Stress Management

By Bowers, Wes | Business Credit, July/August 1999 | Go to article overview

Stress Management


Bowers, Wes, Business Credit


This year's past Credit Congress was a showcase of information and techniques that enhanced the credit and finance professional in all aspects of his or her job. Speaker John Boyd of Baylor University was on hand to tell attendees why more than 45 percent of American managers suffer from too much stress.

Stress is a part of everyone's everyday life.There is no escape from it during a work day no matter how hard you try. From the boss coming down on you, to annoying co-workers, to that three-hour commute in rush hour traffic, stress is all around us. According to Boyd, the only way to escape the pressures of stress during the week is to manage it wisely and effectively.

Stress is a dynamic that brings about a response to a stimulus, or a set of circumstances that creates a physiological, psychological or behavioral change. It is a natural part of everyday life.

What are the sources of stress? What makes you frustrated, irritated or cranky by the end of the day? We learned that one source of stress is environment. For example, traffic is a major cause of stress. Not many of us enjoy sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for a few hours on the way home from work. Even when traffic is running smoothly, there's always that one driver who drives 10 miles below the speed limit in the fast lane. To some, this is a critical level of stress that could affect job performance.

Climate can also be a factor. Some of us hate the fact that it's overcast and cloudy all the time. And others hate it when it's a beautiful day for an entire week. Noise is also a factor. No one likes a roomful of people who are laughing, talking and yelling when they are trying to concentrate and do some serious work.

Additional sources of stress include organizational factors. Policies and processes can have a negative effect when it comes to stress. Company policies can make one very irritated, like requiring one to only wear white shirts to work. Some people don't like white shirts, and maybe all they have are blue shirts.

Interpersonal influences are also a great cause for a stressful day.You may have a personality conflict with your co-worker or boss. Maybe your co-worker or your boss doesn't trust you. Maybe they don't give you enough support. Do you feel you're doing all the work alone? Taking responsibility for the workload, or even having it pushed on you, can greatly increase the amount of stress in your life.

Do your friends come to your place of work on the busiest day of the week just to stop by and say hello? Are your co-workers or your boss demanding too much of your time, and you can't get any of your work done? These are both examples of external pressures which are also major causes of stress. Other sources include family, personal propensities such as bad habits or quirks, bankruptcy, government and even illness. The consequences of all these examples are negative. Some can lead to substance addiction, maybe even abuse. Some can lead to emotional disorders, withdrawal from your peers and family, the inability to concentrate and death.

It was not startling to learn that middle managers are most at risk for such severe stress. …

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