Stress helps us perform – and kills. 3 things you must do.
I have no doubt that stress is a silent killer in our modern society.
Yet stress is what makes us strong. We see this in all areas of nature. It is somewhat ironic that the harsh conditions on flora and fauna gives them the strength to survive those harsh conditions. A butterfly’s wings would not be strong enough to fly if those wings were not strengthened in its effort to escape its chrysalis.
The same with us. If we don’t push ourselves, struggle, work with grit and determination, fail, get up, fall again, get up, skin our knees, suffer heart ache, rejection, loss … all the things that stress us, we will not build strength and resilience. The causes of stress are sometimes real, and sometimes in our own mind, made up of internal expectations. Certainly in my experience relationships, money, work, health, academic results, personal place in life are big sources of stress, and the stress can serve as being useful (the surge of adrenalin to drive the motivation). However prolonged feelings of stress must be urgently addressed.
The overwhelming feeling of being stressed is just that, a feeling. However, if it continues it will affect our overall wellness and lead to a raft of different conditions including heart disease, reduced immunity, high blood pressure, diabetes, mental health issues including depression and anxiety, and even suicide. These are the results – the symptoms are numerous. It is a killer – and without the health service even consciously realising it, stress is creating most of their customers – and treating its many symptoms. Things must change – and you can take steps to do this.
How can you be productive, engaging, innovative, creative, passionate when the vice is tightening and the continued pressure is causing stress on the machinery required to function.
The pressure of the stress then causes you to see things in a way that is not real. In a less positive way. And this perpetuates a cycle. You get in a negative thinking and belief cycle. Performance across all areas of your life decreases, which feeds on those thoughts in your mind. It isn’t long before physical symptoms present themselves and diverts some attention from the initial stressor to focus on the new physical one. Everything is connected.
Because of the rapid changes society is experiencing there are additional forces on us. We’re required to do more with less, faster, satisfy changing customer demands and staff needs. Everyone is inter-connected.
We’re in an age where communication is being redefined. Face-to-face is less and via device more. We lose the nuances of existing communication methods. Reading people’s body language, understanding how they feel. The communications age is making us poorer human communicators, with an increasing lack of compassion across society.
I understand how it feels to carry the weight of expectations on your shoulders – and still encumbered with everything else going on in life.
I’ve felt under stress a lot of my life. This has mostly been the stress of living with my own high expectations. There have been times where I’ve been under the stress of external elements and pressures. It affects you. I believe my long term health issues are directly related. As we know, it is insanity to continue doing the same things and expecting different results.
The good thing on my part is that I’ve made a conscious decision to:
- View my world differently so that the weight of expectation is not mine alone. Not easy!
- Do some things differently. Change some behaviours that are not helpful. Not easy!
We’re all in business, or in a business, to use our unique talents to deliver value – to perform. You have to perform. Choose to. Choose to change.
My goal is to support business people to see another way to perform. Harness stress but don’t be overwhelmed. It takes a combined compassionate approach to achieve this.
What can you do?
- You’re not alone. Don’t shoulder the burden alone. I once explained to a colleague the weight of some of the work issues I was dealing with. He listened. Understood and said “Mike, those aren’t your issues to deal with alone.” My god. He was right. I was so consumed by them – and all the other stuff going on in my life I couldn’t rise up high enough to look at them objectively. External views help.
- Talk to someone. Talk to me. Like I mentioned in the previous point. You must talk to someone who you know will be positive for you. Share. Conversations are good.
- No matter where you are right now, it is ok. If you want something different tomorrow – do one thing differently. Either take a walk, run, chat, shout, sing, hug, laugh. One thing.
Please reach out. Let me know what you need. How can I support you?