Tag Archives: stressmanagement

Workplace Stress: Cause and Effect


Photo Credit: Elisa Ventur

While millions continue to work from home, millions more have either returned to the cubicle, or never left to begin with. We all know the feeling: You’re sitting at your desk, trying to focus on your work, but your mind is racing and you can’t seem to calm down. Your heart is pounding, your head feels like it’s going to explode, and you can’t focus on anything. You’re experiencing a full-blown case of workplace stress.

While some stress is normal and even necessary for peak performance, too much stress can be debilitating. If you’re struggling to manage your workplace stress, here are a few tips to help you get back on track.

  1. Identify the source of your stress
  2. Develop a positive mindset 
  3. Take a break. No matter how short
  4. Manage your time wisely
  5. Get organized
  6. Seek professional help if necessary 

  1.  

If you’re finding it difficult to cope with workplace stress, remember you’re not alone.

Defining workplace stress
Workplace stress is defined as a harmful reaction employees have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. An important distinction can be made between pressure and stress. Pressure at work is a situation where demands are placed on employees, which can be motivational, stimulating and enjoyable. Stress occurs when these demands are excessive and unreasonable, leading to feelings of anxiety, overload, tension and worry.

There is a range of factors that can contribute to workplace stress, including long hours, tight deadlines, demanding bosses or clients, unrealistic workloads, lack of control or autonomy over work tasks, lack of support from colleagues or management

The causes of workplace stress
There are many factors that  contributes to stress in the workplace. Job insecurity, unpredictable work hours, heavy workloads, lack of control over work tasks, lack of support from supervisors or co-workers, poor working conditions, violent or threatening behavior from clients, patients, or customers. Does any of these causes apply to you?!

The effects of workplace stress
Chronic workplace stress can have serious effects on your health and well-being. It can contribute to a variety of problems, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems and weight gain. Workplace stress can also lead to absenteeism and decreased productivity.

There are a number of things you can do to reduce the amount of stress you feel at work. These include developing a support network of colleagues, family and friends, eating healthy meals and getting regular exercise. You can also try relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. If you find that your stress levels are consistently high, it may be time to seek professional help.

Not ready to seek professional help just yet? Come back in a few days to get advice on  effective strategies on how to manage the triggers, so you don’t end up being consumed by your 9-5

To Your Success,
Juan

 

The Scary Ways Stress Affects Our Health. Pt 1


Photo: Simran Sood

Welcome Back to the LETS TALK ABOUT STRESS series!

It’s no secret that stress takes a toll on our mental and emotional health, but did you know  it can also wreak havoc on our physical health? In fact, stress is a major contributing factor to many of the most common health concerns, from heart disease to obesity. So what exactly happens to our bodies when we’re stressed? And more importantly, what can we do to combat the negative effects of stress?

Chronic stress can take a toll on your body, causing  a variety of symptoms. You may experience:
Headaches
Muscle tension or pain
Chest pain
Fatigue
Digestive problems
Sleep problems

We will divide this segment in two parts, for the sake of time and attention span. Today, we will look at how stress affects our mental, emotional, social wellbeing and sleep habits, as well as useful coping mechanisms. Part two concludes by examining the affects on diet and eating habits, overall wellbeing.

Stress is a normal part of life, but it can take a toll on your mental health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or just not yourself, stress could very well be the culprit. Chronic stress can lead to problems like anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping. It can also make physical health problems worse.

If you’re struggling to cope with stress, there are things you can do to feel better. Talking to a therapist can help. So can exercise, relaxation techniques, and making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep.

How Stress affects your emotional health
When we’re stressed, our bodies release a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol helps us regulate our metabolism, but when we’re constantly under stress, it can have a negative impact on our emotional health.

Studies have shown Cortisol can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression, and interfere with our ability to form new memories and concentrate. In addition, cortisol wears down our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness. 

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress levels, spending time with friends and family can also help. If you’re still finding it difficult to cope, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

How Stress affects your social health
Chronic stress can have negative effects on your social life. You can become withdrawn and irritable, anxious and depressed, which in turn negatively affects your relationships. It is important to make time for yourself, and focus on your mental and emotional health.

How Stress affects your sleep.
Stress can cause us to have trouble falling or staying asleep, and it can lead to restless nights. Over time, you can suffer from sleep deprivation. Stress hormones like cortisol, can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Cortisol is a hormone that helps us deal with stress, but it also makes us more alert and can keep us awake at night. Racing thoughts and worry keeps us awake at night. Physical symptoms like headaches or muscle tension are not uncommon.

There are a few things you can do to try to improve your sleep. First, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Second, create a relaxing bedtime routine; taking a warm bath or reading a book. And finally, try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or visualization before bedtime.

Let me know if you found any of these suggestions helpful!

To Your Success,
Juan

 

Let’s Talk About Stress


Growing up, you heard friends and family lamenting about being “stressed out”. Then came the moment you experienced it first hand. Stress is a part of life, but where does stress come from?  What is the origin of stress?.

Where Does Stress Originate?
If you ask 10 people where their stress comes from, they’re likely to mention kids, family, work, and especially money.  These are stress factors that are common.  Yet, these are causes of stress but not where the stress actually comes from.  

There are many different schools of thought. The fact of the matter is that stress is our body’s response to the demands that we place on it.  The demands may be physical, mental, or emotional in nature and when we place these demands on our body, chemicals and hormones like Cortisol and Neuropeptide Y are released into our bodies and then we feel stressed. 

Stressful Thinking Leads to Stressful Feelings
Some believe that stress can stem from our own minds.  This is true to some extent because we can cause stress through our worries, fears, and anxiety.  

We often get into the habit of negative thinking where we can somehow convince ourselves about things that are untrue. For example, have you ever convinced yourself that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough to do something? This negative self-talk creates stress within our own minds. Unfortunately, these thoughts are going on unbeknownst to us because we have come to accept our negative thoughts as truth, even when it’s far from it. This is precisely why we need to begin to tame our negative thoughts and replace them with positive truths.

Stress is a normal part of life so we’ll never be able to escape it. What really matters is how we deal with stress, but we all experience stress differently; hence there’s no universal stress treatment!

Dealing with Stress
As we now know, stress is a bodily response to the pressures and demands that we place on ourselves in every day life.  To limit the negative effects of stress – such as heart attack, breathing problems, reproductive problems, and stomach problems – you need to learn how to actively manage your stress.  There are many simple stress coping strategies that you can employ such as:

  •  Getting more exercise
  •  Using positive self-talk
  •  Getting more restful sleep
  •  Eating a healthier diet
  •  Knowing your work limits
  •  Saying no when you need to
  •  Asking for help
  •  Creating time for fun
  •  Using positive imagery
  •  Employing deep breathing techniques
  •  Listening to calming music
  •  Clearing your life and workspace of clutter
  •  Keeping things simple

These are all effective ways to deal with the stress in your life, however, you need to remember that the goal is to proactively manage your stress.  If you react to your stress, you’ll be spending most of your time putting out fires.  Instead, if you constantly implement just a few of these stress management techniques, you will live a healthier, happier, and more productive life!

Over the next several weeks you can expect more articles on the subject, including how, in some instances, stress can be good for you! Other topics will include ways to manage and limit the amount of stresses in our daily lives. Hope to have you.

To Your Success,

Juan

 

How to End Anxiety Through Meditation


When it comes to using meditation to manage anxiety, multiple studies have reached the same conclusion. Mindfulness can help you to stop worrying. Almost 7 million Americans experience Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and many more have occasional bouts of fretfulness due to pressures at work or home. While you can’t remove the stress from daily life, there are steps you can take to feel more at ease. Try these natural remedies.

Anxiety-Related Benefits of Meditation

Researchers have been studying how meditation affects a wide variety of health issues. The American Medical Association, reported that meditation appears to be most effective in addressing anxiety, depression, and pain management.

  1. Focus on now. Most anxiety tends to be centered on rehashing the past or anticipating the future. Meditation encourages you to engage fully with the present moment. Your attention switches from useless regrets and fears, to constructive endeavors.
  2. Connect with your body. Chronic anxiety takes a toll on your physical health through inflammation and other symptoms. Scanning your body reminds you to lower your shoulders and unfurrow your brow.
  3. Change your brain. Meditation alters your brain so your contentment will grow. Stress hormones decrease and serotonin levels rise. Gray matter enlarges, while the amygdala, which processes fear, shrinks.

How to Meditate to Reduce Anxiety

Meditation can be adapted to suit your individual needs. Take classes or sit at home for free on you own schedule.

  1. Start off gradually. The benefits of meditation can often be seen within a week or two, and even 10 minutes a day pays off. Set aside a brief time each day for contemplation.
  2. Clarify your purpose. You may want to use meditation as part of your spiritual practice or take a completely secular approach. Meditation is not necessarily religious. You can develop greater peace of mind with your own set of beliefs.
  3. Separate facts from feelings. Introspection helps you to distinguish between actual events and your inner thoughts and emotions. As you train yourself to think objectively, you can achieve greater control over your reactions.
  4. Develop insights. Examining your mind also helps you to understand yourself and others. You may discover the root causes of your anxieties and how best to deal with them. Maybe you’ll want to replace negative expectations with a sense of curiosity. Perhaps you’ll pay more attention to the kindness you receive from others instead of conflicts.
  5. See your doctor. While meditation is powerful, your physician may recommend treatments including cognitive therapy and medication if your anxiety persists. You can still practice meditation and other self-care to aid your recovery. Let your doctor know what you’re doing on your own.

Other Natural Anxiety Aids

Meditation is even more productive when you combine it with other healthy lifestyle choices. Take a look at your daily habits.

  1. Eat whole foods. A diet full of processed foods and sugar aggravates anxiety and depression. Get most of your calories from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
  2. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Too much coffee may give you the jitters, and self-medicating with alcohol usually backfires. See if cutting back makes a difference.
  3. Exercise more. Physical activity melts away anxiety and stress. That’s especially true for vigorous aerobic workouts like running or rowing. When I am at the gym, I have to force myself to leave. I find working out very addicting.
  4. Rest and relax. Fight anxiety with a good night’s sleep and occasional breaks during the day. Go to bed on a consistent schedule.

If anxiety is interfering with your life, help is available. Achieve greater peace of mind through meditation, and see your doctor if you need additional support. You tube has a lot of free meditation guides and resources.

To Your Success,
Juan

Calm & Centered


Dear Followers,
Thank you for being here. The world as we know it has changed, forcing us to adjust to a new normal. For the next several months, it is my hope the pieces I post here, will help get you through the unprecedented times ahead. Once the worse is over, I can refocus on my original plans for the blog. I have a responsibility to help through this medium. We are always better together!

As COVID-19 slowly makes its way into major cities and small suburbs across the nation, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to remain calm and not panic. We have been told by authorities to stay in our homes in order to prevent spread, but that does not mean that we should go crazy inside and solely focus our attention on what is happening with the world outside. Try to limit how much news you watch, especially some of the overhyped reporting that only propagates fear and anxiety. First and foremost, get updates and facts from reliable sources, and then focus your attention elsewhere.

You can avoid contact with other people and wash your hands more carefully, but your ability to remain calm comes from within. That means you’ll have to take the necessary steps in reducing your stress,  anxiety and promoting calmness while the virus runs its course.

Meditation & Mindfulness
So, you’re anxious and stressed as a result of the rapid spread of Coronavirus. If you’ve never attempted meditation or any mindfulness techniques in the past, this is a perfect time. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can play a huge role in helping you to maintain your mental and emotional health, even benefiting aspects of your physical health.
Meditation can help you have a greater outlook on life (positivity, increased feelings of calmness, greater self-awareness, reduced levels of anxiety and stress, and improved focus. The best part is, there are many different types of meditation. If you’re able to focus for long periods of time, guided meditations or visualization techniques are the ways to go. When you’re looking to stay more active while quarantined,  yoga or Pilates are great options!

Finding a Creative Outlet
You might be stuck in the house for the next few weeks, but it doesn’t mean you have to resort to going stir crazy. In fact, this might only increase your feelings of panic! This is a great time to try out some new (or old) creative hobbies. When you’re focused on building or creating something new, you’re reducing the amount of focus on the negativity surrounding you. Creativity is a solid way of helping you to relax. There are a few things you might want to try out (if you have supplies at home); painting, coloring, or drawing, singing or playing musical instruments taking photos or videos of things you enjoy, building something with things lying around the house, writing, puzzles, learning a new language.
Reading something and then writing an essay about it (yes, remember English 101 class?). This is a great way to take your mind off the world’s troubles. Basically, the goal here is to find an activity or task, that requires an intense amount of focus and makes you happy. You won’t even notice that you spent the last hour drawing your favorite cartoon character.

Giving Back & Helping Others
It’s completely natural to be fearful of the unknown but giving back to others can help you to tackle fear. When you’re giving back to the community or helping those in need, you’ll be working to spread compassion and happiness rather than fear and anxiety. With so many people sick or self-quarantined, most people aren’t permitted to leave the home. However, these individuals do still have needs that they now can’t meet on their own. As long as you’re keeping your distance, you can deliver food and groceries, or do things like their yard work. It’ll make you feel good about yourself while also helping those who need it! So, call your neighbors, post something on your Social Media, to let those in need know you are available and how to get in contact.

Final Thoughts
You might not be able to cure COVID-19, but there are things you can do to reduce panic and invoke an overwhelming sense of calmness. By taking advantage of mindfulness, looking for a creative outlet, and even giving back to those who need it, you’ll be able to stay calm and centered, even now!

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan

Fix Your Focus


Are you constantly wishing you had more time? Truth is, you probably have plenty of it. You’re just not focused, and not using your time wisely. Everyone receives 24 hours each day. There’s a reason why some people accomplish much more than others.

Reasons you never have enough time, and how to free it up

You fail to prioritize. What’s the most important activity you must do in order for you to accomplish your objective? If you’re not asking yourself this question regularly, you’re not getting the most bang for your time and effort. It’s easy to stay busy and accomplish very little. Once you decide what is important, the next question is “ “What is the best way to accomplish it?”
You waste it. This could be due to procrastination, and inefficient work habits. Make the choice to avoid wasting time, period.
You’re disorganized. When you’re not organized, everything takes longer than it should. You spend valuable time looking for a pair of clean socks, car keys, searching for computer files, trying to pull things off at the last minute.
Disorganized people never seem to have enough time, they’re frequently late with their work. There are countless resources available (apps, calendars, dropbox, project management software, etc.). Use them.
You have too many distractions in your life. Social media interactions, TV, needlepoint, your baseball card collection, noisy kids, clutter, or your prize-winning rose bushes. Remove unnecessary things and schedule. Minimize the distractions you can’t remove!
You don’t start your day early enough. Most of us do little in the evening. Often, we ly around the house, crawl social media etc. Many highly successful people skip these hours, by going to bed and waking up extra early. Your brain tends to shut down by the late afternoon, whether you started your day at 9:00AM or 5:00AM. Give yourself a few extra productive hours, by getting up early and going to bed early.
Failing to keep track of your time. Track how you spend your time every day. Switch tasks when appropriate so everything receives the attention it requires. Keep a simple journal. Make a record of how you spend each hour.
You don’t have a plan for the day. Your days shouldn’t be random or determined on the fly. Plan the next day before going to bed. Spend your day executing the plan as much as possible.
You’re not focused. We’ve been told to “focus” or “concentrate” since kindergarten. Too bad the education system never taught us how. If we sit down to work on something for an hour, how many minutes is our attention truly focused on the task? We probably have plenty of time to accomplish our daily tasks, if we focus. Practice meditation. Practice focusing. Every change we desire takes time. Be patient with your setbacks and failures.

Make the most of your time by prioritizing, removing distractions, and learning how to focus. You have all the time you need if you’re willing to make the necessary adjustments to yourself and your life. You have 24 hours each day. What will you have to show for tomorrow?

Until the next post,

Juan