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What is Stress?

Stress Management: Hand holding a stress ball

Stress – It is something that everyone has felt at some stage in their life and it can manifest in many forms. It is a common phrase, used in and out of work, and by all sorts of people of all ages, including young kids these days.

What is stress? Have you taken a step back, and actually given thought to what this means? Hopefully asking you this question won’t cause you more stress!

In this blog, let’s take a look at this 6 letter word that has such a big impact on many of us.

The dictionary definition is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”. Sounds about right, I know I can associate with the words “tension” and “demanding”.

How do you know when you feel stressed? It has taken me a while to answer this question properly, as I was guilty of overusing this term, but now I am aware that stress can be shown in a number of forms:

  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, racing heart, breathing changes.
  • Behavioural symptoms, such as eating too little or too much, short tempered, procrastination, sleeping too little or too much, grinding of the teeth, nail biting, fidgety.
  • Emotional symptoms, such as nervousness, irritable, anger, unhappiness.
  • Cognitive symptoms, such as trouble thinking clearly, loss of humour, worry, pessimism, loss of focus.

Here are four tips to help you create an Action Plan to help you with Stress Management.

  1. This about the stress symptom you need to pay attention to.
  2. Think about the trigger – could be situations and people.
  3. Think of a better way to deal with the triggers.
  4. Think about how you will remember to engage in dealing with your stress in the moment, at the beginning of the symptom.

By working on your Action Plan, thinking about the 4 tips above, you will exercise your Stress Management muscle and will:

  • Be immediately aware of how you are feeling in that moment;
  • Be able to influence stressful events and act to improve the situation;
  • Have the ability to maintain your composure and control negative emotions and behaviour;
  • Know when to push back and when to let go;
  • Build strength within yourself and
  • Learn to develop a tolerance for frustration.

Have a go, and next time you feel stress, think about the symptoms, and the 4 questions in the action plan.

Social and Emotional Intelligence: Stress Management
Extended DISC: Stress Management

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