Over this week I will talk about stress - the what, the why, and the how as well as simple ways in which to deal with stress.
It has been said that pressure leads to stress, but does it really?
Pressure, in a workplace context, is usually workload and time-frame, too much work and not enough time to do it in. Pressure is good for you provided you manage it appropriately, your brain likes to be excited and to use as much of it as possible. We can operate effectively under pressure and we get a real buzz when we are productive while under pressure.
Stress on the other hand is bad for you. It used to be that the only cause of stress was real and present danger, i.e. being attacked by an animal. This danger triggered our fight-or-flight response so that we could cope with the danger.
The most common causes of stress these days however is; a hostile boss, angry people, rude customers, stuck in traffic, and a myriad of personal demands such as balancing family activities and other life's challenges.
Research has determined that events which are either uncontrollable or unpredictable cause us the most amount of stress in our modern world. And believe it or not most of it is made up inside your head as your brain tries to figure out what the real and present danger actually is when in reality it isn't there.
The well-known saying - "If you think that you are stressed then you are" - is a reminder that our thoughts cause the fight-or-flight reaction to occur, not the situation itself.
I have heard it said many times, "My boss is stressing me out!" No they aren't, they are putting you under pressure, yelling at you, demeaning you, bullying you, or just being a dick. It's your internal reaction to their external action that causes you to feel under stress.
Therefore, the first technique to control stress, other than to deal with the situation head-on, is to control your thoughts. Change what you tell yourself. Do not 'think' to yourself that you are stressed, you aren't. You are 'busy', you are 'excited', or you are 'challenged'. Tell yourself that it is not you that has the problem, it is the situation that is the problem.
You can only control what you can control so when faced with an uncontrollable or unpredictable situation that you have little or no control over, other than to plan for contingencies as much as possible, is to change your thoughts.
Thoughts do make a difference, so what are you thinking about?