Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stress Solutions and Positive Management

How does the body respond to stress?
When we first experience stress, our brain signals for release of adrenalin and cortisol, hormones that increases blood sugar and oxygen content. More blood is pumped into the brain. This adrenalin is results in enough glucose to run a mile or two. An excess of cortisol affects our ability to think clearly. And extra adrenalin affects our system.

You can clearly see that this kind of response over the years will lead to illnesses, breakdowns, chronic headaches, rapid beating of the heart, dizziness, heartburn and fatigue.

Isn’t a little bit of stress good for us?
Yes, sportsmen, businessmen and managers find that challenges push them to perform better, discover new things, make them learn and revs up their systems. But these should not be too frequent and prolonged for long periods of time. In the “jungle days”, when man ran with the hounds and hunted the deer and defended the attacks of wild cats, they experienced plenty of stress – fighting, defending and living in hostile conditions in the forests. The modern man, however, has acquired a variety of other challenges. Rising expectations, anger, rivalry, frustration and more. This is much more damaging to the health. And a good reason why we need to watch for the warning signs and take action.

Signs of stress
Feeling of hopelessness
Anxiety
Chronic sleep disturbances
Loss of Self Esteem
Headaches
Emotional exhaustion
Peptic Ulcers
Memory Loss
Heavy substance abuse
Falling sick too often

Responding to stress
Changing our environment
Is the current place of work bit too tiring. Is the pressure too much to handle. Some may feel the only respite can come from a change of job.

Adapting to the environment
Let’s assume someone’s moved from an organized large corporation to a highly agile and sometimes crazy start-up environment. The pressure in a start-up atmosphere can break people not used to it. In smaller companies, the role may not be well defined. One may need to wear different hats at different points in the day. The smart employee may see this as an opportunity to learn new things, handle pressure better and therefore may prioritize his tasks, work on his time management skills and draw upon his patience to lower the pressure building up inside him.

This adaptation can considerably reduce stress levels and make him happy.

Changing our response
This is by far the best route to managing stress. Quite often we react to pressures, we don’t act. The reaction to stress could range from anger, frustration, withdrawal or feeling depressed. Instead if we learn to understand the root causes of stress. And worked out a plan to resolve, it’d be great.

But this needs “re-wiring” of the brain. The mind needs to perceive things correctly. And respond slowly but steadily. Only a calm mind that understands and assesses the situation can respond positively. But this calmness comes with meditation, yoga and sometimes therapy. One needs a deep understanding of causes and responses. But internal change is the most recommended tip for permanently resolving stress.

This needs acceptance of our faults, this needs us to be non judgemental about others, this warrants us to be cool under stress without reacting. What it does is lowers the hormone build-up inside our system. And keeps our energy intact.

Try it and you’ll feel relieved.

Learn to relax
It’s very important to relax – slow down the pace of life, reduce the tension of worrying, exercise, go for massages, develop a hobby, connect to people and lower expectations.