For many, stress — be it work or something else — can cause a number of different issues and how it is dealt with can take both good and bad forms.
Now to start with, not all stress is bad. However, the bad stuff nearly always causes significantly worse effects on an individual than any good stress.
The good is associated with the body’s fight or flight response, feelings of excitement as well as that dose of adrenalin when you need to get right to work doing something you love to do.
Meanwhile, the bad is what people refer to as ‘stress’ — anxiety and pressure from a job, situations that a person has either little to no control but that affect them greatly plus various things that continue to drain an individual emotionally.
If a person can quickly rebound from these ‘bad’ things, then the effect will be minimal. However, when that ‘stress’ becomes constant or ongoing, that’s when the adverse effects begin to mount one on top of another and sometimes the consequences can become fatal.
Whether it is the long-term build up — more commonly known now as post traumatic stress disorder — of exposure to vivid negative and often very intense stress or the prolonged lifestyle stresses that include work pressures and even traffic snarls, the effects can be equally devastating.
No doubt you’ve heard about all of the suicides of emergency service workers, but that is just more high profile and publicized outcome.
Less well known — and summarily dismissed by many employers — are the physical and mental manifestations of this constant stress.
Being overtired, over-eating or not eating, always getting headaches, getting sick more often, anxiety and getting upset often are just some signs that bad stress is taking over.
Over time, these signs become worse and can lead to the development of a variety of more serious health issues including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers, heart disease, diabetes and depression.
First off, there are a long list of mechanisms and methods for dealing with or handling each type of stress.
Obviously, removing oneself and moving forward is the best route to be rid of that constant, daily bad stress. However, that can’t always be done right away, so a person must find other ways to release that tension and relax in a good way.
For myself, depending upon the situation and issue, there are a few ways that I have found that work.
Music is one of the top ways to settle the mind for myself.
No, not playing it. I have trouble carrying a tune in a briefcase, let alone take out and operate an instrument. I’m talking about sitting down to listen to music — be it my favourite tunes from the 1980s, ’90s and today (and yes I did work in radio) as well as some jazz and blues, both recent artists and more historic ones.
Another way is having a great listening ear to speak to (I have a great one by the way), which allows me to vent or simply use her as a sounding board. There is no judgment, no worry about being blamed and 24/7 access. There are also a few professional colleagues that can be relied on for advice when that becomes necessary as well.
Lastly, find something — an activity, hobby, sport or even job — that you love to do.
If it happens to be your career, all the better, since any stress found there can usually be handled quite well because it’s easier to leave it behind.
For those of you that used to love your job or haven’t been able to get that ‘one’ gig, find a way to further develop the passion that you’ve always felt for something else. That could mean taking time out and put everything out of your mind through cooking, crafting, jogging or some other recreation or pursuit.
That time — be it an hour, two or more — provides a chance to focus on something other than the stress and usually helps in either removing it altogether or at the very least forcing the person to put it in its proper place.
Sure, there are going to be stresses that can’t be helped, but as we see more and more mental and physical health issues arise because of the overload, the greater the need for people to understand the importance of speaking up and admitting they need help.
But that is…just an observation.