We all know what stress is, or do we?

Stress is the second in our series looking at the causes of burnout. Stress expert Carole Spiers ? Stress, Wellbeing, Organisational Change Speaker Spiers says ‘With the increasing pressure on people at work in a global, competitive and ever-changing world, managing the stress of home and work is fundamental to people’s wellbeing and the performance of our businesses.’

We all know what stress is, or do we?


The World Health Organisation describes the causes of stress as,
“personal difficulties (e.g. conflict with loved ones, being alone, lack of income, worries about the future), problems at work (e.g. conflict with colleagues, an extremely demanding or insecure job) or major threats in your community (e.g. violence, disease, lack of economic opportunity).

Symptoms

Symptoms of stress are the body’s way of protecting you. Tiredness leads to exhaustion which leads to which leads to panic and eventually shutdown.
 
So How do we prevent stress?
 
Since stress is usually a response to an external cause, such as a deadline or an unresolved argument with a colleague. It dissolves when the situation is resolved.

This sounds good in theory, but if it were that easy, we’d all be stress free.

What not to do

i.e.smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, drugs etc. as the best they do is provide short-term distractions from the problem.

The truthful answer is, you can never avoid stress altogether, but there are a few important things you can do.

What you can do
 
We know about eating healthily, sleeping for eight hours, regular exercise etc. As someone who spent much of her life stressed by deadlines and business pressures, I found there is one thing we can all do with a bit of practice.

One of the best things you can do to manage stress is meditation or mindfulness. But, it isn’t just the 15, 20 or 30 minutes, it’s the clarity and calm that goes beyond the time of meditation. A regular practice of meditation gives your mind the time and space to slow down and open up to new possibilities. As meditation practitioner and expert James Granstrom points out, it also gives focus and provides the space for the brain to reset.

If you are experiencing stress, it’s important to find a way of expressing your feelings. Make room for your feelings by breathing.

Breathing

Yes, I know you know how to breathe, but if you connect your breathing to the pain and imagine it passing through you as you breathe out, you’ll begin to notice a slight relief from the symptoms of stress. The more you practice, the more you’ll experience an improvement. Join a Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong class. All these practices focus on breath and energy. You will experience a difference.

I believe if you adopt these simple practices, your life will change forever. Just commit to doing one of them.