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    Stress the silent killer part 2

     

    The 10 point plan for Stress Reduction Ok … So we’ve recognized the signs and it’s official, we’re stressed! Stress affects the whole person - body, mind, feelings, and behavior, and just as symptoms can take many forms, so there are many simple actions that you can take to relieve these symptoms. Learn to Relax Imagine… having relief on tap - something you could experience whenever you need it, something that would remove all the stress from your body and return the sparkle to your mind. How would you feel if you could wake up tomorrow, feeling in control? Well, Happily, you are blessed with a really powerful tool that can remove stress instantly - your body's relaxation response. You can use hypnosis to trigger this wonderful natural effect, which will release hormones and neurotransmitters that flood your body and mind with pure, cleansing relaxation. You owe it to yourself to feel the relief you can have instantly, so learn this technique. Seek out a hypnotherapy DVD or find a hypnotherapist to help you refocus on relaxation and stress relief. Take Action on stress Procrastination is itself a cause of stress, simply making a conscious decision to act upon your situation will bring to you, such a sense of relief that this unpleasant situation is going to change, that you will immediately start to feel some benefit. Eliminate procrastination from your life. Don’t put things off until tomorrow, do them today. Create a “DO IT NOW” mentality. Speak to someone A problem shared is a problem halved, it’s good to talk. Talking it over with a friend or someone who is willing to listen, who wont judge or offer advice, can often help to de-clutter the mind and clarify your perspective and help you to take appropriate action to relieve stress. If you feel uncomfortable talking to someone at first, then write a letter to yourself or to someone else, without posting it, but find a means of getting your true thoughts and feelings down on paper. You can then destroy it if you wish, it’s a form of release, which you can then follow up with a plan to resolve your issues. Change the Dynamic of your situation Don’t be afraid to say NO. If you can learn how to be more assertive, you are more likely to have choices and this will enable you to say what you think and act how you want to. Imagine how much less stressed this will make you feel. Give yourself choices, change the stress factors that you can and strengthen your ability to cope with ones that you cannot change. Be creative, find compromises, Reframe problems and look for solutions that create win-win outcomes. Time Management Time management allows you to plan and organize your life to give yourself more space and opportunity. It involves planning, delegating, setting goals and not wasting any time doing unnecessary things or worrying about things over which you have no control. Be Organized. Prepare for the coming day, the night before. Don’t rely on your memory (it’s the first thing to go when you’re stressed). Write down appointments, to-do lists, directions and shopping lists. Create order out of chaos. Plan your day to give you time to eat and relax afterwards, it will aid your digestion (peptic ulcers aren’t fun). Give yourself more time to do things so that you are not pressured. Get up a little earlier, leave a little earlier for appointments. Do one thing at a time and do it well, focus on the job at hand and forget everything else you have to do. Finally, allow yourself some personal time, everyday, a private moment for peace, quiet and contemplation. Life Management Have an optimistic view of the world. Life only comes once, it's quite short and you have to appreciate what's good in it. See things from a relaxed viewpoint. Learn to live one day at a time and take each day as you find it. Enjoy the moments. Remember that most people are doing the best that they can. Find it within yourself to be tolerant and understanding. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world. Exercise Exercise combats many of the physical and emotional symptoms of stress and can make you feel better about yourself. Exercise can bring about improvements in self-esteem and self-image and increase confidence. When our confidence and esteem are lifted our perception of ourselves changes completely and becomes much more positive. Exercise also releases hormones that affect your mood, creating a more relaxed and positive frame of mind and releasing physical stress from the body. Don’t ignore the mental and emotional aspect of exercise. Giving yourself time out to do something fun simply makes you feel good, so if you’re feeling stressed and unsure about whether to exercise or not, simply remind yourself of how you are going to feel afterwards. Mind and Spirit The following practices may help you to relax and unwind. Explore them and find out what works for you. Relaxation should be part of your daily routine. - Guided relaxation and visualization techniques: obtain a CD or DVD - Meditation: Brings an abundance of calm into your life - Deep breathing techniques: Re-energizes and invigorates - Progressive Muscle Relaxation: deeply, physically relaxing - Massage/ Aromatherapy: Go on, pamper yourself - Yoga; a mixture of meditation and gentle movement and stretching - Shiatsu; Energy balancing and deeply relaxing Other methods and therapies include; Floatation tanks, Reiki, Indian head massage, Thai Chi and Reflexology. Do your research and try a few things and find the treatment most suitable for you. Get Healthy Food is a celebration of life, it’s not just fuel. Take time to enjoy your meals and look after your health by eating a sensible balanced diet. If you need to, create new good eating habits. Ensure that your lifestyle changes to suit your real needs. Eat breakfast to kick-start your day, lay off the coffee and tea (the caffeine doesn’t help you to relax) and if you’re smoking more to help you calm down, they’re bad for you, cut them out. You’ll feel better, believe me. Take a hot bath in the evening to relieve the tension in your body before going to bed and ensure that you get enough sleep. This is essential. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed with more energy and able to function better throughout the day. Remember to Enjoy Life Every day, take time to do something that you enjoy. Find something that makes you smile or laugh out loud. Laughter is the answer to stress, because it’s hard to be stressed and anxious when you’re having fun!

         
    Stress a matter of judgment

     

    Pressure is part and parcel of all work and helps to keep us motivated. But excessive pressure can lead to stress, which undermines performance, is costly to employers and can make people ill. Stress, a matter of judgment In becoming stressed, people must therefore make two main judgments: firstly they must feel threatened by the situation, and secondly they must doubt that their capabilities and resources are sufficient to meet the threat. Damaging Stress How stressed someone feels depends on how much damage they think the situation can do them, and how closely their resources meet the demands of the situation. This sense of threat is rarely physical. It may, for example, involve perceived threats to our social standing, to other people’s opinions of us, to our career prospects or to our own deeply held values. The Immune System's Response to Acute Stress The effect on the immune system from confrontation with the bear is similar to marshaling a defensive line of soldiers to potentially critical areas. 1. The steroid hormones dampen parts of the immune system, so that infection fighters (including important white blood cells) or other immune molecules can be redistributed. 2. These immune-boosting troops are sent to the body's front lines where injury or infection is most likely, such as the skin, the bone marrow, and the lymph nodes. The Acute Response in the Mouth and Throat As the bear gets closer, fluids are diverted from nonessential locations, including the mouth. This causes dryness and difficulty in talking. In addition, stress can cause spasms of the throat muscles, making it difficult to swallow. Relieve your Stress with a Stress Ball! How they benefit you is simple. When you squeeze, the muscles not only contract in your hand, but up your arm as well. Hold the squeeze for a second or two and then release. As your muscles relax, the tension will leave your arms and hands, thereby relieving stress. It’s a great way to take out your frustration. So what are you waiting for? Find out more about how stress ball can benefit you today!

         
    Stress control it change it or let it go

     

    Have you ever tried to control other people? Who gets stressed out? Have you ever tried to control things or events over which you had no control? Do you find that stressful? There are different typed of stressful situations. Some, like people interrupting you all the time, you can control. You can let the interrupters know you are busy and don't have time to talk. Other stresses, like rush hour traffic, are usually beyond your control. But there are some things about rush hour traffic that you can personally change which may help; taking a different route, for example, or traveling at a different time. Of course, these changes are not always possible. In that case, you have to change your attitude about the situation, in order to lessen the stress. You can listen to music or educational tapes or books-on-tape. Rush hour traffic won't seem as frustrating because you'll be doing something to help keep your mind off the traffic and other drivers. In order to let go of commute stress, you have to accept the situation. You must accept that you cannot control the traffic, no matter how much you yell and gesture at other drivers to speed up. A stressful commute can ruin your whole day, don't let it! Accept that, if you are unable to change your route, or your time of travel, you are powerless over everything on the road, with the exception of your car and your attitude. Control your attitude, let go of the traffic, and you can control your stress! You can learn to manage a great deal of your stress by asking looking at each stressor and asking yourself "Can I control it, can I change it, or do I need to learn to let it go? The "control, change, or let go" concept is an important key to stress management. We spend too much time worrying about things over which we have no control that we have no energy left to control the things we can. We become so overwhelmed, that we feel like our whole life is out of control and we'll never catch up. Once you understand the "control, change, or let go" concept and start putting it into practice you will be able to deal much better with stressful situations. So much of our stress comes from trying to control other people, places and things when we simply cannot. We are the ones who end up with the stress and resulting headaches! The people we try to control go home, or simply ignore us, barely giving us a thought. That's why it is so easy to build up resentments against other people in situations or jobs when we don't think we have much control. On the job, it impedes productivity and healthy teamwork. People tend to blame other people. If you are stressed out because of others, it's important to go through the steps of control, change and letting go. Unless you are ready to leave your job, family, or the planet earth, chances are you will continue working or being around the "stressful people." Ask yourself if the other person is actually a "stress carrier," or simply has a different style. Letting go is a process. It takes time, and doesn't always happen at once just because we will it. We have to use our thoughts to control our emotions and our actions. Remind yourself that there are people and events you cannot control. All you can control is your attitude and your reactions. Its possible to change yourself-talk about the situation. Identify which stresses you can control, take appropriate action, and learn to let go of the things you can't. Pick something in your life that stresses you out. Can you control it? If so, what can you do? Can you change it? If so, how? Perhaps you can only change or control a part of it. Do you need to let it go? If so, what can you do in order to let go? You can view life as unexpected and exciting or your can view it as scary because you don't know what the future holds. Take charge; take control or let it go. The choice is yours!

         
    Stress and anger management is not a difficult proposition to achieve

     

    Stress and Anger...Is there anything more required to destroy an individual? In an effort to destroy the opponent, you will destroy yourself! Anger is a mighty weapon of destruction! All your positive faculties are destroyed in an instant - that is the potentiality of the trait called anger. It ebbs within you along with stress and erupts out like a volcano! It is the tsunami of negative human emotions. Even the mighty dam cannot control it. The human history, full of bloodshed is asking a crying question - how to make this world peaceful and beautiful? Eyes full of understanding, heart full of love and the life refusing conflicts - enough, that is enough! Turn the pages of history again. It is the angry Kings, the angry generals, the angry statesmen and politicians who caused the wars and planned the destruction of humanity! Most of the murders were committed in a fit of anger and stress! When you are overstressed, you lose sense of proportion, and anger overtakes you. Within seconds, you commit an act for which you have a lifetime to regret! Do you like an individual with an angry disposition? Never! Would you like to marry an overstressed angry boy? Boy, would you like to marry an overstressed angry girl? Well, I know the answer! Here is an intelligent saying: “Temper is very valuable; do not lose it.” Make a poster out of it, and display it in a prominent place in your office or at your home. Stress and anger management is not a difficult proposition to achieve, provided you have the will power to achieve it. Sit in a quiet corner, and peep into your own self. Analyze your personality. Note 'to do' and 'not to do' things - the 'should have done' and 'should not have done' things. That will be a good start to your initiative to conquer anger. Are you angry with me for daring to tell you something positively about getting angry? I hope you are not. But if you do not follow my humble submissions, I will definitely be angry with you! And you be only stressed! So, for once let me give you the taste of your own medicine!

         
    Stress and anxiety

     

    : Stress and anxiety put people in the hospital every day. It may not be common to go to the doctor to say "I think I have stress," but the National Institutes of Health say that 80% of illnesses are caused by stress, directly or indirectly. Powerful hormones, including adrenalin, are released into your blood when you're stressed and anxious. They cause a rise in blood pressure, a faster heart and breathing rate, and faster conversion of glycogen into glucose. These are all good things if you need to escape a charging grizzly bear. Unfortunately, when these effects are prolonged, as they often are in modern life, the immune system is depressed, and the body suffers other negative changes. Some of the common negative effects of prolonged stress include fatigue, pain in the muscles and joints, depression, anxiety, headache, mental confusion, and irritability. These stress reactions cause your body to use too much energy, which can eventuaLLY result in physical and mental weakness. Stress And Anxiety Relief At Stanford University, an analysis of 146 meditation studies was done. The conclusion was that meditation was not only beneficial at the time of practice, but that it significantly reduced anxiety as a character trait. Most of the studies focused on transcendental meditation, but it's probable most methods have similar results. (Reported in the Journal of Clinical Psychology 45: 957­974, 1989.) In other words, meditation really can help you defend yourself against stress and anxiety. Deeper meditation probably has the most beneficial effects, but what if you're short on time, or uncertain about learning to meditate? No worries. There are two simple techniques you can learn in a few minutes, and start using today. First, there is a breathing meditation. It starts with just closing your eyes, and letting the tension drain from your muscles. Then let go of your thoughts, as much as you can, and breath deeply through your nose, paying attention to your breath. When thoughts and sensations arise, acknowledge them and return your attention to your breath as it goes in and out. That's it. Just do this for five or ten minutes. The second technique is a mindfulness meditation. When you are feeeling stress and anxiety, stop whatever you're doing, and take three deep breaths. Then watch your mind until you identify what is bothering you. Maybe you're worried about something? There could be a letter you need to write, or your neck could be sore. Try to identify every little irritation. Then do something with these stressors. Make a call that's on your mind, take an aspirin, put things on tomorrow's list. Maybe the best you can do is recognise that there's nothing you can do right now - so do that. Take care of each irritation, so you can let it go. Your anxiety will diminish immediately. Practice, and you'll get better at finding what's just below the surface of consciousness, bothering you. Once you address these things, close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and you'll feel more relaxed and able to think clearly. Try it now. It's a powerful way to reduce your stress and anxiety.

         
    Stress and anxiety are probably involved to some extent in a great many of the causes for clients coming for hypnotherapy

     

    Working with clients for hypnotherapy in High Wycombe and surrounding areas I notice that stress and anxiety are everywhere and can cause many problems if ignored. Relaxation exercises, and other stress management techniques can be very helpful in overcoming stress and anxiety caused by everyday life. Self Hypnosis is also very beneficial and hypnosis downloads such as double-powered-hypnosis can be of significant help. Due to a variety of socio-economic conditions, stress has now become more widely recognised by both individuals and employers. People in the UK lose several thousand days of work not to mention great personal anxiety that can lead to marital discord, depression, panic attacks and many other problems. At The Mind Works we offer a comprehensive stress management programme using Hypnotherapy in High Wycombe and around the counrtry for both individuals and corporate clients to help with stress and anxiety in an immediate way and also to offer long term strategies. Effective stress management takes in various therapeutic models and tailors a programme to include not just dealing with the presenting stress but to also help clients to avoid reaching high stress levels in the first place. Hypnosis can help with stress by; • Teaching relaxation techniques and relaxation exercises, thereby developing new ways to relax naturally (the relaxation response instead of the stress response). • Positive thinking can help with panic attacks, anxiety and fears. • Creating an understanding of stress using cognitive techniques and the reasons for stress and addressing those stress factors on different levels giving an understanding of the individual nature of stress and creating positive outcomes for the future. Remember stress and anxiety can cause problems in very clever and unhelpful ways. One of the best ways to combat stress is to exercise but then who wants to exercise when dealing with stress. Although I use Hypnotherapy in High Wycombe I also work with clients around the country and utilize additional therapeutic interventions.

         
    Stress and fatigue top students concerns about exam time

     

    Students across the country are gearing up for year-end exams and standardized tests, in addition to meeting class deadlines and heavy homework loads. Unfortunately, increased pressure for good grades has many students taking the wrong approach when it comes to exam time preparation. According to a survey conducted by The Princeton Review and Wrigley, more than 85 percent of students admit to feeling increased stress and tension at exam time, in many cases leading them to make less healthy choices. Under Pressure Although experiencing a little stress can keep students on their toes, choosing poor stress management techniques can ultimately work against their academic goals. The recent survey revealed students are dealing with exam time pressures by snacking during study time (76 percent), studying with a caffeine buzz (61 percent) and burning the midnight oil (41 percent). The survey also revealed, however, that some students are finding ways to meet the challenges of studying for test time, such as listening to classical music (20 percent) and even chewing gum (37 percent). Of the students who chew gum while studying for exams, 41 percent do so to combat stress and tension and 23 percent to increase focus and concentration. In fact, studies have shown that the act of chewing gum increases blood flow to the brain by 25 percent and appears to improve people's ability to retain and retrieve information. "Chewing gum while performing memory tests can increase memory substantially," says Andrew Scholey, Ph. D., CPsychol, professor, Division of Psychology, and director, Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, University of Northumbria, UK. Stressbusters Study experts at The Princeton Review recommend a few simple tips to help parents and students deal with test-time stress. • Exercise: Exercise can be an excellent way to recharge batteries and reduce stress around exam time. • Care packages: There's nothing like a care package from parents to lighten students' stress and let them know they are rooting for them. Include items such as stress toys, a classical music CD and healthy snacks such as nuts, chewing gum or dried fruit. • Create a calming and productive atmosphere: An effective study area should have good lighting and ventilation, a comfortable chair and space large enough to spread out materials. • Chew gum: The gum experts at Wrigley recommend chewing gum to relieve stress and tension and to help increase focus and concentration during studying and test-taking.

         
    Stress and illness

     

    Jack, 60 years old, is a client of mine. Jack had been in a very difficult, codependent marriage with Stella - a marriage where Jack completely gave himself up in his attempts to avoid Stella’s anger, threats and blame. Jack sought my help regarding extricating himself from this very unhappy relationship and was finally able to end the marriage. Subsequently, Jack sent me the following email: “Hi Margaret, I hope all is going well with you. I thought you might be interested in a health change I have noticed. In my last year of marriage to Stella I started having pressure in my chest when I started exercising. I went to several cardiologists. I felt the first one was an alarmist. He wanted to do an angiogram immediately and he wanted permission to do angioplasty at the same time if necessary. I told him that I would get back to him. I immediately went on a better exercise program and took additional supplements for my heart. Over a period of several months I visited three other cardiologists. A very well respected cardiologist had the great idea of doing another stress test on me. When he finished the stress test he said he did not see any reason to do anything different that what I was doing. The pressure I was feeling was still there at the start of exercise but it would go away as I continued to exercise. “On December 31, 2005 I made my last support payment to Stella. I have not felt any pressure in my chest since then at the start of exercising or any other time. I actually feel an upward shift in my energy level. I know that stress has a lot to do with health and with the last payment I must have released a lot of stress. “I am interested to hear your opinion about this. Stress can be so silent that I do not know if I am always aware of it.” I responded to Jack, telling him that recent research indicates that stress may be behind at least 90% of illness. Currently, Jack is in a loving relationship with Andrea, but even that relationship did not stop the stress until his last support payment to Stella. Yet Jack did not realize that the heart pain was related to his stress. Too often, when we have physical problems, we seek a purely physical answer. Yet if stress is the underlying cause of 90% of illness, it is very important to open to learning about the fact that we might be stressed and about what is causing the stress. If Jack had realized that his heart pain was stress-related, he might have been able to go inside and discover what was really causing the stress. On the surface, it appeared to be his fear of Stella’s anger and the fact that he still owed her money. But if Jack were to look deeper, he might discover some false beliefs that were actually causing the stress – beliefs such as: • I am responsible for Stella’s unhappy feelings. We cause our own feelings with our thoughts. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for another’s feelings. • It is not fair that I have to continue to pay Stella money. Jack made choices that led to this outcome. He is responsible for the choices he made. • It is my fault that things did not work out with Stella. Jack is responsible for his choices, but not for Stella’s choices. Thinking something is all our fault is a way of convincing ourselves that we have more control than we actually have over other’s choices. • I will not be able to make enough money to take care of myself. Jack does well financially, but often stresses over money. • As long as I owe Stella money, she will be able to control me. Jack frequently gives his power away to others due to his trying to control them through pleasing, and then fears being controlled by them. • I have to give myself up to Stella to control how she feels about me and treats me. Jack caused himself stress by trying to control something that he has no control over. There is a good possibility that if Jack had explored his beliefs and come into truth with himself, his stress would have decreased long ago. Much of Jack’s stress was being caused by trying to control something that he had no control over. All of us can learn from Jack’s experience. We all have the opportunity to continue to monitor our stress and continue to look at the false beliefs and resulting behavior that are the primary underlying causes of stress.

         
    Stress and its management

     

    : Stress can be defined as the non-specific response of the body to any demands made upon it. In other words is the interaction between the coping skills of the individual and its environment. When talking about stress, the first question that comes to my mind is, what causes stress? Well, there are 2 factors that cause stress. At first, is a stressor, and second is what we call the stress-reactivity. A stressor is any stimulus which has the potential of trigging flight or fight response. Stressors are those, for which our body is evolutionary trained, when there was a threat to our safety, consider the example, the cavemen who saw a lion looking for its next meal, had to react quickly. Cavemen, who were not strong enough or fast enough, didn't have to worry about their next threat.

    They become meal for the lion, so the flight or fight response was necessary, and its rapidity was vital for survival. Modern day men and women also react to stressors with the same response, for example, when you step off a curb, not noticing a car coming down the street, you hear the car's horn, you quickly jump back on the curb. Your heart beats faster, breathing changes, you perspire. These are all manifestations of your response to the stressor, which is the threat of being hit by the car. We encounter different types of stressors. There are environmental stressors like heat, cold, toxins.

    Some psychological stressors like threat to self-esteem, depression. And other sociological stressors like death of a loved one, unemployment and then there are other philosophical stressors like use of time and purpose of life. We encounter stressors everyday and in every walk of life. The flight or fight response to a stressor is termed as stress reactivity. It includes increase in muscle tension, heart rate, elevated blood pressure, less saliva in mouth, etc. these reactions prepare us for swift response.

    When we buildup stress products and do not use them, this stress reaction becomes unhealthy. Some stress is natural and necessary part of life. It is inevitable and also desirable.

    At low level of stress arousal you are not motivated to try very hard so you don't perform well. At another extreme, too high level of stress arousal disrupts your performance on all your tasks. Hans Selye (a researcher in stress) summarized stress reactivity as a three stage process termed as General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). Phase 1: alarm reaction - the body shows the changes characteristic of the first exposure to the stressor. A burst of energy is made available to you. Phase 2: stage of resistance - resistance ensues if continued exposure to the stressor is compatible with the adaptation. The bodily signs of alarm reaction have virtually disappeared, and resistance rises above normal. Phase 3: stage of exhaustion - following long continued exposure to the same stressor, the adaptation energy is exhausted. The similar symptoms of alarm reaction reappear, but now they are irreversible and this could be fatal. Stress has many effects on our health. If not given proper attention could lead to hypertension, stroke, ulcers, migraine headaches, coronary heart disease, tension headaches, asthma, hay fever to name a few. Have you ever noticed that some people are more prone to stress than other. Some people tend to react to stressors with an all-out physiological reaction that takes a toll on their health. We call these people as hot reactors if you notice people who get angry easily, are often anxious or depressed, urinate frequently, experience constipation or diarrhea more than usual, experience vomiting or nausea, there is a good chance they are hot reactors. People who are perfectionist, obsessive compulsive, etc. are more prone to stress. The management of the five components of stress in the way to reduce stress: 1) Changing stressors: Identify the regular or predictable stressors in your lifemonly they are job, relationships, and unreasonable demands. You can change the stressor, quit it, improve it, or tolerate it. 2) Changing your physiological responses: Life style modifications, healthy diet, relaxation, exercise.

    3) Changing behavior: An important part of managing stress effectively involves changing your behavior so as to replace old, stress increasing and self defeating behaviors with more successful behaviors. 4) Changing your perception: Interpretation of your situation as a threat makes it a stressor for you. Your expectation whether or not you will be able to cope with it influences your level of stress and your expectations of your not coping also influences your levels of stress. 5) Changing your feelings: How you think is how you feel. Learn to handle your bad feelings. Denying your feelings and pretending they don't exist will only make things worse.

    These are just a few suggestions understand and start working on the stressors you feel in your life. Rare is a person who doesn't experience any stress. The first step is to be aware.

    Observe and introspect to identity the stressors in your life. As a starting point think of all the stressors in your life and the level of stress they bring to you.

         
    Stress and work life balance

     

    Technically stress is the adverse reaction an individual has to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them. In the workplace, the negative, damaging, effects of stress can arise at times when pressures are extreme, such as peak busy periods, but equally can be caused by continuous exposure to stressful conditions, such as being in an unsuitable job or being treated unfairly. Outside work, negative stress can be caused by major change events, such as a death in the family, but equally by continuous pressure of having a life constrained or dominated by the work situation. Stress is personal in that stress affects individuals in different ways. In similar situations or conditions some people cope, even thrive, on the pressure, whilst others find it difficult to cope and suffer negative stress as a result. It is also personal in the sense that the amount of control that the individual has, over their workplace conditions, events, and work-life balance, will influence the amount of negative stress that they suffer from. Those individuals with greater control will tolerate and manage stress levels, or avoid them altogether, more successfully. Work-life balance is, literally, balancing the demands, the amount of time and effort, given to work and the workplace, and that given to the individual’s domestic, personal, family, and social life. A vital factor in achieving an appropriate work-life balance is ensuring that the work element does not dominate, and-or that it is not causing damage to the individual through the effects of negative stress. It is most unusual to find people with a work-life balance that is dominated negatively by their life outside the workplace. It is almost always the workplace activity that dominates and often negatively. For professionals undertaking personal and career development activities, the positive activity of personal development must be actively managed in order to ensure that it does not have a negative effect on stress levels and cause damage to the individual’s work-life balance. The increased awareness of the importance of managing stress and work-life balance effectively has given rise to approaches such as time management, managing stress, achieving work-life balance, managing personal development, and related approaches such as coaching and mentoring. The tools and techniques within these approaches are valuable in helping individuals to manage stress and work-life balance more successfully. All of these are worth exploring in more depth. However, here we will focus on simple, well established actions that any individual can take themselves. There are some well established, simple to implement, approaches that will help to reduce the effects of negative stress and help to maintain an appropriate work-life balance. These include: Recognising the symptoms that will alert you to the fact that you may be under stressmonly experienced symptoms are: Poor health - headaches, upset stomach, sleep problems, change in appetite, tense muscles, indigestion, exhaustion, stomach, intestinal and skin problems, and heart attacks (extreme but not uncommon in severe cases); Personal behaviour - constantly worrying, irritated, feeling depressed, unable to cope and make decisions, being less creative, excessive smoking, excessive use of alcohol, not sleeping; Unsatisfactory work situation - low job satisfaction, poor relationships with colleagues, focusing on unproductive tasks, deadlines missed, performance level falling, opportunities missed, poor appraisal outcomes, feeling de-motivated; Personal life:stopping social activities, being irritated and argumentative with family and friends, personal relationships deteriorating. Many of these symptoms can be experienced in normal life, but become symptoms of stress when several are experienced at the same time, or when there is no obvious cause, or when one or more symptom becomes overwhelming. We need to remember, however, that whilst the symptoms often are more visible, and potentially damaging, in the workplace, they are not necessarily caused by workplace pressures. Many are, but not all and not always. Identifying the sources in the workplace: As individuals working in a business world that is continuously changing at an ever-increasing pace, we need to be adaptable and flexible. In order to avoid negative stress we need to be aware of, prepared for, and able to manage, the impact of: time pressures; demanding deadlines; increasing complex relationships with others; peaks and troughs of too much or too little work; multiple, overlapping business or work changes; threats of redundancy or unwanted job change; pressure from senior managers; unfair or discriminatory actions of management; travel pressures; increases in performance expectations; more visible scrutiny through technology and surveillance; requirements to undertake continuous personal professional development activities. Identifying the sources in life outside work: Outside the workplace there are regularly occurring events and pressures that are a normal part of our lives, but which can be either a source of stress, or satisfaction, or both. These include: death of friend or family member; a relationship breakdown leading to separation or divorce; personal or family member injury; moving house; taking on large financial commitments such as for a mortgage; holiday periods where personal relationships are refreshed and renewed, or put under intense pressure; giving up a habit such as smoking; the birth of a child; getting married; and so on. Knowing what your natural response will be: Individuals adapt and adjust to external pressures in different ways, depending on their personality type. The range of types is very wide, but two broad bands of personality type have been identified. Type "A" people are described as competitive, aggressive or hasty, whilst Type "B" people behave in a passive, non-competitive, slow to react way. Type "A" people tend to pass on stress to others, Type "B" tend to internalise the effects of stress. Whilst these are established, proven categories that most people fall into, other factors, such as age, gender, health, financial situation and access to support will strongly influence the response to causes of stress, regardless of personality traits. Knowing your personality type can be helpful, but can only play a small part in managing stress successfully. Identifying strategies and actions that will help you to cope: As we have seen, individuals react differently to stress, so each of us will need to adopt different coping strategies. The following are well established, proven actions and strategies for managing stress and achieving work-life balance: be aware of your own weakness and strengths; understanding and accepting that certain things cannot be avoided or changed; taking action to reduce or remove the pressure; breaking down problems into smaller parts and setting targets to tackle each part in sequence; implementing personal time management techniques; replacing negative relationships with positive, supportive relationships; adopting a healthy living style; develop outside work interests, such as hobby, educational, social or sporting activity; undertaking positive professional career development activity; seeking advice and support from others, including professionals if appropriate; accepting that managing stress and work-life balance is a permanent continuous activity. Corporate support mechanisms: Some organisations have recognised that stress and work-life balance are issues that need to be supported by corporate action. Individuals in these organisations should, where appropriate, take advantage of support mechanisms such as: Flexible working hours: allowing employees to organise working hours to accommodate important aspects of their home lives; Self managed teams:where teams work out their own hours, responding to each others’ needs; Using a buddy system:pairing with a colleague to provide cover for each other, enabling each to take time off when necessary, knowing that their buddy will take over their duties and responsibilities; Flexible locations:working from different locations, or from home, either regularly or occasionally, to help with family responsibilities and reduce or eliminate commuting time; Special leave availability: such as paid or unpaid leave, to give time to cope with personal crises and emergencies, without using formal holiday allowance; Career breaks:for study or research sabbaticals, travel, family commitments, or voluntary work; Health programmes - offer counselling and advice, for a range of issues; Private health insurance; Fitness programmes and gymnasium membership subsidies; Childcare/eldercare facilities or subsidies:workplace nursery or subsidised places in local nurseries or nursing homes. All of these are highly valuable support opportunities, which, if available, should be taken when needed. For most managers and specialists, in all sectors of business today it is an essential requirement, that professionals undertake courses in management development, or in specialist disciplines such as quality management, project management, accountancy, human resources, or marketing. The objective of this activity, from the individual’s point of view, is usually to obtain higher financial rewards, higher status, increased job security, and-or to increased opportunities and career choice. From the organisation’s point of view it is rightly aimed at improving the knowledge, understanding, skills, and ultimately the performance of the individual and the workforce collectively. The impact on the individual, regardless of these contrasting objectives, is that work-life balance is affected, pressure will rise and will need to be managed to avoid this resulting in negative stress. For any individual undertaking professional development activity, especially those studying at home, in part or in full, it is essential that this is recognised as a potential source of negative stress, and that the individual builds the monitoring and control of this pressure into their development plans. In order to manage stress and to achieve a satisfactory work-life balance, it is necessary to avoid the most common pitfalls that professionals encounter. These include: Believing that suffering from stress is a weakness, it is not, but positive, corrective action is needed to redress the situation. Allowing yourself to suffer from stress and an out of balance work-life equilibrium, when simple, easy to apply solutions are at hand, is a weakness; Keeping stress to yourself is the best approach, it is not. All the evidence shows that seeking advice and support is the key to reducing and eliminating negative stress and restoring an appropriate work-life balance; Assuming that others are to blame for your stress and the imbalance between your work and your outside work life, they may be the causes, but you are responsible for allowing the negative situation to continue; Cutting back or eliminating social, sporting, or personal interests activity is the answer to restoring a work-life balance, it is not, because these are essential positive elements necessary to achieve a healthy work-life balance and a relatively stress free life; Ignoring the warning signs, these are easy to identify, if not by you then others will see them; Not identifying the sources of stress and reasons for imbalance, a simple analysis of your situation, perhaps with some help from a professional advisor, colleague, partner, or friend, will identify the main causes of your problems; Not looking after yourself in terms of health and happiness, if you are unhealthy, unfit, or in an unhappy relationship, or not in any relationship and are lonely and isolated, you will find it difficult to manage stress and your work-life balance effectively; Believing that there is a single solution to your negative stress and work-life imbalance problems, there is not. You need to take a holistic approach to managing your life, at work, at home, and socially. This encompasses your work, your aspirations, your personal development, your fitness, your lifestyle, your health, your relationships, your general attitude to life, everything that makes you an individual, a unique person. This has been a first look at the links between workplace stress and work-life balance, and has been specifically aimed at those professionals who are adding to the pressures of workplace and home life by taking on professional development activities. Continuous personal professional development, for managers, professionals, and specialists, in all sectors is essential. Even entrepreneurs and those leaving organisations to be self-employed risk being overwhelmed by workload and pressures from work-related activities. The solution to avoiding the negative effects of stress, and maintaining an appropriate work-life balance, when taking on additional personal development workload, are the same for those in organisations. You will need to be aware of the dangers, be alert to the symptoms, put in place defensive mechanisms, and then pro-actively manage your work life and personal life in a way that protects you from the dangers of negative stress and enables you to maintain a healthy and satisfying work-life balance.

         
    Stress less

     

    STRESS. "Yes, the S word'. Stress is the 'wear and tear' our bodies experience as we adjust to our constantly changing environment. Stress has both physical and emotional effects on us and can it can create positive or negative feelings. As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action; it can result in a new consciousness and an exciting new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, insomnia, ulcers and other health problems. As you can see, as we adjust to different situations, stress can either help or hinder us depending on how we react to it. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you shouldn't let things concern you but what I do what to say is that you can slowly begin to reduce the stress in your life. As women, we wear many hats and as moms, our hat racks are overflowing. Be sure to recognize stressful situations and take a notice of how you deal with them both mentally and physically. You remember that saying? If mama' ain't happy, nobody is happy? Well, I tend to agree with it so I am very conscience of the stressful situations that I am confronted with and I am sure to time off when I can to replenish my mind, body, and spirit. Sit back, relax, and see if you can apply some or all of the action steps below into your life and begin on the road to less stress. Write it down. Write down goals, errands, chores, due dates etc and instead of creating just a "To Do" list, keep a "Have Done" list too. Move things from your To Do list to the Have Done list after having completed them. At the end of the day, review how productive you were. Express yourself. Unloading your worries and concerns is a terrific way to clear your mind and reduce stress. It's very important not to keep everything inside so try finding a friend or a professional whom you can talk to. You can also write your feelings down in a journal. Moving things out of your head and onto paper can help you release a lot of the inner turmoil you may feeling. Don't avoid. If there's something in your life that's causing you to worry; seek out things that will help you feel in control. For instance, if you're suffering from financial problems, try read some books on gaining control of your financial life or seek the help of a financial planner. Drink some orange juice. Scientists have discovered that vitamin C can reduce the production of stress hormones. Try Eating an orange, drinking some juice, taking a Vitamin C supplement. Here are a few foods that are rich in vitamin C: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, grapefruit and cantaloupe. Exercise. Studies have shown that taking a brief 10 minute walk during intense times will increase the amount of oxygen to your brain, allowing you to think more clearly and ultimately helping you to make better decisions. Give yourself a license to be imperfect. No one is perfect. Give yourself a break. Try to reach a healthy balance between what really needs to be done now and what can wait. Also give yourself permission to ask others for help when you need it. Adjustments. Let's face it -- there comes a time when we have to make adjustments. Try to identify your stressors and adjust yourself so that you react differently to them.

         
    Stress less and relieve tension in your mind and body

     

    Do you ever get the feeling that you just cant think straight any longer? That your ability to concentrate has just disappeared? That your brain has somehow reached overload and your thought processes have ground to a halt? You’re tired and irritable! Perhaps your neck feels stiff and your shoulders and muscles are tight, and your head aches! Does all this seem familiar? We all know stress - it’s part of life! Pressure is a form of stress and we use it every day, at work and in our daily lives. We apply pressure to ourselves, or it is applied to us, when we set time frames and objectives for projects, goals and ambitions. Without pressure and stress we would simply get nothing done, we wouldn’t achieve anything! Stress is good when it invigorates your life and challenges you to reach the limits of your potential. Stress can be bad however, when it reaches a level beyond which you feel in control any longer. Stress then becomes counter productive and a destructive force in your life. When you find yourself tense, tired and uncomfortable. When worry about problems or situations causes tension, insomnia, depression and other physical and psychological problems. Bad Stress also affects your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness, pain and headaches, but if you know how, you don’t have to allow that to happen anymore! Imagine… having relief on tap, something you could experience whenever you need it, something that would remove all the stress from your body and return the sparkle to your mind. How would you feel if you could wake up tomorrow, feeling in control? Well, Happily, you are blessed with a really powerful tool that can remove stress instantly - your body's relaxation response. Using hypnosis to trigger this wonderful natural effect will release hormones and neurotransmitters that flood your body and mind with pure, cleansing relaxation. You owe it to yourself to feel the relief you can have instantly. Stress causes many physical and psychological problems that can be relieved through hypnotherapy. Hypnosis changes the way you think and moves you forward into a new perspective. Most people feel better immediately and stop their self-defeating thought processes. When you discover how easy it is to resolve these issues with Hypnotherapy, you will be amazed. Some people say it feels like magic because it is so easy to make powerful changes. Hypnotherapy simply allows you to access the resources you already have in your subconscious mind. It moves your mind and body into a different state, where your emotions and hormonal balance will help you feel better. This will enable your subconscious mind to access new, more relaxed, more uplifting emotions. You will enjoy deep, peaceful relaxation, allowing the feelings of tension and stress to just drift away from you. You will be left feeling recharged and energised. A hypnosis session for change won’t just help you to “chill out”; it could be the single most important thing that forever determines your ability to feel Relaxed and calm, even under the most stressful of situations! Learn to recognise the signs that stress is starting to build up and be prepared to act quickly on the problems causing this, because problems seem to grow in intensity if they are not dealt with. The relief will be instant and you’ll be glad that you did. It’s important to realise that you always have choices and learning how to properly manage stress will make you a happier person and really will improve your life. Believe in yourself and in the power of your mind. Using Hypnosis to trigger your natural relaxation response is an effective method of dealing with stress from which you cannot get relief through any other methods. This will help you cope with ordinary and extraordinary levels of stress and enable you to live a happier healthier life. Imagine how good it will feel to wake up the next day feeling in control, feeling strong, feeling free, and feeling optimistic and excited about the future… Let your mind go free and your body will follow!

         
    Stress management

     

    Have you ever said the words, "This job/my life is so stressful!" Or something else along those lines? Most people believe that stress is something that happens in their lives. They believe it is the result of outside circumstances beyond their control. We are stressed if our work is too difficult. We get stressed when people in our lives aren’t doing what we want them to do. We are stressed when it’s been too long since a vacation. We get stress over deaths, weddings, major purchases and a host of other things. We talk as if stress is something outside ourselves---a condition of things in our external environment. It's not. Health professionals will tell us that stress is a contributing factor in many physical ailments---heart attacks, asthma, high blood pressure, stroke and many others. There are several diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV, the diagnostic tool of therapists and psychiatrists that describe many stress-related disorders. Stress is a killer. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to handle stress better than others do? One individual may have all the life circumstances purported to cause stress in one’s life but seem to be just breezing through his or her day, seemingly without a care, while another person gets a flat tire on the way to work and has a total melt down. How can this be explained? I intend to look at stress from a different perspective---a choice theory perspective. According to Choice Theory, all behavior is purposeful. This means that no matter what we do it is a purposeful attempt to get something we want. We are never simply responding to outside stimuli. You may ask, “What about when I flinch when I hear a loud noise?” The flinching is not a response to the noise, but rather your proactive way of staying safe. This may seem like I’m splitting hairs, but it is an important distinction to understand in this discussion of stress. Let me give you another example. You may think you get mad at your child for not cleaning his or her room after you asked several times. It sure feels as if the anger is in direct response to your child’s behavior. However, your anger is actually your best attempt to get your child to do what you want. By displaying angry behavior, it is your belief that your child will go ahead and clean up his or her room. Any behavior or emotion we employ is a proactive, sometimes conscious sometimes not, attempt to get something we want, not a response to external stimuli. The same is true for stress. We are choosing stress as a proactive attempt to get something we want. This choice is almost never conscious, but I want it to become conscious for you. Once it is conscious, then you have the power to choose to do it differently if you so desire. Since all behavior is purposeful, it helps to understand what possible benefits or purposes one could achieve by stressing. Who would ever choose that behavior for any benefit? I say stressing can be motivating. Many of us perform at our peak level when we have that adrenalin rush moving through our veins. Anyone who has ever waited until the last minute to study for a test or complete a project knows what I’m talking about here. Stressing can also be a way of telling others they better back off. I know when I felt stress, it was my unconscious goal to let my boss know she had better not ask me to do one more thing or I just might lose it! I would send out signals of overwhelm---lots of sighing, threatening looks, irritability, loss of humor. I have to admit that since I didn’t do it very often, it was quite effective. Whenever I was stressed, my boss generally left me alone to do my work. Stressing can also get us the help we need. When the message is out there, others may rally around us to support us. People may actually offer to do some things for us so we can reduce the overwhelm. Another possible benefit is that stressing can provide us with recognition. People may say, "Wow, look at _____________. I don't know how he/she gets all that done. It's amazing!" There are some who appreciate this positive recognition. One final thought on stressing benefits. . . When we stress long enough, we may develop physical symptoms. In Choice Theory, Dr. Glasser tells us that are behavior is total, meaning it is comprised of four inseparable component---the action, our thoughts, our feelings and the physiology of our body or whatever our body is doing at that moment. When we don’t take care of managing our stress levels, our physiology takes over and creates physical symptoms for us. Now remember, I said all behavior is purposeful and physiology is a part of the total behavior. Do you understand the purpose of the physical symptoms that accompany prolonged stress? Of course, it is our body’s way of telling us we have to stop or slow down. It produces the physical symptoms that are hard to ignore. When we attend to them, we get the rest we need and therefore reduce the stress. Can you see how all behavior is purposeful? If you are experiencing the effects of stress in your life, I am not suggesting that you are to blame. What I am saying is that up until this point, you have been doing absolutely the best you know how, consciously or unconsciously to get something you want by stressing. If you can pinpoint what the benefit(s) of stress is/are to you, then you can look at ways to get what you need without having to stress.

         
    Stress management 10 practical steps

     

    The World Health Organization calls stress "the health epidemic of the 21st century." Stress resulting in illness is the causative factor underlying more than 70% of all visits to the family doctor, medical doctors suggest. What is stress? We all talk about it but what does 'stress' mean and how does it affect our bodies? Dr. Hans Selye, who first noted and described the concept of stress, defines stress as "the non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it." Stress is neither good nor bad. The effect of the stress is not determined by the stress itself, rather it is determined by how we handle the stress. Effects of Stress 1. "Emergency Response" The emergency response mechanism activates with a physiological change when people believe they are in physical or mortal danger. Pupils dilate, blood pressure increases, and the production of stress hormones increase. The body prepares within seconds to respond, which is known as the 'fight or flight' syndrome. The adrenal glands pour out adrenaline and the production of other hormones is increased by the quickly reacting pituitary-adrenal-cortical system of the brain. This is a healthy, adaptive response to immediate danger but if continually activated, this emergency response may cause a constantly higher-than-normal level of hormone production that can eventually cause physical wear-and-tear on the body. Health problems related to this constant high level of response include hypertension, headaches, ulcers, heart disease, and increased vulnerability to diabetes and colitis. 2. "General Adaptation Syndrome" In studies, Selye came to believe that diseases of adaptation such as hypertension could be produced by abnormal or excessive reaction to stress. The body would increase its supply of hormones in order to be ready for action to stress. Over a prolonged period of time, excessive stress leads to distress and the accompanying physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health problems. Contributing factors to distress include a) your attitude to life and b) your mood (optimistic or pessimistic). Both help to create the atmosphere that assists your defence system in repairing small wounds, bruises, and infections. This is also the system that tries to destroy strange cells such as those of cancer, including leukaemia. In mastering stress, you have to figure out what you are doing that contributes to your problem/challenge and change it. The four categories of change include: change your behaviour, change your thinking, change your lifestyle choices, and/or change the situations you are in. Symptoms of overstress include fatigue, aches and pains, anxiety, problems sleeping, depression, and lack of joy in your life Practical Steps to Stress Management and Creating Balance 1. Make your life regular like 'clock work.' Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. 2. Give yourself a break today. 3. Say 'No' more often when other people want your time. This includes social engagements, the family dinner on Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. 4. Postpone making any changes in your living environment if you have been coping with undue stress. Change of any kind is stressful and limiting it until later is a good strategy if you are under a lot of pressure. 5. Reduce the number of hours you spend at work or school. If you are a work-a-holic or school-a-holic you need to reduce the energy drain on your body. TAKE SOME TIME OFF. 6. Nutritional eating habits and eating small meals helps to keep your blood sugar stabilised. Many people reach for something high in sugar content when feeling stressed which compounds the problem. Eat more vegetables. 7. Rest your mind, as mind activities alleviate stress. These mind activities include reading, working on a craft, listening to music, playing a musical instrument, meditation, self-relaxation, dancing, and biofeedback. 8. Have a worry time if you must worry. When you find yourself worrying over a problem, set aside a time (I suggest to my students 7:30pm on Tuesday night) and then put off worrying until that time. Chances are you will not even remember what you were stressing yourself about. 9. Book time for yourself. In your daily or weekly schedule book time first for yourself and then the other activities you are involved in. Don't let anything, except an emergency, usurp your commitment to yourself. 10. Have a massage or another form of self-care activity.

         
    Stress management medical risks of stress

     

    What is Stress? Stress may be defined as the three-way relationship between demands on people, our feelings about those demands and our ability to cope with them. Stress is most likely to occur in situations where: 1. Demands are high. 2. The amount of control we have is low. 3. There is limited support or help available for us. Who is Affected Most by Stress? Virtually all people experience stressful events or situations that overwhelm our natural coping mechanisms. And although some people are biologically prone to stress, many outside factors influence susceptibility as well. Studies indicate that some people are more vulnerable to the effects of stress than others. Older adults; women in general, especially working mothers and pregnant women; less-educated people; divorced or widowed people; people experiencing financial strains such as long-term unemployment; people who are the targets of discrimination; uninsured and underinsured people; and people who simply live in cities all seem to be particularly susceptible to health-related stress problems. People who are less emotionally stable or have high anxiety levels tend to experience certain events as more stressful than healthy people do. And the lack of an established network of family and friends predisposes us to stress-related health problems such as heart disease and infections. Caregivers, children and medical professionals are also frequently found to be at higher risk for stress-related disorders. Job-related stress is particularly likely to be chronic because it is such a large part of life. Stress reduces a worker's effectiveness by impairing concentration, causing sleeplessness and increasing the risk of illness, back problems, accidents and lost time. At its worst extremes, stress that places a burden on our hearts and circulation can often be fatal. The Japanese have a word for sudden death due to overwork: karoushi. Medical Affects of Chronic Stress The stress response of the body is like an airplane readying for take-off. Virtually all systems, such as the heart and blood vessels, the immune system, the lungs, the digestive system, the sensory organs, and the brain are modified to meet the perceived danger. A stress-filled life really seems to raise the odds of heart disease and stroke down the road. Researchers have found that after middle-age, those who report chronic stress face a somewhat higher risk of fatal or non-fatal heart disease or stroke over the years. It is now believed that constant stress takes its toll on our arteries, causing chronically high levels of stress hormones and pushing people to maintain unhealthy habits like smoking. Stressed-out men are twice as likely as their peers to die of a stroke. There are weaker such findings among women, which is likely due to the fairly low number of heart disease and stroke cases among women, rather than a resistance to the health effects of chronic stress. Women seem slightly more susceptible to the effects of stress than men. Simply put, too much stress puts you at dire risk for health problems. Whether it comes from one event or the buildup of many small events, stress causes major physical alterations that often lead to health problems. Here is a list of some of these changes: • Our heart rates increase, to move blood to our muscles and brains. • Our blood pressures go up. • Our breathing rates increase. • Our digestion slows down. • Our perspiration increases. • We feel a rush of strength at first, but over time stress makes us feel weak. These reactions helped our ancestors survive threats by preparing for either "fight or flight." Today, our bodies still react the same way, but the events that cause stress do not require this ancient mechanism. Stress can also greatly raise our risk of: • Ulcers and digestive disorders • Headaches • Migraine headaches • Backaches • Depression • Suicide • High blood pressure • Stroke • Heart attack • Alcohol and drug dependencies • Allergies and skin diseases • Cancer • Asthma • Depressed immune system • More colds and infections We have to learn ways to relieve stress, because when it goes on for very long or happens too often, it obviously can cause many serious health problems.

         
     
         
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