Stresshack #2: Stressed by Stress?

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When stress hits, sometimes all bets are off and even the best loses it. That’s bad, right? Like, maybe, even… very bad? To be avoided, as in, cool is best (“I should be the picture of calm and I am anything but”)… Why can’t I react any better than this, one may ask. Or, why does my reaction need to be always this strong? The heart beat needle reaches the red zone, sweat breaks out, it’s hard to talk coherently, it’s like the world is ending this minute, muscles tense all over the body and the stomach cramps, adding to the misery… Often all this goes on mostly inside, while struggling to keep a semi normal appearance. Often, this goes on for a while, even a long while, while frantically working on a response that actually makes sense and addresses the stressor (“do I fight it, do I run, or am I frozen in place and can’t decide?”)

And when all of this occurs, and because it does occur this way (or worse), it adds to whatever stressor caused it to begin. The stress reaction becomes stressful in itself. It becomes a state of being, a condition, a problem of its own. So can anything be done to change this? Take the jump and find out.

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Stresshack #1: The Top 6 Job Stressors

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The top six on-going job conditions, thus excluding exceptional events such as a job loss, that may lead to significant stress are:

6. The structural and environmental conditions in which we must perform our tasks, which can range from mildly unpleasant to physically dangerous. There may also be noise, bad breathable air, overcrowding or constrictive body positions, such as prolonged standing or sitting or heavy lifting, or even too much typing. Degree of control we can have over these stressors: Often none. Perception vs. reality of the stressor: These often are legitimate and objective constraints that would stress anyone under the same circumstances.

5. Career concerns we may harbor over various aspects of the position we occupy, such as the security of the job itself, due to job-specific or industry/general economy threats; rapid changes in the job description or its requirements for which we may feel unprepared; unfulfilled desires of growth opportunities, such as advancement, promotion or change. Degree of control we can have over these stressors: Ranging from limited to significant. Perception vs. reality of the stressor: A fear-induced highly negative perception of the precariousness of the job can be a significant factor, and may not be commensurate to the objective reality of the threat.

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That Business of Stress…

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…or the stress of that business, as an intimate relationship exists between the two. And with ample justification. How?

Stress is by definition a perception that one’s available resources are insufficient or poorly matched to successfully face a challenge or a threat. Business, by definition, is a purposeful activity or endeavor that is a source of personal concern, usually engaged in as a means of livelihood.

When engaged in a business that is a personal concern, where we may endeavor to earn a living,  and in which our capital resources (our finances, physical and mental abilities, time, image, and self-concept) need to be allocated and expended to adequately meet the demands of the business we are engaged in, the potential for stress is always there.

Stress in business is of the same kind as the threat of a saber-toothed tiger—not the same, but of the same kind. Let’s see how. When face to face with the feline, our body instantly springs into full mobilization mode. The heart rate goes up, respiration increases in depth and frequency, muscles tense, pupils dilate, the stomach contracts, and adrenaline and other excitatory hormones are released into the bloodstream. We are faced with three possible choices: fight, flight or freeze.

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