Posted on 9th April 2018 at 13:40
So here we are, the last month of 2017 and the stress of Christmas and New Year to be with us soon. We thought it would be a good time to look at stress, its causes and our reactions to it.
A favourite definition of stress here at The Business-Box is that “Stress occurs when someone thinks that the demands on them exceed the personal and social resources that the individual is able to mobilise.” (Richard S. Lazarus).
Our reason for this is it places stress and the ability to manage it straight back within our control.
So what causes stress?
It could be a major life event such as birth, death, marriage, divorce, illness, financial issues or simply a change of any sort that we were not expecting or haven’t felt in control of.
And what about the impact?
Well, from a physical perspective we poison our bodies with increases in adrenalin and cortisol, which, if left unchecked, lead to physical ailments such as high blood pressure, lowered immunity, increased fat storage, anxiety, and weight gain / loss.
The symptoms of stress can actually be split into four categories, emotional e.g. moodiness and irritability, behavioural e.g. unusual sleep patterns such as not having a regular bedtime, body e.g. aches, pains, upset stomachs and mind e.g. inability to concentrate and poor judgement.
So if we are in control of all of this, as Richard Lazarus suggests, because stress is when a person “thinks” that the event or situation is beyond then surely we can manage the stress more effectively.
When we think about the thing that is causing us stress, we have an amazing imagination. We create a whole scenario of how bad “things” could get and what disasters might occur as a result of the particular cause of our stressful thoughts and feelings. What if we could use that imagination to solve the issue instead of creating a disaster movie or drama about it? So, what if we could turn that around into taking positive action to achieve what we wanted from the situation? For example, learning new behaviours, managing our thoughts and feelings more effectively, or even holding courageous conversations with the person or people that are involved in our drama. What would happen to the stress then?
You see, to manage our stress more effectively we need to identify the “personal and/or social resources” we require to overcome whatever issue is at the root of our stress response.
Sometimes we need help to do that and the old adage “a problem shared, is a problem halved” springs to mind. So seeking the help of a personal or business coach could enable you to feel and think much more positively. Someone independent that is in your corner and helping you to find the resources you need to achieve the positive outcomes you want from any situation.
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