Whether we feel stressed at home, at work or anywhere else, it can leave us feeling exhausted, tense and anxious.
Stress can be defined as a “state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”.
We may feel constantly stressed and the condition isn’t related to anything specific.
Stress is an everyday part of life and in some cases can be helpful to us. It can be a motivating force such as when we are committed to passing an exam or getting promotion at work.
There are some stressors that are difficult to avoid in life such as when we face the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, when we are faced with financial problems or even when getting married.
So why does stress affect me? Stress is the body’s natural defence against predators and danger. It causes the body to flood with hormones that prepare its systems to evade or confront danger. This reaction is commonly refer to this as the fight-or-flight mechanism.
When humans face a challenge or threat, they have a partly physical response.
The body activates resources that help people to either stay and confront the challenge or get to safety as quickly as possible.
If you are affected by stress, you are certainly not alone.
At this present time, the Covid-19 pandemic is placing a range of additional burdens on everyone.
Some of those who previously haven’t been affected are now experiencing stress and anxiety for the first time.
There is no doubt that stress is being experienced by increasing numbers of people in most countries over the world and across most age groups even before the present pandemic.
In Australia 75% of those surveyed admitted that stress in their lives adversely affected their physical health while only 64% said it affected their mental health.
Similar or slightly higher figures have been reported in the USA.
Are the figures accurate, because sometimes people are hesitant to acknowledge that their mental health is affected by stress and don’t seek help for their condition?
It has been estimated that stress could be the cause of around 90% to 95% of ALL illness, which is an alarming figure.
Therefore by being able to control stress now it not only enables you to enjoy more of life each day, but also reduces the likelihood of illness in the future.
Financial worries often top the list of causes of stress, most often tied in with issues in the workplace.
Stress in the, workplace is showing an increasing trend.
The reasons most often cited for this are;
- Unreasonable workload
- Lack of recognition and respect
- Demands exceed knowledge and abilities
- Status and pay
- Working hours
- Lack of support from supervisors and colleagues
- Poor management
Every individual has different stress triggers. It is not uncommon to find that where two people are carrying out similar tasks, one may exhibit signs of stress and the other may thrive.
Good management at the workplace should be able to recognise the signs of stress in the workplace and respond accordingly.
Here are some tips how to manage stress.
- Keep a positive attitude.
- Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
- Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.
- Practice relaxation techniques.
- Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Where possible share your feelings and concerns with those closet to you.
- Learn to say no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life.
- Make time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation.
- Get enough rest and sleep.
- Don’t use alcohol or drugs, to reduce stress.
- Seek out social support. Spend enough time with those you enjoy.
The good news is that you can overcome stress and lead a happier and healthier life.