Stress Is a Response
Most experts define stress as a response to life situations like the following:
1. Having too many responsibilities
2. Vague or confusing expectations
3. Having to do unpleasant tasks
4. Facing too many distractions
5. Having to do tasks for which one is unprepared
6. Working with difficult people
7. Being bored
8. Being sick
9. Experiencing too many changes/divorce/moving/loss of a loved one/etc.
10. Being in physical danger
11. Living or working in a crowded space
12. Not getting enough exercise
13. Poor nutrition
14. Not getting enough sleep
15. Not enough time to relax
16. Being dissatisfied with your physical appearance
17. Abusing drugs or alcohol, or being close to someone who abuses them
Social and Cultural Causes of Stress
Stress has become a factor in our culture in the last 20 years partly because of the very things that were originally designed to make life less stressful. Conveniences such as ATM machines, microwave ovens, computers, cell phones, and fax machines have made life easier in many ways, but they also have woven an expectation of instant gratification into our culture. This can cause a constant flow of stress for some.
Other examples of products and services that were invented to make life more efficient and productive, but which sometimes seem instead to add to stress:
• 24-hour stores and restaurants
• One-hour photo developing
• Drive-thru fast food
• 10-minute oil change
• Web sites, with their instant access to unlimited information
• Catalog and Internet shopping
• Personal computers
- 24-hour news channels
• 30-minute pizza delivery
Stress at Work
Almost everyone complains of stress at work these days. It often results from one of the following:
1. Having too much or too little work to do
2. Having to do work that is very complicated and demanding
3. Having to do work that is boring and repetitive
4. Having unclear goals and expectations
5. Having to follow changing or confusing procedures
6. Being at a career dead end
7. Working in a company with an impersonal management philosophy
People at the top of organizations suffer from stress because of excessive workloads, unrealistic expectations, and isolation. The phrase “it’s lonely at the top” has some truth to it.
Middle managers often experience stress because they have responsibility for the people who report to them, but lack the control to execute what is expected. With the recent epidemic of corporate downsizing, middle managers have also been given greater and greater workloads. Managers who manage to keep their jobs often feel like they are living in the shadow of termination.
Professionals suffer from their own brand of stress caused by monotony. Doctors, lawyers, and other professionals often perform the same kind of work for many years, resulting in boredom and desperation.
Workers at the lower levels of today’s organizations often feel stress caused by boredom and the frustration of dealing with the public. They also may feel less successful than their coworkers in higher-level jobs and may feel stressed by their lack of status.
Why Workplace Stress Has Increased
1. The nature of work has changed. The fight-or-flight responses to stress are ineffective in response to the stresses of today’s life.
2. The workplace has become decentralized. In many places, people no longer work together in one place, but may be scattered around the world or work from home, connected by technology.
3. People change with each generation. Baby Boomers differ from Generation Xers in terms of their values, work ethic, and their definitions of success. These generational differences contribute to stress at work.
Ways to Handle Stress
There are many varied ways we can handle stress. It depends on what really appeals to you on a deeper. connected level to what you enjoy and who you really are past the expectations of others.
For some people, it may be listening to music, others feel relief being out in nature, still others find it beneficial to work out physically in a gym or yet others find benefit from yoga and meditation practices. It's important to find what "speaks"specifically to you. If you aren't sure, try different things until you find "that thing"that helps you feel almost lost in time, away from the worry and stress.
How We Can Help
Counseling is a great way to learn to manage stress. We have helped many clients find ways to learn how to cope in a more healthful way to their daily stress as well as any life changes and transitions. Sometimes it helps to talk it out, and other times we can teach you actual skills that work and don't require a lot of time or learning.
Reiki has been shown to effectively help people feel less stressed and more at peace. Most clients report a feeling of calm and relaxation after a session. Crystal healing and sound healing can provide the same benefits.
Meditation isn't something that has to be hard or spent a ton of time on. In fact, we can teach you how to meditate WHILE you are busy doing other things.
If you are feeling stressed, you don't need to continue to feel as though life is controlling you. Whether it be through counseling, Reiki or finding things you love to do you can feel more in control and less stressed.
If you're interested in learning more about stress and counseling or Reiki, please feel free to reach out to us.
Wishing you peace,