Thursday, August 13, 2009

Do you want to understand your stress?

According to PsychCentral, research studies have indicted that stress associated with every day life activities could be a precursor to heart disease. Today stress occupies a prominent position in the media and our workplaces. Not only can stress have a significant impact on us as individuals it can also impact on all aspects of our lives, our relationships at home, work and socially. Workplace stress for example is 'the harmful physical and emotional response that occurs when there is a poor match between job demands and the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker' (U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).

While dictionaries are able to offer a definition for stress, how each of us experience stress is a unique experience for everyone of us. We all feel the impact of stress differently. So, the challenge in addressing our 'stress' visitor is going to be different for everyone of us.

Before considering points to recognise your 'stress' visitor, first recall the last stress time paid you a visit. Get that event firmly in your mind. Now, consider the following -

  • What is stress to you? If you were to sit down and chat with a friend about stress, how would you describe the 'stress' visitor?

  • How does stress impact upon you? If I was a fly on the wall what would I observe in relation to your behaviour and actions when stressed? Do you yell at people or withdraw from company? Do you drink more, smoke or eat more?

  • When 'stress' visits, how does your body know it's arrived? What type of reaction does your body have, such as headaches or stomach cramps?

If you know your early warning signs, you are going to be better prepared to take action. By being conscious of how your body behaves under stress you will be able to address your 'stress' visitor before it takes up residence, you will be able to close the door in its face. To achieve this it is necessary to have an appreciation of the early signs of your 'stress' visitor, having this you will be able to implement strategies early.

Consider the strategies you have used before to manage your 'stress' visitor. Which strategies worked, even partly? In considering strategies, don't try to find strategies that have worked all the time, consider strategies that have worked some of the time. Now consider why these strategies worked in those situations/circumstances. Look to see how you can leverage these positive outcomes to new situations.

When looking for new strategies or to develop strategy ideas to combat the 'stress' visitor consider you should recognise that you have a pool of resources available to you. These resources include your family, friends, colleagues, the internet, forums, books and other services (such as employee assistance programs).

(c) 2009 Article by Craig Birrell -
This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Australia License.
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