What is stress?
In terms of human psychology, the gap between your expectations and your current situations is what leads to stress. When you know there’s a lot to do in life but still, nothing is moving forward, then you are bound to become stressed. It has no certain cause.
Physical consequences of stress
Despite its being a psychological phenomenon, there are many physical consequences. Examples include heart palpitations, aching muscles, and tension headaches.
It is a psychological phenomenon itself.but; long-term stress can still lead to worse psychological symptoms, such as depression.
There are many proven skills that we can use to manage stress. These skills fall into three main groups. They are:
- Action-oriented skills: in which we seek to confront the problem causing the stress, often changing the environment or the situation.
- Emotion-oriented skills: in which we do not have the power to change the situation, but we can manage stress by changing our interpretation of the situation and the way we feel about it.
- Acceptance-oriented skills: where something has happened over which we have no power and no emotional control, and where our focus must be on surviving the stress.
Tools for identifying and managing stress
I have selected a few tools and techniques to help you in identifying and managing day-to-day stress.
- Identifying the source of short-term stress in your life-stress diary
Before you can deal effectively with the stress in your life, you need to identify its key sources. This helps you deal with the most important sources of stress first and separate these from the things that are. The idea behind stress diaries is that, on a regular basis, you record information about the stresses you are experiencing, so that you can analyse these stresses and then manage them.
Stress diaries help you to understand:
- The cause of stress in more detail.
- The levels of stress at which you operate most efficiently.
- How you react to stress, and whether your reactions are appropriate and useful.
- The first step in managing job overload-job analysis
We have all experienced that appalling sense of having far too much work and too little time. We can choose to ignore this and work unreasonably long hours to stay on top of our workload. The risks here are that we become exhausted, that we have so much to do that we do a poor quality job and that we neglect other areas of our life. Each of these can lead to intense stress.
To review the job documentation given to you
- Look at your job description. Identify the key objectives and priorities within it.
- Look at the forms for the periodic performance reviews. These show precisely the behaviours that will be rewarded and, by implication, show those that will be punished.
- Find out what training is available for the role. Ensure that you attend appropriate training so that you know as much as possible about what you need to know.
- Look at incentive schemes to understand the behaviours that this reward.
Job analysis is a five-step technique to:
- Understand and agree how to achieve peak performance in your job.
- Ensure that you and your boss agree on the areas you should concentrate on when time gets tight, and the areas that can be de-emphasised during this time.
- Make sure that you have the resources, training and staff needed to do a good job.
- Performance planning-planning to manage performance stress
We have all, at some point in our lives, felt nervous before an important presentation or performance. We have all experienced the sweaty plans, the increased heart rate, and the sense of agitation as these events approach-felt things spin out of control when things go wrong in the run-up to the event.
List all the physical and mental steps that you need to take to:
- Prepare and check your equipment, and repair or replace it where it does not work.
- Make travel arrangements.
- Pack your equipment and luggage.
- Set up equipment.
- Wait and prepare for your performance.
- Deliver your performance.
Look at each of the remaining contingencies.these will fall into three categories:
- Things you can eliminate by appropriate preparation, including making backup arrangements and acquiring appropriate additional or spare equipment.
- Things you can manage by avoiding unnecessary risk.
- Things you can manage with a pre-prepared action or with an appropriate stress management technique.
- Mental stress management
Sometimes we are not able to change our environment to manage stress-this may be the case where we do not have the power to change a situation, or where we are about to give an important performance. Imagery is a useful skill for relaxing in these situations.
- Physical relaxation techniques-deep breathing, progressive muscular response
Physical relaxation techniques are as effective as mental techniques in reducing stress.
Deep breathing is a simple, but very effective, method.
- Rest, relaxation and sleep
Burnout is something that affects people who are totally committed to the work they do. When these people face a stressful situation, more often than not they respond with complete commitment, working hard at resolving it.