Stress Management is an important part of daily living for all of us. We all need stress in order to survive. Teams need it to perform well, and in the right doses, it can be very healthy, or even enjoyable.
However, when stress becomes excessive it can be very damaging. It can harm:
- work performance
- team spirit and co-operation
- personal development
Stress management involves, at the simplest level:
- recognising the symptoms of stress
- identifying the causes
- taking action to address the causes and thereby reduce the symptoms
- where necessary, taking appropriate steps to relieve the symptoms until the underlying causes have been addressed.
With the pressure of modern life, it is easy to fall into the trap of neglecting steps 2 and 3. That is, only relieving the symptoms. It is important to recognise and address the underlying causes of stress, or else the experience of stress will never go away.
What are the signs of stress?
The symptoms of stress are many and varied, such as:
- illness (particularly at weekends or during holidays)
- and many more....
Sometimes, you can be experiencing stress but your mind and body are so good at hiding it from you that you are unaware of it. In such cases the symptoms might be more subtle and therefore difficult to recognise, such as:
- working endlessly without tiring
- having little feeling or emotion (except the occasional outburst of anger)
- increased use of alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes or other drugs (which may suppress feelings of stress)
- behaviour that is ´out of character´
- an inability to relax
If you are under a lot of stress for a prolonged period of time, but do not feel stressed, eventually it may catch up with you and cause more serious symptoms, such as:
- stomach ulcers
- heart problems
- minor illness (allergies, skin disorders, migraine)
- serious illness (eg: arthritis, cancer, diabetes)
- mental problems (eg: depression)
There may be cultural or social pressure to ´be strong´. Perhaps the employment culture is such that to acknowledge that you are under stress is interpreted as a sign of weakness and could be damaging to your career prospects. If this is the case, you may be tempted to suppress your feelings of stress - which leads to a strategy of stress denial rather than stress management.
Most people experience a significant period of stress or depression during their lives. To feel stressed at various times is to be normal. However, if you have recognised some of the symptoms above than you might need to address your stress issues which have been hindering your life via relaxation, sport, clinical hypnosis or CBH therapy in case of longer lasting stress management issues.