In this blog post I am going to give a brief overview of stress and how it can impact your life and the life of the people around you. The ironic thing is that, by some perverse logic, most people believe being continually stressed is somehow normal. It is almost like a badge of honour – to be considered successful in life you must spend a proportion of your life stressed out.
The reality is, not only does stress have the potential to hold you back from achieving your goals, but it can have a profoundly negative impact on your health and it can even ruin your life. A constant state of heightened tension, combined with a lack of sleep, little or no exercise and a poor diet, increases the chances of you contracting many diseases, including serious illnesses like heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, in this and future blog posts we will discuss how to recognize the sources of stress and how to reduce and even eliminate it from your life, leading to a much healthier lifestyle.
Stress can be defined as a condition that results from our attempts to suppress the “fight or flight” response mechanism that was hard wired into our psyche when we were cavemen/cavewomen in the distant past. When certain conditions of modern life trigger a fight or flight response within us, we try to suppress it. This leads to a permanently raised state of alertness, a condition which is stressful to the Human mind and body.
“Good” and “Bad” Stress
Now, not all stress is bad, Good stress can be exciting and invigorating. It helps you to fulfil your potential and it can be a learning experience. On the other hand, bad stress is debilitating, soul-destroying and it can ruin your life. Bad stress is the more common of these two forms of stress. Worse still, bad stress can lead to severe and long-lasting health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, ulcers, skin conditions and a lot more. Stress affects many different parts of the body. And it can be harmful to your kids, too.
Stress in the workplace can be caused by many factors.
- It might Intrinsic to the job
- It could be down to your role in the organisation
- It can be caused by lack of career development
- And it may be symptomatic of your working environment, either physical , psychological or organisational
If you are an entrepreneur you might get stressed over the unpredictability and risk of your lifestyle. There may be problems with your finances, especially cash flow. Or you might find dealing with clients or subcontractors stressful.
You might also be suffering from information overload and not be sure how to sort the wheat from the chaff from all the information you are bombarded with. Or you might be launching a new product or project which brings with it all sorts of different stressful situations. You might find it difficult to maintain a work/life balance, which in itself can be very stressful.
Setting Boundaries to Reduce Stress
Another way to express the idea of setting boundaries to reduce stress is “Learning to say No!” When you learn to say no without feeling guilty, then you reduce your stress burden considerably and you give yourself the same priority as you give to others, so that you have some “me” time in your life and you are not completely at the mercy of other people.
Another way to reduce stress is to stay healthy so that your body deals with stress efficiently. That means taking regular exercise, eating properly and avoiding alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
Finally, when all else fails and you find that you are still having trouble with stress, then you need to seek professional help. This could be making an appointment to see your doctor, visiting a therapist or anyone else you feel can help you deal with the stress.
Remember, your health is the most important thing you have and you don’t want to sacrifice it because of the stressful situations you may find yourself in modern life.