April is National Stress Awareness month.
Stress management is essential to our physical and emotional well-being.
- Stress’ purpose
- Prolonged stress is deadly
- Controlling stress
Stress is designed as a protection mechanism to keep us safe.
When we are in a permanent state of stress, the real harm is done.
Both kinds of stress (good and bad) are a gift. They are our brain’s way of signaling us that something needs to change NOW.
Most stress is a learned reaction to FEAR. It is our body’s way of protecting us.
If it is addressed properly, stress can keep us safe.
The problem is that we allow our stress to control us, rather than controlling it.
We feel victimized by stressful situations rather than empowered.
We must remember that most of the things that we fear are learned. If learned, then they can be unlearned.
Understanding this principle will help us to greatly minimize our stress.
Stress is deadly
Starting with the most primitive days, we would release chemicals called hormones when a dangerous situation was detected (for instance, we spot a hungry animal headed our way.)
Hormones would cause physical changes in our bodies that would allow us to change the situation. We breathe more deeply, our hearts pump more blood more quickly, all in preparation to RUN.
As a temporary safety measure, these chemical reactions are great. We need them in order to stay safe.
However, our bodies were not designed to sustain prolonged stress. Maintaining high levels of stress will cause long-term illnesses ranging from hypertension, migraines, heart attacks, ulcers – the list is endless.
It is important for your physical well-being to minimize ALL stress, especially distress.
First of all, while it is probably possible to get rid of all stress (it’s called not giving a rip), it is probably not desirable. Your goal instead should be to minimize UNNECESSARY stress and become proactive in your life.
It provides the extra energy needed to make positive changes in our lives. It is our signal that our present situation is no longer good enough and that it must change NOW.
Eustress produces adrenalin and endorphins and other hormones that give us a “rush” of energy and excitement when moving toward a goal.
Eustress is what allows me to get my work done for my day job while still maintaining my business. It gives me the excitement and energy to keep going.
Without eustress, our lives become dull, uneventful and stagnant.
Eustress is necessary for happiness. Without eustress we become depressed and unhappy.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF EUSTRESS
The way to create eustress is to dream.
Create exciting goals for your life, things that you want to achieve and find ways to work toward those goals each day.
You will become dissatisfied with your present situation and your body will naturally produce those “this must change” hormones and the energy needed to change your life.
Now, a word of caution – too much of a good thing can be counterproductive. If we live in a constant state of euphoria (like when we find car keys under the Christmas tree) we wouldn’t get much done. We must balance even our eustress.
Your sources of stress are NOT beyond your control. You have resigned yourself to believing that you are trapped in the stress and have no way out.
Remember that stress is learned from FEAR. Your current situation is a result of learned fear. It is your interpretation of the situation, not the situation itself that is causing stress.
Become proactive in how you look at situations and you can conquer the fear.
Now, this is by no means easy. Your fear was not learned overnight and will not be conquered overnight. It is a process, a habit to be broken, but you have the POWER to break the habit.
Let’s look at a common stress: your job. Many, many people have very stressful jobs.
Your job is stressing you out because you FEAR.
With the shaky economy, the pressure to keep your job is higher. Many employers take advantage of this situation. You spend 40 hours or more being overworked and psychologically torn apart until you are so drained that you cannot think straight.
The problem is the way you are thinking about your job. You are approaching your employment from a position of FEAR rather than a position of POWER.
You are thinking of your job in terms of WHAT IF – what if they fire me or lay me off? How will I feed my family, how will I pay my bills?
You have released your power to your employer. Take it back immediately.
Turn that WHAT IF around and empower yourself.
WHAT IF you lose your job? Do you qualify for unemployment benefits? Will you be able to cut back on some things in order to make ends meet? Is this the only job you qualify for?
Start your own business
It doesn’t matter what you do, sell Avon, clean houses, “consult.” Begin to create another financial basket to put your eggs in. You now have another way to support yourself, something within your control. The “WHAT IFs” are no longer so powerful once you have another source of income.
Even if you are the perfect employee, can you not get fired or laid off?
OF COURSE YOU CAN so RELAX.
Either way, it is THEIR decision to either retain or terminate you, not yours. You cannot control that decision; all you can do is your best.
Remember, you cannot control others, only yourself. You are causing stress and frustration by thinking that you can somehow control your employer. You cannot.
Focus on the things you CAN control, like your performance. Compete with only yourself, improving on your last best effort.
Have internal confidence, don’t look for external validation.
Prepare a mental plan B for the contingency that you are terminated (unlikely but empowering.)
YOU WILL SURVIVE – once you realize this, your employer no longer has emotional power over you. You have taken back your peace of mind.
Once you realize that you will survive with or without this job, your reactions change immediately. You no longer FEAR and can move confidently. Your job performance will probably improve.
No matter how impossible your supervisors may be, they don’t control your reactions – you do.
Take back your power; do not surrender it to your employer. You have control over your thinking, not them. They can belittle you, overwork you, degrade you, write you up, but they cannot define you without your permission.
My response to them – OK and I continue to improve upon my best performance and set my own goals. I don’t worry about termination – I will survive. (I talked in the halls, too – and chewed gum. SHE was the one who eventually got terminated.)
I do not give them permission to make me sick.
The worst thing that your employer can do is terminate you.
If you are prepared to handle the worst case scenario, there is no need to stress the small stuff.
They are just not that important.
- Moving Across the Balance Beam (http://living4bliss.wordpress.com)
- Messing With Stress (http://living4bliss.wordpress.com)
- How Much Time Are You Giving Yourself (http://goss-coaching.com)
- Take Just a Moment (http://hurdlestohappiness.wordpress.com)
- Fighting Job Burnout (http://philammann.com)
- Single-Tasking Demanded (http://momentmatters.wordpress.com)
- Eliminating Unnecessary Pressure (http://teeceecounsel.wordpress.com)
- What’s the Rush (http://auroramorealist.wordpress.com)
- Easy Does It (http://lifeinharmonyandbalance.wordpress.com)
- Stressed for Success? (scillagrace.com)
- Taming Stress to Control Ulcerative Colitis (everydayhealth.com)
- Keep Stress From Causing an Upset Stomach (everydayhealth.com)
- What is STRESS? (connectingmindbodybreath.wordpress.com)
- I am so Stressed, I am Sick! (georgefebish.wordpress.com)
- Distress – The first mental and emotional cause of cancer (truthsupport.wordpress.com)
- A Little Tip That Can Change Your Life (knowledgeadventures.wordpress.com)