What is Stress?
Stress is like a runaway train. It can be near impossible to stop. Once it gathers speed the only way to survive is to jump off before it crashes.
But jumping off isn’t risk free either. You could cause damage. Other people are depending on you. And you’ve worked so hard to build everything. If you give up, then you run the risk of losing it all.
They say that stress is the silent killer. Over time, it makes you ill. It affects your body, your heart and your mind. The trouble is that stress is part of being alive. You can’t just switch it off.
Fortunately, there are ways of dealing with stress that are life changing. There are things that you can do to turn stress on it head. It’s just about knowing what works.
What is Work Stress?
A lot of stress comes from the way you work. The job can be too demanding or you seem to have little or no control over the way you work. Maybe your boss is massively unreasonable or someone thinks that it is OK to bully you.
Where you work and who you work with can have a massive impact on your stress levels.
But what happens in your environment isn’t the whole picture. It’s also about what you do to manage your stress. For example, when you get stressed, what do you do? Do you work harder and longer? Do you drink more or smoke? Do you exercise less and eat more?
A study in 2010 in the US showed that 60% of people don’t take very good care of themselves. And when you are stressed you reach for the things you think will make you feel better quickly. The trouble is that these things often make it worse.
Trying to get rid of stress with short-term solutions can lead to:
- Higher anxiety levels
- Losing your temper
- Disturbed sleep
So do you just need to go to bed earlier and start exercising?
There are some simple things that you can do yourself like getting a healthy sleep routine, improving your diet and exercising regularly. These are some of the fundamentals. But that might not be enough.
Thankfully, neuroscience and mindfulness have also provided us with some important answers. And you don’t need a biology degree to understand it. The short of it is that when you are stressed you produce a hormone called cortisol and when you have too much of it you get more confused. You can’t think clearly and you forget things.
When this is happening your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is in overdrive. Your heart beats faster, you get hotter and you might feel breathless. The solution is to learn how to turn it off by getting better at taking an observer perspective.
The latest brain scan technology shows us that practicing mindfulness has an immediate impact on your stress. It is like different parts of your brain come alive. And it’s the good parts too. The parts that make you feel calmer and make it easier to be around people. It might event make you a more compassionate person (2008 & 2013).
If you don’t use it you lose it
Just like you need to use your muscles to keep them, you need to practice mindfulness exercises in order to get better at managing stress in the long-term. If you stop, then the benefits can disappear.
We can teach you to get better at developing your awareness and observation skills. For more information, just fill in the form below. Tell us a bit about how stress is affecting your life and we’ll be in touch to talk about how we can help.
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