. The first thing to do is to analyse the problem properly. Don’t over-react by thinking it is one thing then discovering  it’s actually something different.

As a bonus, good problem solving gives you more peace of mind

It comes as a direct result of knowing you are in control and problems are bring solved. If you become over-stressed you may have unwanted consequences for your health, both physical and psychological. Some of these may include:

Psychological/Emotional

  • Feeling hostile, angry, or irritable.
  • Avoiding other people.
  • Feeling anxious.
  • Crying.
  • Moodiness.
  • Feeling frustrated with things that normally don’t bother you.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Lack of confidence.
  • Anxiety attacks.
  • Depression or sadness.

Physical

  • Upset stomach, diarrhoea or indigestion.
  • Headache.
  • Backache.
  • Inability to sleep.
  • Eating too much or too little.
  • Raised heart-rate.
  • Smoking and alcohol.

If you are experiencing any of these problems you may want to talk to your local doctor.

Understanding your stress

Every business goes through tough times and you shouldn’t try to hide your emotions when you’re feeling sad or overwhelmed. Stress will find you so have a plan. Spend time with people who care for you and understand your journey. When you understand your stressors and understand what could possibly happen, you are better able to mitigate the stress. You’re also less likely to feel the full weight of a situation because you’ll already be prepared.

Questions you may like to consider to improve understanding:

  • What is stress and what does it mean to you?
  • Is stress the same as anxiety?
  • How can you be stressed over something you enjoy doing?
  • Is stress always a bad thing?
  • Are there any differences in stress producing events?
  • Is stress always caused by an external event?
  • Can you experience an event as stressful at one time and not another?
  • Does stress only occur when you are pushed for time?
  • What are the various elements involved in the stress process?
  • How do you feel when you are stressed?

You each probably have your private definitions of stress. It is a term of common usage. The dictionary definition uses words such as strain, pressure and force. There’s a sense that you know what each is talking about. Yet already you can see that stress is a term of loose definition.

“I am feeling stressed”.

“He’s under a lot of stress”.

The research literature does not agree about what phenomena it includes and which it excludes. Stress is equated with ‘anxiety’, ‘conflict’, ‘frustration’ and ‘defence’. In psychology, ‘stress’ covers research in areas such as conflict, frustration, anxiety, defence, emotions (especially fear and anger), disaster, psychopathology and psychosomatic disorders.

Stress in the workplace varies

In engineering, the relationship between stress and strain can be quantitatively expressed by measuring the force acting on a unit area of the material. This relationship depends on the molecular structure of the material and defines the resilience of the material to the forces acting upon it.

Current engineering terminology defines the external force as the load, the internal force as the stress and the stretching and eventually breaking of the rope is called strain.

In films, to create tension there is the scene where the person has been saved from dying by dangling from a rope but then, further tension, the rope threads begin to split. The effect of the person’s weight creates an external force within the rope that causes it to stretch and eventually break.

Clearly, doctors dedicated to serving the needs of their patients encounter a great deal of pressure and it is not surprising that this produces worry and anxiety reactions. If the pressure persists, then serious medical problems such as heart disease or an ulcer can result for the doctor himself.

Thirst is a source of stress, so is hunger. If you did not notice and respond to these basic stressors you would be dead. You need some force in your lives to get you moving. Thus, there is no situation which in itself will cause you distress. It really depends on how you as an individual perceives and interprets the situation, and the individual’s coping skills and resilience. Some people react to hard work and responsibility with worry and anxiety while the same amount and type of work can be challenging and rewarding to others.

Stress is a natural part of life

I must be a slow learner as it took me years to understand that stress was actually in my life and was very much a part of it. It was not until after I had my second heart attack that I took time off to study the causes of heart attacks and ill health. I had a gut feeling there had to be a root cause for my illnesses. It was at this time I discovered the term ‘eustress’. Up until that time I thought I could work 10 hours a day seven days a week without any ill effects because I enjoyed my work.To mix family life with my business life was the thing to thought you had to do. I had no concept of a work/life balance.

When I started to manage the stressors in my life, the negative tendencies fell away, and when this happened, relief was the natural outcome. By starting to relax more, take more short breaks and stop being so serious about what was going on in my life was the answer as I learned to go with the flow. I avoided negative people and negative situations like the plague. It was during this time that I realised that the true meaning of success had little to do with money. My health was put front and centre, for the simple reason if it’s not right, nothing else matters.

It’s always best to take one issue at a time

You manage stress relief over each particular issue, but it won’t be long before you’re upset over the next issue, which means your mind requires further tuning. Any temporary gain is no gain at all. If this was true why did I have two major bowel cancer operations and two heart attacks?

You don’t send your motor vehicle to the garage for repairs every other day, you seek the advice of the mechanic for a permanent solution. Stress relief measures that you adopt, must carve out a new lifestyle for you, and rescue you from your existing confused situation.

Lifestyle changes can and do improve your life.

What is your recipe for building a new lifestyle and a business that works? It’s easy to see the people who understand how things work and have strategies to create the results they want. You will end up a loser if you keep stumbling along wishing, hoping and constantly complaining that you never get a break. Change  the way you want to live and work by changing the culture you operate in and bring some balance into your life.

You must do what it takes to accumulate enough knowledge to make your life work the way you would like. Your personal life should be in balance with your work life, find out how the game is played by people who have great lifestyles. Play by the rules while avoiding risky behaviour, http://goo.gl/BdtxoU.

First of all, you have to scan your lifestyle in an impartial manner, observe yourself from a distance. Don’t be afraid to own your shortcomings. It is time to remove the damaged bricks in your lifestyle and personality and replace them with new ones. Analyse the activities of your day and begin the process of building your skills, one by one. Do not try too many things simultaneously. A bad habit can be replaced if you practice the new one for 30 days.

There is light at the end of the tunnel

It is true, that the fast pace of the modern materialistic world, gives rise to various types of stress, but you cannot go back and live in the past you have to catch up with the times. Stress relief is not an inaction, but participating in the action in an intelligent manner, by absolutely being clear about “what to do” and “what not to do” things. For that, you have to develop your time management concepts, information and leadership skills and engage yourself in practical creativity. Let the mind go wherever it is necessary and stop wandering aimlessly.

Once that smooth and even levels are achieved, all the related functions like problem solving, decision making and communications skills become easy. You will also find a remarkable improvement in your memory, energy and time management skills.

Stress and anger 

Stress and anger, is there anything more required to destroy an individual and a business? All your positive faculties are destroyed in an instant, that is the potential of the trait called anger. When your stress erupts it is like a volcano! It is the Tsunami of negative human emotions and it can come without warning.

Stress

Stress is the generalised response by the body to any demand. It refers to how the body responds to any number of physical or emotional stimuli (i.e., stressors). Effects of this response are sometimes perceptible such as an increased heart rate, respiratory rate, sweating, skin problems, or tense muscles.

Other changes, though common, are not perceptible: increased blood pressure, metabolism, and changes in circulating fats. Continued exposure to stressors, especially of a negative type, will often lead to mental and physical symptoms such as anxiety, depression, heart palpitations, and muscular aches and pains.

Eventually, if you cannot find a way to effectively regulate stress, various physical and mental disorders may develop and may be serious enough to cause disability and even death. 

Stressors

A stressor is any event or condition that initiates a stress reaction. There are many kinds of stressors:

  • Burnt toast.
  • Crying kids.
  • Arguments with family or with co-workers.
  • Excessive exercise.
  • A passionate kiss.
  • Loud noise and loud music.
  • Productive work.
  • Viruses.
  • Bacteria.
  • Overexposure to the sun.,
  • And grief, are all examples of stressors.

While some of these stressors could be considered good, pleasant and/or beneficial, they nevertheless cause a similar generalised response in the body. For example, what does an argument with your boss have in common with jogging? Since they are both stressors, they will each cause increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased respiratory rate and muscle tension. Though your perception of these two stressors might be different, your body’s reaction to them is pretty much the same. It is important to note that stress is cumulative.

stress-leads-to-burnout-is-not-worth-it

Stress can quickly lead to burnout. It’s not worth the risk. It might be good if we had the nine lives of a cat.

 

It doesn’t make any difference whether the stressor is good (eustress)  or bad (distress). If you have enough stressors occurring in your life at the same time, the body will suffer the wear and tear. The degree of stress which any stressor will cause is dependent on:

  1. The degree to which the stressor is present. In other words, the more of the stressor, the greater the stress it produces. So, for example, if a small headache causes some stress, a large headache will cause more stress. If a small argument causes a small amount of stress, a big argument will cause more stress.
  2. How the stressor is perceived (different people will view stressors differently). As a result, one stressor might produce distress in one person and eustress in another.

Minor niggles or overwhelming distress? 

How can you treat such a range of ailments? The common denominator in all these ailments is the mind and how the mind perceives the world.  The presenting problem is seldom the problem, it is usually in the perception of the event.

•  Depression• Confidence issues
•  Anxiety• Relationship issues
•  Phobias• Performance anxiety
•  Nervousness• Self Esteem Issues
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder• Anger Management
• Parenting Issues• Addictions
• Health Issues• Procrastination
• Stress/Motivation• Loss
• Feeling overwhelmed• Work issues
• Debilitating fear• Compulsive Behaviours
• Attention Deficit Disorder• Substance Abuse
• Shyness• Extreme Sensitivity
• Panic attacks• Ineffective Goal Setting
• Recovery from Sexual Abuse• Grief

Weighing up the gains and losses

Much of the skill involved in stress management comes down to weighing up the gains and losses. If the gains from attending to a situation outweigh the losses, then the outcome is ‘eustress’. On the other hand, if the losses outweigh the gains, then’distress’ is a likely result. This could be viewed as risk management or cost-benefit analysis. Nevertheless, sometimes there is no escaping loss, threat or harm and coping is required.

  • Keep yourself healthy with good nutrition, exercise and regular relaxation.
  • Understand what situations make you feel stressed.
  • Understand what situations you can and can’t control.
  • Try to do things you like doing and are good at doing every day.
  • Prepare for stressful events in advance, by relating to the future and focusing on your aspirations.
  • Prepare a stress management plan with your medical advisors.

The reality is often hard for many people to accept

Close your eyes and imagine yourself building a better future, what do you see yourself doing and when would you like to do it. When you look at your current reality, do you feel there’s something missing in your life or you’re always waiting for something to arrive? This blog is about helping you have a reality check on your aspirations, http://goo.gl/cOJ7ft. What are your current realities?

Benefiting or gaining from situations may be moderated by your personality and experience, as some are predisposed to negative examples as opposed to positive attributes. It could be that ‘satisfiers’ (those who know when enough is good enough) are more attuned to the gains of their efforts, whereas “maximisers” (those who are constantly concerned that something more is needed or could be better) find the loss to be persistently accessible to their appraisal processes and decision-making.

You have a choice, the fast lane or the slow lane

Eustress and distress are bipolar processes, each regulated by disparate features. In other words, eustress is simply not the lack of distress, but an outcome in and of itself. The point is, coping and exploring work go hand in hand.

speed-causes-stress-ands-kills

Watch your speed in your car and trying to do too much with your business too fast. Speed causes stress, slow down.

Every year thousands of people become terrified because of a major personal health crisis or medical condition that will seriously affect their families, their retirement, their careers and their businesses. It starts when they hear those dreaded words, “cancer, heart attack, or car accident”.

The good news is that these days many people beat the diseases and recover from the car accidents. But when the treatment has concluded the person’s life has changed, their vision has changed as have their priorities. Sometimes their personal and business relationships can disintegrate for no apparent reason following a major health crisis. See the post on “Surviving a major personal health crisis”.  http://goo.gl/0E7Ya2.

Quotable quotes

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plough your anger and your energy into something positive”. Lee Iacocca

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers”. Fred Rogers

(1) Dr Hans Selye, the Canadian scientist who is called the grandfather of stress research.

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