We all have daily pressure however when does it become stress?
Here is a definition:
'when individuals perceive that they cannot adequately cope with the demands being made on them or with threats to their well-being’ (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984).
Pressure is good as it means we get things done, feel motivated but it is when things feel like they are building up that you can perceive that demands are just too much.
Increasing our awareness of how we react to stress is half the battle, much of stress is self-induced, so the good news is we can work on this!
To have a working understanding of what stress is we need to have knowledge of the fight or flight response. The autonomic nervous system is made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic system. It can be thought of as an on and off switch that fires up with perceived threat and turn off to bring the body back into equilibrium when the ‘threat is passed’. If you feel that you are not coping with a stressful scenario, then the body does not go back into 'equilibrium' so stress responses can persist. If the stress response continues over a prolonged period then this can be bad news as a stress related illness is more likely.
So what can we do?
We are all individuals and as such have a variety of responses to stress. We may find ourselves being ratty with others, we may find ourselves drinking more coffee or wine, we may find ourselves imagining the worst when thinking about the situations we are in. So stress management is all about taking charge of your thoughts, emotions, your lifestyle and the way you tackle problems.
Here are some suggestions of ways that can combat those stressors:
-Reducing caffeine, sugar and alcohol is helpful.
-Ensure you get enough sleep.
-Take some quiet time out of your working day for a breather. There is a clear link between being around nature or a green space and wellbeing.
-Challenge any self limiting beliefs - have realistic expectations of yourself. Don't set goals too high to maintain and be wary of perfectionism. Work to the idea of 'being good enough' to reduce stress levels longer term.
-Use your body as a barometer - check how you feel before, during and after the day. Is your neck feeling tight? Are you feeling too cold, too hot? We can be so immersed in what we are doing that tiredness can creep up on us. Stop to check in with your body to see if you need to make changes to your day.
-Manage your time effectively - establish a focus at the start of your day. Plan for 60% of productive time allowing for 40% of eventualities which can throw us off track. Avoid back to back meetings/appointments/schedules that give you no time to properly eat or drink.
-A final tip is to be assertive - state your position when it feels like you have too much on.
If you would like to do more work on reducing the stress in your life Mariposa Coaching offers coaching or a workshop.
Partipants' feedback from previous sessions with Mariposa Coaching included how it had been productive to 'talk and look at triggers' and in particular to 'be able to talk openly and put things into perspective'. Learning about the fight and flight response and how the body works in reaction to 'stressors' was helpful and mapping how stress impacts on the individual with behavioural changes that can be implemented to reduce stress.
I am a qualified trainer since 2000 and have delivered talks and workshops in this area for eco companies and major engineering companies in Bristol. So if you would like me to come into your place of work please get in touch for a quote.
If you feel like you would like to be more assertive to reduce stress in your life then you may wish to book onto my assertiveness skills, confidence & performance or time management workshops. We define your stressors and work on a toolkit of skills to reduce your daily stress. You learn effective strategies to be more productive. Also we work in a relaxing atmosphere!
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I offer 1;1 coaching sessions, which could include stress mapping and developing strategies to improve your performance and wellbeing. I offer a free 30 mins phone consultation so don't hesitate to give me a call on 07811 740580.
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