Stress, stress, stress, stress, stress! How many times a day do we hear that word nowadays? It has got to be ranked up there as one of the most overused words in the English language. Everyone is talking about stress these days, the young, the old, the rich, the poor, men and women – no one seems to escape its clutches.
Stress is our natural reaction to danger or a perceived threat to our well-being. When our ancestors came face to face with tigers and dangerous wild animals in the jungle, it was stress that saved our skins. How? Well, when we are stressed, a lot of physiological changes occur in our bodies to provide us with extra energy to either attack or run away from the perceived danger. This is known as the “Fight or Flight “response. This extra energy comes from hormones that are released into our bodies, such as insulin and adrenaline. In order to get these hormones to our muscles as quickly as possible, our bodies had to work extra hard as our hearts would be faster, our lung would breathe faster and the capillaries throughout our bodies would constrict. However, these stressful situations tended to last for just a few minutes, allowing the body to recover quickly and return to its normal state.
In the modern world though, stress has taken on a new meaning. We no longer face the threat of wild animals in the jungle, but we do face excessive workloads, deadlines, financial worries and conflicts inside and outside the workplace. I’m sure some of you have also experienced managers that make facing a tiger in nothing but a loincloth and a wooden spear seem a somewhat favourable option! The physiological effects are exactly the same except for one thing – our bodies experience these stressful situations for long periods of time. The result is that our bodies do not have time to recover.
So now you have more of an insight into what stress is, here are 5 Top Tips for eradicating stress permanently at work and home:
- Clarity – Be clear about the things in life that are causing you stress and write them down. This will allow you to lift the burden from your mind and see it more clearly in black and white in front of you.
- Empower yourself – write down solutions to your problem and take action to start changing them. Anything can be fixed, but not without effort.
- Manage your life – Be clear about what you want in life as this will give your mind a direction in which to channel your thoughts. Without goals, the mind will feel agitated, lost, insecure and worry about things that are unlikely to ever happen.
- Accept other people and their differences – When we see a lion, we know that it is dangerous. When we see a sheep we know it is meek and mild. But humans are far more complicated than animals. Learn to accept this fact and realise that not everyone lives by the same social laws as you do and that’s just the way life is.
- Gratitude – Be grateful for what you have. There will always be others with more than us, so don’t compare yourself to them. Instead, contemplate all the things that you do have as you will start to see the positive in everything rather than the negative.