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Work Stress

At one time or other we have all had an experience of having far too much work to do and too little time to do it in. It is also not uncommon that people’s first response is to ignore this experience and work longer and longer hours to stay on top of the workload. The downside is that by doing this we risk becoming exhausted, the quality of our work can suffer and that we neglect other areas of our lives. Individually or collectively this can lead to stress.

Stress: Background Information
Broadly there are two things that can lead to stress. The first is if you think that the situations around you are worth feeling stressed about. The second is down to how your body reacts to this thought process. This instinctive response to the unexpected events that life throws at us is known as our ‘fight or flight’ response.

Flight or Fight Response
One of the first researchers to note this response was Walter Cannon in 1932. He helped to establish that when we experience a shock or a perceived threat our body quickly releases hormones that can help us to survive. These hormones help us to either get away from the threat- to take ‘flight’ or to defend ourselves- to ‘fight’.

Common Symptoms
The sort of bodily changes you can experience are:

  1. Increased heart rate and blood pressure allowing more oxygen and blood sugar to power our muscles.
  2. Sweating to help cool the muscles so they work at maximum efficiency.
  3. Pale skin as the body diverts blood away from the skin to the core to reduce blood loss if the skin is damaged.
  4. Increased focus on the perceived threat to the exclusion of everything else.

When Stress Becomes a Problem
Sometimes we can have this reaction to a situation that isn’t life threatening. In fact we can have this experience almost any time we come across something unexpected or something that frustrates our goals. When the threat is small, our response is small and we often do not notice it among the many other distractions of a stressful situation.

Unfortunately, mobilising the body for survival has negative consequences too it can make us excitable, anxious, jumpy and irritable. This reduces our ability to work effectively. With trembling and a pounding heart, we can find it difficult to execute precise, controlled skills. Focusing on survival means we make decisions based on the good of ourselves rather than the good of the group. We shut out information from other sources and cannot make balanced decisions. This is where coaching can help…

If you would like to see how coaching could work for you click here or go to the Contact Me page and get in touch.

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