Apr 22, 2015

Stress Awareness Month – April 2015

We all feel stress in our lives and look for ways to reduce its affect on us. Many people wonder if stress at work can make you physically ill. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” And, if you would like, you can see an in-depth article on work-related stress on my website by clicking here.

What you want to know right now, though, is this; what can a person to do to help manage the stress in their life?

1) Recognize the type of stress you’re experiencing. There are two types of stress; eustress and distress. Eustress is the “good” stress that keeps you motivated and provides incentive to accomplish something. Everyone needs a little bit of stress in their life in order to continue to be happy, motivated, challenged and productive. This is like the stress you experience when you’re playing a sport or game that you thoroughly enjoy. When this stress becomes so intense that it’s no longer tolerable or manageable, then it becomes…

Distress, which is the “bad” stress. You know the feeling…tension builds, the challenge you once enjoyed is no longer any fun, there seems to be no relief, no hope, no end in sight to the pressure you feel is being applied. Because the mind shifts from its creative and innovative abilities to ‘survival’ mode, it leads to poor decision making, a decrease in motivation, and increase in the “fear” response causing a rise in blood pressure, rapid breathing, and tension throughout the mind and body. Many people turn to negative coping mechanisms, such as, overeating, loss of appetite, excessive drinking, and smoking to rid themselves of this type of stress.

2) Put things in the proper perspective. In the work I do with executives and salespeople, in particular, I find that much of the stress they carry with them is more imagined than real. Just like all of us, they give meaning to things that happen or are said that isn’t the reality. We all fall victim to apperception. You’re familiar with perception, right? Apperception is when we perceive something and then infer meaning from out past experiences, thoughts, and beliefs and associate those with this new perception. It’s also called “Generalization”. We tend to generalize one experience we have into all experiences that are like that one. So, take a few moments and reflect on what was said, what happened, or anything else that is causing you distress and examine it as if you are a dissociated, objective bystander. By taking the emotion out of those situations, you can discover new meanings, understandings, and learnings that you missed because your emotions clouded the reality.

3) Have a source of stress relief. There are so many ways that even busy business executives can get relief. In the book, The Power of Full Engagement, the authors recommend a variety of ways to briefly disengage so as to relieve the stress and pressure of a busy day so that when you are called upon to perform at your peak you have the mental and physical resources to do so. Many people find meditation and other relaxation techniques valuable. Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever if it is exercise you enjoy. Of course, because my clients have seen such amazing and quick results from it, I will put in a plug for the work I do with hypnosis. It’s like stress relief at lightening speed! And, it’s possible to reprogram your mind to instantly find positive resources, like confidence, peace, and creativity, within yourself the instant you feel distress coming on. Imagine, instead of going into that downward spiral, you increase in your ability to succeed!

This is by far not an exhaustive list of how distress can be relieved and productively managed. Please share some of the ways you’ve found to productively manage your stress so that others may benefit.

Dr. Edward Lewellen is a Master Executive Coach, leadership and sales expert, and keynote speaker for some of the largest global organizations.

Phone: 972.900.9207
Email: Ed@Trans-Think.com