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Stress at work ? The five steps that help to reduce it!

Stress at work ? The five steps that help to reduce it!

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:

  1. 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?”
  2. 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?”
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Follow us on Facebook or link through LinkedIn to be kept informed about the different events or simply contact us for more information. It’s for free and without any obligations.

And if you have friends that are easily stressed, share this information with them.

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It’s February: how far are you with your New Year’s resolutions 2017?

It’s February: how far are you with your New Year’s resolutions 2017?

Blog 1 nex year resolutions

Do you also have New Year’s resolutions every start of a new year?

I think that we are many having this dream to change something important for us at the beginning of a year.

New year = new start … does this sound familiar to you?

These good ideas and intentions we have:

  • I will eat less sugar, drink less alcohol or anything like this
  • I will do more sports and we start to run every second day
  • I will work less to reduce my stress level
  • Do more of this …and less of that …

Most of us start very enthusiastically to change their behaviour in January, go for a run, eat more veggies, refuse the last beer or might even have the courage to subscribe to the gym with the attractive promotion for a “one-year subscription”; mainly thinking “I will hold on for a whole year, yes I can!”.

How far did you get?

We are one month later now and which of your New Year’s Resolutions have survived so far? It’s only you that has the honest answer. But don’t get frustrated if you haven’t got very far. Be aware that you’re not the only one that abandoned already during the first month.

Why do people stop or get stuck?

The question is WYH? Why do most New Year’s resolutions don’t get as far as we would like them to go? To be honest with you. I think, this concept doesn’t really work.

It’s more of a tradition then a real trigger for change. The moment of the year gives us a feeling of “now or never” and you get started. But the motivator isn’t right.

“Tradition” is not strong enough for a person to hold on. In reality, as soon as we have the feeling that the real newness of New Year is over (that means at the latest in February or in other words now) our resolutions already start to weaken if they have not been abandoned yet.

How impactful is your driver for change?

If you really want to change something in your life the most important aspect is that the driver is ‘you’ and not any, from outside coming, influence such as tradition, the word of the others or, even worse, bad consciousness. So, the real question is not “what do you want to change in your life” but rather “where do you want to stand next year”, “how do you want to feel about something, look like next year” or simply “how do you want to be next year”. That means instead of being pushed by an outside stimulus (tradition or “the others”) you need to fix your personal objectives.

You have to be aware that change can only come from your deepest inside. And real change mainly emerges from a crisis. You might have eaten and drunk too much with all the parties of the end of the year but is that “crisis” enough to really modify your behaviour over a longer period of time or even speaking of a lifetime period? If the answer is yes, you might hold on longer. In most cases, I guess, the answer will be no, as long as e.g. no health issues get involved or no positive goal in the future is linked to the motivation.

Often, we emphasize the behaviour we want to change without having a real objective. Actually, the objective is key and is linked to the above questions. Your objective needs to be positive (e.g. it’s not “I want to lose weight” or “I want to stop smoking” but “I want to become a person that feels healthy and full of energy” or you get yourself an event that motivates you “I want to be able to participate in a 10 – 15 – 20 km run or even a marathon this year”).

You need SMARTEC objectives to get there

Besides positive, your objective needs to be SMARTEC. You’ve probably heard of SMART objectives (simple, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited). I add the E for ecological for your system and C for 100% under your control. Positive SMARTEC objectives have the biggest chance to be reached.

The next challenge is to dose your enthusiasm. Most of us start too heavily and rapidly get exhausted by their new behaviour. This happens because 1) our mind-set is programmed on short-term result – remember: New Year only lasts a month and we’re impatient to see the results and 2) emotionally we are not ready. Every bigger change starts with an emotional change. If we do not feel this emotional change, even if it’s only a tiny little change, the chance to succeed is limited.

So allow yourself to go slowly. One step at the time. And reward yourself. Acknowledge your progress but also be aware that you will live with ups and downs. Stagnation or even sometimes regression in a change process is part of it. It becomes a problem when you don’t ask yourself what’s going on, why don’t you progress anymore. And in that case don’t be too hard on yourself but be honest with yourself.

Help!

When you get stuck, not in your New Year’s resolutions but in the real change you want to lead, a coach can help you to reach your objective. With a new view on how to get there, together, hand in hand, a coach can help you to hold on or to get up again and to continue the new path you’ve chosen.

If you recognize yourself in any way in this kind of situation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I’ll support you on your way to a new destination.

In any case, I wish to all of you plenty of success with your projects of 2017. And if you don’t participate in New Year’s resolutions be aware that there are only few of us that don’t want to change anything in their life. And, actually, you can do a first step towards change any day of the year. Don’t wait until the next January 1st.

 

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