Not one of my favourite songs, but neither is stress one of my favourite states of mind. There’s good stress – when you’re in the zone, getting things done. Thankfully, that’s where I’ve spent the last few weeks. So here’s a quick thank you for all the interest and great feedback we’re getting. But then there’s also the other kind. The stressful stress, the one that makes you ill.
Psychosocial stress can cause and aggravate many health issues such as cardiovascular disease or mental health issues. Additionally, stress can weaken the immune system and disrupt our sleep, see my previous blog post. Once again, the modern work world can be part of the problem. We’re expected to be flexible, mobile, multi-tasking and always on call. In Germany’s official Stressreport, compiled by the National Agency for Occupational Health, more than half of respondents said they often felt under performance pressure. Working overlong hours can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease by almost 40%.
So what stresses us? Science says we are most prone to negative stress when a situation is or seems beyond our control, making us feel helpless. Once again the problem is clueing us in to a potential solution. To not experience negative stress, we need to regain control of our work life and how we perceive it.
If you’re the boss you can help by creating challenging tasks for your team but making sure to give them autonomy how they solve them. Don’t interrupt them and make sure you show your appreciation. Clearly define your expectations and give actionable feedback. Praise a job well done. Financial rewards and a clear career path also help.
If you’re the one who’s stressed make sure to get social support and increase your ability to cope. Learn how to manage your schedule. Reframe your expectations and strengthen your communication skills. Explore meditation or progressive muscle relaxation. Start practicing Thai Chi or Hatha Yoga. And remember that being active, eating well and making sleep a priority will also increase your stress resistance. That’s your virtuous circle right there.
Stay healthy and engaged
P.S: Ariana’s program is holistically designed to get the virtuous circle spinning – get in touch if you want to learn how she does it.