Two out of three employees regularly live stress at work.
That’s a lot!
If you are one of them I can only advise you to continue reading.
Our environment has become very demanding. We always have to work more, harder, quicker, with less means and so on. Technology helps us a lot. Unfortunately, at the same time it requires flexibility and an important capacity to permanently adapt to new situations.
And that, for us humans, is exactly the problem. We are not the best champions to adapt. For different reasons, by the way.
First of all, it’s important to understand what exactly is stress.
Initially, if we look back to the evolution of the human being, stress helped us to react instinctively in life-threatening situations. In times that we lived in caves we mainly were threatened by wild animals. In case we were attacked, we had to save our lives by killing the animal (instead of getting killed) or run away. Sometimes, it also helped to freeze and discourage the animal by not moving.
In any case, stress was meant to appear when our live was in jeopardy and when we had to react quickly during a short period of time in order to survive.
Our environment has changed. Unfortunately, this part of our brain that is responsible for our stress reactions, hasn’t changed that much.
But there is one big difference. In normal life we don’t face wild animals anymore.
So what makes us stress then ?
Actually, it’s our interpretation of external messages that our brain receives and that we transform into thoughts (mainly negative or threatening ones) and emotions (very often emotions of fear or anxiety, mistrust or a perception of aggression). The big difference is that the external event or stimulus does not really threaten our life. Unfortunately, our brain doesn’t see the difference between a real threat (the wild animal) and the threat that we create ourselves through our thoughts and our emotions. The reaction is the same: we produce adrenaline and cortisol to prepare our body to react rapidly. In a certain way, it’s a misinterpretation of our brain with the consequence of an incoherent reaction compared to the initial event.
Incoherence is not the only malfunctioning we suffer from in our times. We are also much too long exposed to this kind of incoherent reaction. Our thoughts never stop compared to the wild animal that got killed or ran away.
This long exposure to stress hormones is extremely harmful to our body and our health.
So, what can we do?
Five tips to reduce your stress level:
- Become conscious about the fact that our brain is misleading us. Ask yourself questions like these:
“I stress, which element is really threatening my life here?”
“What’s really going on with me?”
- Change your viewpoint on the situation: “if I’m not in a life-threatening situation, which other interpretation could I give to what I’m going through now?”
- Accept things that you cannot change or that you cannot influence (e.g. your boss’s personality) and concentrate on the elements that you can change (e.g. what’s happening in your head).
- Look for your interior calm: control your breathing, if necessary, go for a walk, move around. It’s only if you become calm again that you will find a way to get you out of this stress moment.
- And finally, once you’re calm, you will be able again to develop a new vision of things that will allow you to find solutions more easily and react differently, without stress, without smashing doors or getting lost in your emotions.
Easy to say, you probably think now.
In that case, I can assure you that it’s possible to learn. Not from one day to the other, but step by step, slowly but certainly you will become more and more conscious that you have the choice to react differently.
If it doesn’t seem easy to you I can only invite you to let you accompany during this period of personal change and development. You can do so by following one of our webinars or courses or through personal coaching on this topic.
And if you have friends that are easily stressed, share this information with them.