Stress: How Do You Know You’re Stressed? How to Reduce it Quickly
“Hammock” is specifically for those times when your stress levels are off the scale.
Read on to learn more about stress and what you can do to spot it and transform it:-
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF TOO MUCH STRESS AND HOW CAN YOU REDUCE IT REALLY QUICKLY?
How do you know if you, or someone else, is overwhelmed, stressed, depressed or just can’t cope?
One of the difficulties that you face, in a world that seems to “rapid fire” information, situations, noise, choice and problems at you, is actually recognising when you are overwhelmed.
Did you know that you can get so used to living with stress that you adapt? Certainly it’s important to adapt to a degree – but long term stress is now known to be a killer.
Chronic stress can: -
- Raise Blood Pressure.
- Suppress immunity.
- Increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Contribute to infertility.
- Speed up aging.
- Make you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
And who would want ANY of that?
But of course, if you want to grow, to accomplish more and be successful you are going to face challenges. The trick is knowing how to balance the new demands with your own mental, physical and emotional capabilities. And they’ll be different from someone else’s.
In the U.K. Mental health issues are now the reason for 32% of long term absence from work (Source: CBI/Pfizer Absence and Workplace Health Survey 2011). That is nearly ONE THIRD of absence over 20 days is due to too much stress.
Remember that mental health issues include:-
MIND – the U.K. Based mental health charity, found that “work is the most stressful thing in people’s lives”.
It’s not a pretty picture, is it?
But what if you were taught to “soldier on”: to “put on a brave face” or worse still keep that famous “stiff upper lip”.
All quite military advice, and although I don’t advocate getting lost in a sea of unbounded emotion, a balance needs to be struck so that you can be a effective human who enjoys the ride of life, and handles the rougher passages without becoming unwell.
But relaxation takes time I hear you say and” I’ve got too much to do” “I’m really stressed” and “I just haven’t got time” have almost become the stock phrases that replace “I’m very well thank you”.
And is there a bit of defensiveness that comes with using this phrase? That is not a criticism. Quite the opposite in fact. You are often measured and judged by your productivity: it’s likely that you take on the maximum to prove that you are worthwhile; that you are not “lazy”. And it’s hard to justify resting, kicking back or just having a quiet moment in many work cultures where “time is money” is the major driver. Relaxation is just not encouraged in most workplaces, although there are some well-known success stories now bucking this trend.
Organisations often reward their personnel for doing “more” – “scientific management” systems, (based on ideas first developed by FW Taylor in the 1880/1890s) seek to create greater efficiency by deciding what is important, based on empirical evidence and doing more of it.
I see this ‘efficiency” as having spilled into our personal and family lives too, driven by marketing machines that seek to sell us all manner of toys, ideas, styles, and “experiences” that will ‘efficiently” satisfy us, make us beautiful, desirable, fun and interesting. Apparently, all you have to do is buy them!
The truth is though that human lives are much more complex than simply something to be measured and I believe one of the penalties you pay for ignoring that fact, is the constant worry that you are not doing “enough”. This constant background worry can often lead you to overlook or neglect your own needs, whether that be resting and relaxing when you need to, eating regularly, or just having some time to yourself.
Yes, it’s important to learn to cope but forcing yourself beyond certain limits is not healthy. Yet how can you recognise when you have reached that limit? Have you ever noticed a work colleague or friend becoming increasingly irritable, or unproductive, or sick, and still insisting that they can ‘carry on?” It’s worth knowing what your “overwhelm indicators” are and paying attention to them before a crisis occurs.
These are the most common signs of excessive stress:
- Anxious, snappy, irritable.
- Social withdrawal (not going out with friends, stopping activities that you used to enjoy).
- Apathetic, loss of interest in work.
- Fatigue for ‘no reason’.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Stomach problems.
- Skin problems.
- Muscle tension and headaches.
- Problems sleeping.
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope.
- Oversleeping – can’t get out of bed.
- Over or under eating.
Why wait for a health crisis that could wreck your health and possibly your livelihood?
Get into the habit of self-observation now and take the necessary steps to stay well, before things get “too much”. You may feel less of a hero initially, but the health benefits of staying calmer, improved personal relationships and the self-confidence that comes from knowing and acting in your best interests are truly beyond measure. Don’t head for the edge, stay well, live long and prosper!!
Relaxation doesn’t have to take ages. Listen to this professionally-designed guided visualisation that I’ve put my heart into: it will have you chilled in ten minutes flat!!
Just download and listen as often as you need to. Enjoy the feeling of deep relaxation in the hot sun and feel the benefits of a calmer mind and body anytime.