Magazine article New Zealand Management

Consultation : How to Spot Bad Stress

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Consultation : How to Spot Bad Stress

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Gaunt

I had a quiet moment at work yesterday and suddenly saw how I was feeling. I had general aches and pains, my heart was racing, and I felt jumpy. I dona[euro]t often have quiet moments like this, but realised I have underlying stress. My work isna[euro]t that difficult so I am not sure what is causing it, but I dona[euro]t like it and want to get rid of it.

First you should be congratulated for recognising what is happening to you. Often people dona[euro]t realise they are stressed and because they are getting an adrenalin buzz they think things are okay.

Stress is a natural part of life, but there is good stress and bad stress. For example, if a herd of marauding elephants were to come charging at you then you would hopefully move very quickly to get out of their way. This is good stress. It is short lived and energises you to be safe.

Bad stress is where this happens for a much longer period and there is no obvious positive outcome a[euro]" as in saving yourself from being trampled. Long-term stress leads inevitably to illness. It can affect the way you think, leading to depression. It can affect you physically, leading to loss of sleep, tiredness, and heart and stomach troubles. It can also lead to relationship problems with increased arguments and overreactions, which in turn can seriously impact your home and work life.

So the first thing to do in dealing with stress is to recognise you are experiencing bad stress a[euro]" as you have done. You then know you are on a burning platform and are motivated to do something.

The next step is to identify what is causing the stress. You may be able to do this yourself, but often it is helpful to talk it through with a close friend or relative who can help you focus.

There are many causes of stress. It might be that you have a manager who is stressing you. This is one of the main reasons people leave their jobs. It may be a family situation, for example, with one of your children or partner. It may be that someone close to you has died or is ill. Or it may be simply that you have become addicted to the adrenalin rush from stress and are creating the stress yourself. This is not uncommon.

So seek out someone you trust and can talk to and take it from there. Certainly eight hours of sleep, a balanced diet, exercise, and time out will help you as well. …

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