REAL LIFE MANAGEMENT
By Wes Friesen
WHY STRESS ABOUT STRESS? KEYS TO MANAGING STRESS WELL!
tress is an inevitable part of work and life. How well we manage stress will significantly influence our personal success — and the success of our teams. To help us better understand and manage stress, let’s dig into the causes of stress, consequences of stress, and coping mechanisms we can employ. Causes of Stress Stress is a reaction to situations (stressors) where we feel threatened or anxious. There are two major categories of stressors we face: Work Stressors and Life Stressors. Work Stressors: We all know that work can be stressful, and job demands can disrupt one’s work-life balance. Following is a list of common work related stressors: Work demands — being asked to do too much or being asked to do too little Unclear expectations — not knowing what one is expected to do or how work performance is evaluated Role conflicts — feeling unable to satisfy multiple, possibly conflicting performance expectations Ethical dilemmas — being asked to do things that violate law or personal values Interpersonal problems — experiencing bad relationships or working with others we don't get along with Career developments — moving too fast and feeling stretched; moving too slowly and feeling stuck on a plateau Physical work conditions — lack of privacy, too much noise, or other unpleasant working conditions Life Stressors: “Life happens” and can be very stressful from family events (e.g. family member illness), financial difficulties (e.g. loss of income by a spouse), and
JULY-AUGUST 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com
Stress is a reaction to situations (stressors) where we feel threatened or anxious. There are two major categories of stressors we face: Work Stressors and Life Stressors.
relationship struggles (e.g. a separation or divorce). People can also suffer from spillover effects that result when forces in their personal lives spill over to affect them at work or vice-versa. It is often difficult to completely separate work and non-work lives, especially in this age of smart devices that keep us continually in touch with work and personal affairs. Life stressors and spillover effects are highly significant and can affect us and our team members. Consequences of Stress Scholars talk about two types of stress. The first is eustress — constructive stress that results in positive outcomes. It occurs when moderate (not extreme or sustained) stress levels prompt things like increased work effort, greater creativity, and more diligence. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal has a Ted Talk entitled How to Make Stress Your Friend, which speaks to potential benefits of moderate stress. Moderate stress can prepare our bodies for higher performance by breathing faster, which delivers more oxygen to our brains, and releasing adrenaline, which provides energy. The hormone Oxytocin is released, which primes us to do things
that strengthen close relationships. Oxycotin makes us crave physical contact with our friends and family, and enhances compassion and caring. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, helps blood vessels stay relaxed during stress, and helps the heart heal from any stress related damage. The second type of stress is distress — destructive stress that is dysfunctional for the individual. Distress comes from excessive and/or extended stress and is a major cause of physical, mental, and emotional health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, lower immunity, anxiety, and depression. Key symptoms of individuals suffering distress include increased absenteeism, increased tardiness, decreased diligence in work, increased negative attitude, increased resistance to change and less cooperation. Coping Mechanisms Managing stress well is important for us and our teams. Let’s take a look at 10 proven coping mechanisms that we can use for ourselves and others to deal with the stress that comes our way: 1. Take care of ourselves. We all know the basics: Eat healthy, well-balanced
Mailing Systems Technology July/August 2017