The 21st century has become an era of innovation and technology, but it's also the age of never-ending busyness and overwhelm. For the last few years, stress levels have skyrocketed and keep increasing as 44% of Americans say they are feeling more stressed year after year.
You might be feeling stress in various areas of you life and this can affect your mental and physical health. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, the main causes of stress are job pressure, money, health, and relationships. So if stress is this prevalent, what can we do to manage it better?
The main problem with stress is that it's deceptive: sometimes it can be a good thing and other times if can wreak havoc on your life.
For example, short-term is often helpful and can be because of a happy event or because you need to quickly respond to a crisis. In both cases, the stress was helpful and didn't cause harm.
The other type of stress is chronic stress and it will usually be of lower intensity, but over a longer period of time, sometimes even for years. This is the type of stress that we encounter at work or in our life and that we have become 'used' to.
This kind of stress can lead to fatigue, headaches, weight gain, mental health issues, and heart conditions. We are literally stressing ourselves to death.
The impact of stress is especially easy to see with work-related stress and its prevalence can be easily explained: the companies lead us towards stressful behaviors for the sake of performance. For example, your boss might encourage you directly or indirectly to take on extra work, to complete projects with unrealistic deadlines and to increase your daily workload.
But this is fallacious thinking since a stressful workplace actually leads to higher expenses for companies since:
- Stressed out employees are actually less productive
- People tend to be less creative due to tight deadlines and reduced sleep
- Higher stress levels usually lead to more sick days since employees have more physical health problems (often due to an impacted immune system) and mental health problems
And this is true for all areas of your life. If there's too much stress and pressure on your shoulders, you'll tend to have less energy, less motivation, and be more depressed.
So we know that companies have it wrong, but what if your employer doesn't realize that putting more pressure on you doesn't benefit him? Or what if you have high levels of stress in other areas of you life, what can you do about it?
The first step in dealing with stress is the identify the main stressors or stress triggers in your life or work. It might be specific events, places, or people that cause you stress.
2) Once you know where the stress comes from, you have two options: remove the stressor or learn to deal with it. Ideally, you would get rid of the specific stress trigger so do it if possible, but in many cases, it might be something or someone that you have to encounter regularly like your boss.
In the long-term, you might want to plan to eliminate these stressors for your life, but if for now it's not possible for financial or any other reason, you can find ways to minimize their impact on your life.
3) In the meantime, you can reduce the impact that those stressors have on your life be using relaxation techniques or other coping strategies. Establishing better work-life balance will also help to feel less stressed.
A life coach that specializes in stress management can also help you to better identify stressors for you since they can see the big picture from an outside perspective. They can also provide you with tools and techniques to better manage your stress with daily situations.
If you would like to get help to reduce your stress levels, contact us for a free life coaching consultation. With our help, you can learn to better manage your stress and reduce the influence that stressors have on you.