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How to be proactive in reducing stress, achieving better results faster

April is Stress Awareness Month, an annual celebration that started in 1992. It aims to inform people about the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies, and harmful misconceptions. (https://stressawarenessmonth.com/)

What is stress?


Stress is part of our lives. The body's natural response to pressure from a particular situation (physical, mental and/or emotional). When dealing with a stressful situation, the body releases hormones.

  • Your heart rate will increase.

  • Your breathing will increase.

  • Your muscle will become tense.

And when your body can't keep up with the stress level, it can take a toll on your health.


Here's a quick breakdown on what are the effects of stress.


1. Stress is harmful to your body


The ongoing stress can cause and exacerbate serious health problems like cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart disease, attacks or even strokes. It can also affect your overall well-being by developing depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.


2. Stress is harmful to your mind


The central nervous system is responsible for the "fight or flight" response. The brain tells the adrenal glands to release stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, increasing your heart rate. Your mind is now on high alert for threats.


When you feel safe due to the ‘threat’ reducing, the brain tells your body to go back to normal and relax. But if your brain fails to go back to normal, the body will be continuously on guard.


If this continues for long periods of time, you will start to feel exhausted and may start suffering from a panic attack, anxiety and burnout.


3. Stress in the Workplace


In research by NIOSH, work-related stress occurs when the job requirements do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. This can lead to poor health and even injury.


https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/default.html


Not all stress is bad! High-stress level can be detrimental, but no or little stress can make them feel bored, inactive and disengaged. Understanding the ‘sweet spot’ of stress is key.


Now the question is - how can you reduce chronic work stress?


Stress is not the same for everyone, and not everyone experiences stress the same way.


In a report by Willis Towers Watsons, younger employees are more impacted by workplace stress than older employees.


50% of Millenials/Generation Y (19-31 years old) and 44% of Generation X (32-45 years old) reports heightened levels of workplace stress, while it is only 35% of the Boomers (46-64 years old).


In the same report, they found out that the stress drivers between the stress drivers of Gen Y is work-life balance. On the other hand, it is the organisation’s characteristics for older employees.

https://www.mindsharepartners.org/mentalhealthatworkreport