Stress is one of the major curses of today’s modern society, and it’s a destructive, lethal and silent killer…
Stress kills vital life skills; our ability to see the big picture, to think clearly, to prioritise, to control our emotions. It affects our decision making capabilities, our judgement, our ability to empathise, our capacity to learn, and quite simply our ability to enjoy life and be happy.
Stress also kills our physical well-being; it’s a known fact that our biological responses to stress (Palmer and Dryden 1995) include chronic fatigue, exhaustion, burnout, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, asthma, biologically based mental disorders, cancer, the list goes on…
Admittedly there is ‘good stress’ and ‘bad stress’; sometimes, certain types of stress in certain situations can help us out in the short-term, enhancing our performance to get through certain situations or difficult ‘periods’ for example. However, in the longer term, stress is definitely always bad news on all levels: mental, emotional and physical.
People get stressed for all different reasons, but a 2012 survey by Kenexa High Performance Institute reported the UK as having the highest level of stress amongst workers across the UK, USA, Germany, India, China and Brazil, and stress levels were at an all-time high. Not surprisingly one of the main causes of stress they reported, was what they termed ‘work-life conflict’.
I learned so much about stress when I lived in Asia and Africa. Surrounded by a population which was so in tune with their minds and bodies. I remember how surprised I was when I first heard members of staff turning down promotions and the chance to earn a higher salary, which could have meant a big difference to their lives and their family’s lives on a materialistic level: “No thank you, that would be more stress, and stress is cancer”. Genuinely, I heard potential promotions frequently turned down on this basis. I agree with the formula Stress=cancer, but the trick is how to pursue your goals professionally and personally, take yourself outside of your comfort zone, do new things, take on challenges, but without stress.
As I said, different people get stressed for different reasons, for example:
- feeling overwhelmed because they are overloaded with things they should be doing
- spending too much of time mentally in the future or the past, as opposed to being fully present in the moment
- compounded negative thoughts and a sense of helplessness as their ‘discrepancy based processing’ goes in to overdrive with a downward spiral of being painfully aware that how their life makes them feel is a far cry from what they really want to experience
- An overactive tendency to ‘avoid’, and try to move AWAY from, what they DON’T want in life, as opposed to being driven by desire, passion and purpose TOWARDS what they truly want
- and perhaps without even feeling particularly overloaded, high-flyers simply pushing themselves to stay in a ‘Beta brain wave’ zone (beta brain waves are predominantly present when we go about achieving our daily tasks), for longer than is biologically possible without generating some level of stress.
Reducing and preventing stress is one of the key outcomes of the work I do with successful women who are feeling the pressure of combining a successful career or business with being a great mother. There is no single, magic ‘cure’ for stress, but thankfully it can treated through a powerful blend of personal transformation coaching, positive psychology, approaches to mindfulness and agile planning techniques.
If you are stressed, or worried about the affects stress might be having on your life, your health, your relationships, your performance, your career prospects…don’t suffer in silence! Contact me today to arrange a free, confidential 30 stress management consultation and let’s explore how stress is currently affecting you, and how I can help you reduce your stress levels and bring back balance and control in to your life, helping you and your family get the best stress-free version of yourself at work and outside office hours.