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The Science of Stress

Posted by Angelica on July - 30 - 2011 with 0 Comment

Quote: “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

 

Stress has become a major problem in our society and the sad thing is really, people who are stressed are either not aware about this or are still living in denial. High stress level makes us feel tired, anxious, and unable to concentrate, tensed, over alert, & depressed. These symptoms soon lead to insomnia or trouble sleeping, eating disorder (overeating or eating less than usual) & addiction towards short term help such as smoking, alcohol & even drugs. When we are stressed, things happen to us in a reaction of the brain telling the body “Survival is getting hard, so get ready to battle”.

Why do we feel stressed?

Organizational factor

Excessive workload

Long working hours

Work affecting home life

Continuous crisis management

Lack of communication

Lack of recognition

Managerial Biasness

Bullying

Harassment

Racism/ Sexism

Repetitive work

Numerous rules & guidelines

Lack of interest

Trust Issues

Isolation

Boredom

Salary related issues

Threats of poor performance

Comparisons among others

Lack of support from managers

Lack of control

Environment factor

Poor work environment

Air Conditioning problems

Too little workspace

Poor lighting

Lack of resources or tools

Noise pollution

Travelling

Poor ventilation

Poor pantry/ washroom facilities

Self factor

Negativity

Lack of motivation

Self Doubt

Low confidence/ self esteem

Health problems

Loss of direction

Financial matters

Family Problems

Changes (marriage, divorce..)

How much stress can we handle?

 

 
 
In a book I read recently, “Managing Workplace Stress: A best practice Blueprint” written by Stephen Williams & Lesley Cooper; it caught my attention on how stress was elucidated.
 
 
 
 

It was an explanation in a simple graph form but made complete sense on how stress or pressure affects productivity:

Level of stress

This graph explains how pressure affects performance which is divided to 5 levels.

Level 1: Known as the Rust Zone is when we are put under very little pressure that causes unproductively due to boredom or don’t care attitude. People in this level have the tendency to brush of task and constantly complaint of boredom.

Level 2: Known as the Comfort Zone is when we are at the level of stress that is comfortable to our tolerance. People are productive doing the task they know or are good at. Most people in the workplace tend to fall into this group.

Level 3: Known as the Stretch Zone is when we push ourselves out of our boundaries of comfort zone thus getting into the ‘learning curve’. This level is usually when both employees & employers gain optimal results of productivity.

Level 4: Known as the Strain Zone is the continuity of Stretch level stress which is the starting point for productivity loss and cause of other illnesses related to stress. People managers are usually ignorant at this point when they don’t see the need to stop or decrease the pressure input on staffs.

Level 5: Known as the Panic Zone is when we are intolerant to stress anymore and stress has overpowered our personal lives and caused major drop in productivity. This is the point which people face nervous breakdowns, panic attacks, major illnesses & change in behavioral attitude towards negativity.

When to say no?

It is healthy to give & receive pressure right up to the Stretch Zone, but once a person feels the symptoms of stress kicking, it’s wise to put a clear stop sign. Any further push factor done by an individual at the Strain Zone will lead to physical illness such as body aches & pain, diarrhea or constipation, frequent cold, rapid heartbeat, & gastrointestinal problems. It is the body’s way of telling to mind ‘Enough Already’.

Bear in mind that different people have different tolerance level to stress. Just because a peer is hanging on, you are not obliged to put up with high amount of stress. Remember that our health comes as a priority and surpasses any other resources available.

 


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