Stress is eating away at your bottom line and costing your company millions of dollars. More than 200 stress-related studies were detailed in scientific journals during the past three years. Stress has a major link to every problem we face as a species. Stress causes us to snap under pressure, it breaks down positive communication in families and dramatically affects your work performance.
Stress also affects your mental health, your attitudes and your personality. It has been estimated that some 60 to 70% of all health problems are directly linked to stress since it appears to be a factor in more than two-thirds of visits to primary-care physicians. Stress deletes fifteen to twenty years from the human life span since it weakens the body's natural defenses by suppressing the immune system.
Stress taxes your nerves, muscles and organs directly. Stress is linked to problems such as migraine and tension headaches, the common cold, ulcers, heart disease, strokes, stomach disorders, arthritic problems, allergies, multiple sclerosis and more.
Consider for a moment the following:
*At least one million Americans have a heart attack each year.
*Twelve million alcoholics in the United States find stress management in a bottle.
*Americans consume tons of aspirin every day.
*Over eight million Americans have stomach disorders and/or ulcers.
*80% of Americans ingest some type of medical prescription each day, including thirteen billion tranquilizers, anti-depressants, barbiturates, diuretics and amphetamines yearly.
*There are over fifty-thousand stress related suicides each year in the United States.
The fact is stress is an illusion created by the human mind. Stress is not real. If stress were a real thing like gravity, it would affect everyone in the same way, but it does not. The fact is that the things that stress me out should stress you out, but they don't. On the other hand the things that stress you out should stress me out, but they don't. Why? Stressful events are created out of our perceptions, not from the event itself. All events are neutral until a human being internalizes then judges it.
The latest research indicates that stress and distress are actually created by and in your mind. This does not mean that the stressful event is not real; it simply means that situations become stressful according to how you subconsciously perceive the event as it unfolds. It's not the event or job that's stressing you out, but how you are internalizing it. How you internally perceive the stressor will determine if it will become a major or minor one. How you internally represent outside events will determine whether its effect is harmful or beneficial. In other words, if you "think" the stressor is a major one, it will be major for you. If you "think" the stressor is minor, or a stepping stone to something better, that will be your reality. Simply put, "stress is in the eye of the beholder."
Let me give you an example. Imagine there are two office assistants with work piled very high on their desks. The first assistant is thinking, "This is too much work, I'll never get it done, I can't handle this pressure." While the second is thinking, "This is a lot of work, but it will make the day go fast and I won't be bored." Assistant #1 is going to have a very stressful day and probably leave work with a headache or worse, simply because he/she perceives her workload to be major stressor. If she continues to perceive the work load as overbearing, the stress may lead to physical and mental health problems.
Meanwhile, the second assistant has the same amount of work squeezed into the same time frame, yet he/she leaves work feeling great. Why? He perceives the heavy workload as creating a fast, productive day. Both had the same amount of work, but two completely different attitudes. Your perception is a powerful creator of any stressor.
If you're fired from your job and you represent it to yourself as "the end of the world," your stress levels will be very high. In contrast, if you believe the termination is the beginning of a brighter more compelling career, your stress levels will not escalate. If while paying your bills you're thinking, "I hate paying bills," your stress levels will be higher than the person who thinks, "Thank God I can afford to pay these bills." If you cry, "Don't leave me, I'm nothing without you," as your lover walks out on you, your stress levels will be higher than the person who thinks, "Hallelujah, now I can find someone deserving of me."
The primary difference in these examples is what took place in the person's head, the individual's perception, not the event itself. Therefore, our attitude plays an important role in helping us to triumph over stress. When stress motivates us to take action and stimulates creativity, it's fine. When stress creates overwhelming anxieties, it's time for an attitude adjustment.
From the many books on stress that are available and the varied techniques they offer, I have chosen the four strategies I believe are the most beneficial. Each will make substantial changes in the quality of your life. I have been using these for many years with very satisfactory results. They are also part of the curriculum for our popular 10 Hour Corporate Wellness Program.
* Meditation (For physical & mental relaxation)
* Exercise (For keeping your body in shape and tension relief)
* Proper sleep (For increased productivity and higher energy levels)
*Maintenance of a positive attitude (For managing your day to day hassles)
Stress management techniques are easy, but like anything worthwhile, they must be applied. The more you practice the greater the benefits you will receive in your business and personal life. From a small investment of your time you will reap many benefits. Sometimes people do not care about their health until they lose it. This is also true with top executives. Begin using these preventive techniques today so you will have a healthier tomorrow.
Here are 10 other tips that can help you beat stress in the office and at home. Check with your health care provider and make sure these suggestions are in harmony with his or her recommendations.
1) Practice easy exercise and meditation daily.
2) Do not eat unless you are hungry. Using food to combat stress will only result in unnecessary weight gain and other issues.
3) Some research indicates that playing with a pet or participating in a favorite hobby can have many beneficial effects.
4) Smile often, cultivate your sense of humor, and laugh as much as possible. Read comic strips daily, watch cartoons, see funny movies, and laugh at yourself. Laughter is the aspirin for soul-ache and should be taken in very large doses.
5) Listening to soothing music when possible can help to quiet your mind.
6) Excess sugar can heighten your stress response, so limit your sugar intake by reading package labels.
7) Take a B vitamin to control your emotions (preferably one that contains biotin).
8) Eat lots of fiber, starches and carbohydrates since these tend to have a calming effect on the body. Always eat breakfast.
9) Leave your job at the office; do not take it home with you. You do not get paid to think about your job on your time. Schedule some play and vacation time.
10) In each stressful situation ask yourself, "What can I learn from this situation or how can I deal with this constructively?" By asking yourself positive questions while in stressful situations your mind can help you to perceive negative situations in a favorable light. This simple attitude shift can make a great difference in how you perceive certain situations and how you deal with stress.
I wish you luck & success!