Stress Tolerance – The Silent Saboteur
Chatting with a business network colleague over coffee earlier this week, I had a very interesting insight into the human condition in this fast-paced, communication rich, technology led world we currently reside within. As we chatted, we both quickly arrived at the same conclusion. As human beings, with flexible and adaptable nervous systems, we have become tolerant of stress. As business owners, employees, spouses, peers, parents, competitors, we have become so used to the feelings and the physiological impacts associated with stress that we no longer notice it. It has become THE silent saboteur of our success and growth.
My curiosity sparked, I began to research what position the world is currently taking about stress. I first felt it important to define ‘stress’ in its truest sense. The semantic reality of the linguistic label ‘stress’ is important because it has become a throw-away term in today’s society. I have heard young children apply the word stress to themselves because their favourite TV programme is not on for a week. It’s important that we get back to basics and really understand the terminology we are using so blithely on a day to day basis.
The Health and Safety Executive defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other type of demand placed on them.’ So, people experience stress when they can’t cope with the pressure being applied to them. This clearly oscillates from person to person. What stresses one person may not affect another. Research indicates that life factors such as skills, experience, age or ability may affect whether a person is able to cope within their environmental pressures.
The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2020, depression will become the second most important cause of disability in the world. Whatever the causes of increased mental illness are, the harsh reality is that most people are left to deal with it alone. Now, I wonder how you feel about that statistic. My response is that it’s completely unacceptable.
So, let’s reframe for a moment. Stress is not an illness and it can make you ill.
When you notice changes in behaviour, it may be a sign of stress. We must begin to be present and aware, both of our own behaviour and that of the people with whom we regularly come into contact. We must look for signs, both behavioural and physical and act early.
Here are some of the tell-tale signs that you will notice when you are present in now:
Ø Absence from work
Ø Nervous disposition
Ø Mood swings
Ø Low motivation & confidence
Ø Tearful, sensitive, aggressive
Ø Poor skin and hair
Ø Weight loss or gain
Whilst our Health Service is doing more and more towards combating this silent saboteur, it’s clearly not yet sufficient to curb the reality of global statistics. Stress, depression and anxiety have been the main causes of absence from work for many years now and the figures are rising rather than falling. A quick visit to the Health and Safety Executive website displays this reality very clearly. Taking medications to help you to cope with your environmental pressures may ease the process in the short term, it is more of a sticking plaster than a solution.
Is there a solution? Yes, there is. The critical component of the solution is communication. We must talk about how we are feeling. Talking about mental health no longer holds the stigma of weakness and vulnerability of past decades. It’s real, it’s current and we should all talk about it openly and without judgement.
Clearly, talking to a professional is the most preferred option. Seek out an NLP Coach or a Time Line Therapy® Practitioner who can offer you real, proven solutions that not only remove the symptoms, they set up a resilience for the future. If you choose not to talk to a professional, then talk to a friend, your employer or your family. Get everything out in the open and then take action to change your environment. Put yourself back in the driving seat.
There are a few really easy lifestyle adjustments that you can make to increase your natural resilience to pressure:
Ø Physical activity
Ø Eat well
Ø Only drink alcohol in moderation
Ø Value yourself and others
Ø Talk about feelings with an NLP Coach
Ø Be complete with your past – Time Line Therapy® will empower you to achieve this.
Ø Keep in touch with friends and family
Ø Care for others
Ø Break ties with those who drain your energy
Ø Get involved, make a contribution
Ø Learn new skills
Ø Do something creative
Ø Get enough sleep
Ø Take a break
Ø Ask for help – talk about your feelings
To break the hold this silent saboteur has on us, we must, be present, be aware and take action and we need to do it now.