Stress – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly sides

Did you know that stress is pretty normal and in certain situations it can be beneficial to you, and even bring out the best in you? Here’s how?

How a little stress helps

Within your comfort zone, stress can help you stay more focused, energetic, and able to meet new challenges in your life.

Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation, or alert to prevent costly mistakes at work!

How too much stress doesn’t!

But, excessive stress can interfere with your performance and even impact your physical and emotional health. Everyone who is working or has ever had a job, feels work related stress at some point. Every job can be stressful, even if it is something that you love to do.

In the short-term, you may experience work pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. Stress may occur because of time limited events such as the pressures of examinations or work deadlines, or by ongoing situations such as family demands, job insecurity, or long commuting journeys.

What are the signs that you’re stressed?

Signs of stress can be seen in an individual’s change in behavior. You lose confidence in yourself and may become angry, irritable, or withdrawn. Some of the other signs and symptoms include:

  • Insomnia/sleep disturbances
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Fatigue and Lethargy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Constant Headaches
  • Physical and emotional fatigue

What is important to know is that if stress persists, there are far-reaching changes in the neuro-endocrine, cardiovascular, autonomic, and immunological functioning, leading to severe physical and mental disturbance.

Some Steps to help you beat your Work stress:

  • Talk it out

Talking is nature’s antidote to stress. Since the face and heart are wired to the brain, talking to a friend or co-worker can help to quickly calm your nervous system and relieve stress. It’s not necessary to have a close buddy at work, but you can take steps to be more sociable with your co-workers. For example, when you take a break, instead of directing your attention to your smart phone, try engaging with your co-workers.

  • Start Working Out

Regular exercise is a powerful stress reliever. When you work out, instead of focusing on your thoughts, focus on your body and how you feels when you exercise. When you feel too stressed at work, take a quick break and move away from the stressful situation. Take a stroll outside your work zone if possible. Physical movement can help you regain your balance and calm you down.

  • Watch what you eat

The food that you eat can have a huge impact on how you feel during the work day. Eating healthy meals keeps your energy and focus up and helps you avoid mood swings. Another thing is to cut back on sugar consumption. Having too much of sugar in your diet can certainly make you lethargic. To bullet out the do’s and don’ts of healthy eating to combat stress – 

  1. Minimize sugar and refined carbs.
  2. Reduce the intake of foods that affects your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans-fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives in it.

  1. Avoid nicotine totally! You may feel calm after smoking, especially when you are stressed out, but nicotine is a powerful stimulant, after sometime it actually increases anxiety.
  • Have A Good Night Sleep

Lack of sleep will make you more stressed. When you are well rested, your body finds it easier to keep physical and emotional balance, which is a key factor in a stressful work environment. Try and have around 8 hours of sleep every night.

Keep away from your phone at least one hour before bedtime. The light emitted from your smartphones, computers, and laptops suppresses your body’s melatonin production and can disrupt your sleep. Instead, focus on quiet, soothing activities, such as reading, listening to soft music, while keeping the lights low. Working late night, early morning, or in rotating shifts can impact your quality sleep, which then affects your productivity and performance and leaves you more vulnerable to stress.

  • Task management
  1. Manage your work schedule properly. If you have to do something you don’t particularly like, get it done sooner, instead of postponing it and dragging it indefinitely.
  2. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. Breaking up the work load/distributing work will get rid of the unnecessary stress that you will have to go through if you’re doing everything yourself.
  3. Stop setting unrealistic goals or targets. By doing so you are only setting a terrible psychological trap for yourself.

 Everyone feels stressed at times and it is normal to do so. But what is not acceptable is to allow the stress to reach levels that cause damage to your mind and body. Try and figure out the reasons for your stress, plan and take measures!  Always keep a positive frame of mind – remember, it’s up to you whether you want to see glass as half empty or half full!

 

~Aniket Jadhav