Here’s everything you need to know about stress. Prolonged periods of stress will kill you. And according to the American Psychological Association’s 2017 Report on this issue, more than 60% of Americans are stressed out because of work. Job and work related difficulties consistently rank at the top of the charts as the cause of stress. But, short bursts of stress are not a problem. It’s persistent, unrelenting, chronic stress that will kill you. Not only can it put physical health at risk, stress can kill your mind, body and soul. That should get everyone’s attention.
April is National Stress Awareness Month
In an attempt to help us become more aware of causes and cures for the “stress epidemic”, the Health Resource Network designated April as National Stress Awareness Month and April 16 as National Stress Awareness Day in 1992. More than 25 years later, stress is still one of the most searched terms all over the country, and numerous discussions on social media encouraged by companies like The Marketing Heaven capture the attention of the public. Clearly, we are stressed out! But we digress, let’s get back to how this phenomena can kill you.
Stress, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. It helps to keep us safe and increase our awareness and ability to respond to threats. But, once that threat has passed our bodies adjust and the increased adrenaline and cortisol levels drop and our heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. But, when we are constantly under attack, our bodies don’t have an opportunity to return to our pre-stressed state. That’s called chronic stress.
Prevent These Diseases
According to WebMD, heart disease, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, and asthma are all diseases related to stress. Beyond these diseases, anxiety, headaches, digestive issues, interruption of sleep, weight management, and the ability to concentrate can all be related to our bodies reacting to prolonged periods of a fight or flight response. And to go a step further, prolonged stress wreaks havoc on our immune systems putting even more of our physical health at risk.
Is there any good news in this? Yes! The good news is there are things that you can do to alleviate workplace stress. There are some specific things that we’re worried about at work, but we’ll talk about those in a later post. Today, let’s focus on what we can do to stop the process of being killed by stress.
Here’s what you can do today:
- First you need to become aware of what specifically is stressing you out in your workplace. For the month of April, start keeping a journal about your work day. Not only will you write about meetings, activities, tasks, and the people that you work with; record how you feel about them. Be truthful and transparent with yourself. No need for a filter. This journal is for your eyes only.
- Start to take notice of physical changes that happen around certain events, people, and tasks. Do you feel your heart rate increasing or do you feel yourself becoming hot under the collar? Record exactly how you feel. Then restrain yourself from how you would normally react.
- Work on responding differently in ways that are healthy and not in response to difficult people or situations. Instead of responding directly to the incident that is the cause of your distress, resolve to make a better choice for you life. You could choose to exercise, reignite your passion for a long forgotten hobby, spend time with your family, or even get more sleep.
- Also, if you’ve been thinking about a change in direction because of your workplace situation, you could decide to begin to explore that option more diligently. Though making an actual change may be further down the road, taking the time to explore your options now can give you a better outlook about your future and relieve some of your stress.
Leadership Situations Can Help
Leadership Situations will help you on your journey. We specialize in taking your ideas and making them your reality. Additionally, we will help you sort through where you are and where you want to go. Then we will put you on the path to your destination. You can stay connected throughout the month of April for more tidbits about National Stress Awareness Month by following this blog and joining us in our closed Facebook group: Get Coached. Take Action. Be Accountable. Crush Your Goals. You can also explore our website for FREE resources like ‘How to Survive and Strive with a Micromanager‘ and the ‘Go Get Your Life & Career 5 Day Mini Goals Challenge.’ Then schedule a FREE Discovery Coaching Session to see how quickly we can start working on getting you to happy!
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