A stress-less life

How do you achieve a stress-less life?

A stress-less life - blog post about stress

Stress is a major factor in employee under-performance and absenteeism. In today’s economic climate, redundancies are common, and departed employees are often not replaced, increasing the workload of the remaining staff and creating tension and a sense of de-motivation. So, the more a company can do to help their employees deal with pressure, the stronger their overall performance as an organisation.

There is sometimes confusion between the terms pressure and stress. It is healthy and essential that people experience challenges in their lives that cause some degree of pressure. And, to a certain point, an increase in pressure can improve performance and quality of life. However, if pressure becomes excessive, it loses its beneficial effect and becomes harmful and destructive to health.

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.”
– Hans Selye, pioneering endocrinologist

When thinking about the effects of increased pressure, it’s interesting to note that research into who stays healthy while under stress reveals that it isn’t the amount of stress that we are exposed to that matters most, but rather our ability to view increased pressure as a positive challenge to be overcome, rather than an insurmountable obstacle or threat. Building awareness of the point at which a positive pressure becomes unhealthy and stressful is essential in functioning well at home and work and maintaining a sense of happiness and wellbeing.

Dealing with stress requires an action-oriented approach. As said by the 20th century novelist, Phyllis Bottome, “There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them.” The more that people feel in control of their destiny, the greater their resilience to stress and the adverse health effects that can arise.

So here are my top tips for a stress-less life for you and your team…

Self-care  Prioritise yourself and your health. When you’re relaxed and re-charged you’re in a much better position to deal with daily demands at work and home and help others too. So make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthily and get your body moving.

Exercise  Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. For example, a 20-minute walk can yield up to 12 hours of improved mood. Find a physical activity that you enjoy, whether it’s Zumba, cycling or yoga. Perhaps start a run club at work or buddy up to keep you committed. Short on time? Why not make exercise a family activity? Try group activities such as biking, hiking or swimming and get the benefits of the physical activity AND social connection.

Meditate  Taking a few moments to focus on the breath and nothing else is a powerful de-stressing tool that you can do every day. If you’re new to meditation try this free ten day trail.

Family time  The traditions you share with your family are important ways to nurture and express your love for the important people in your life, and to create those fond memories that make you a family.

Write  Dedicating a period of time every day to write about a situation that is bothering you may reduce tension and give you stress relief for the rest of the day. It helps get it out of your head. Keeping a journal can also help you solve problems or find positive angles amongst the stressors.

Socialise  People with a strong social network typically enjoy a greater feeling of wellbeing. Spend time with friends who give you a sense of belonging and connection. Get to know your colleagues. It may be just the de-stressor you need.

Laugh  Laughter is the best medicine. It lowers tension and improves blood flow and the health of your heart. Bring some humour into your interaction with colleagues. Watch some comedy or meet up for a giggle with the girls, and forget about your worries for a while.

Go outside  Regular exposure to the sun for just fifteen minutes a day helps boost the hormones responsible for feeling good and for regulating sleep. Step away from your desk and breathe in some fresh air on a lunchtime walk.

Be thankful  Our experience of life is largely based on our perceptions. If we tend to see the disappointments and flaws, that’s what our mood will reflect. When you turn your attention to what’s good in your life and in your work you create a calming effect. So count your blessings and watch your mood lift.

Whilst we may not always be in control of what life throws at us, we can choose how we react. No one can ever take away our reaction to our experiences in life.

[Note: If you’ve been exercising, socialising, and taking care of yourself and you still have high levels of stress, talk to your doctor. Your tension could be a sign of another health issue.]

 

 

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