The effects of stress

There is no doubt stress inhibits our lives causing health problems, imbalances, lack of energy and even lack of enthusiasm for life. This in turn has repercussions at work by restricting performance and productivity.

Stress blocks creativity and problem solving. How often have we struggled with a solution to a problem only to find that when we are not thinking about it or just relaxing, the answer pops into our head? Stress just stopped us getting to the solution.

Recognising stress

Stress can manifest itself in many different ways both physically and emotionally - headaches, backaches, apathy and anger can all be symptoms of stress.

The good news is that stress can be controlled.

The real causes of stress

Scientists widely believe that there are only two factors that cause stress.

1. Over-stimulation
2. Negativity

1. Over-stimulation

Over-stimulation is caused by our physical preparedness for our instinctive but out moded "flight or fight" response.

This is rarely as useful nowadays as it was in the days of the sabre-toothed tiger but we still have the biochemical mechanism. What is more, the relentless stimulation in today's world keeps our body and mind constantly prepared for "flight or fight", leaving the body in a state of physical and mental tension. It is not something we can just stop but with stress control intervention it can be controlled.

2. Negativity

The second cause of stress is negativity.

We are all capable of being negative. It is often an unconscious response.

Our continuous self-talk is often negative with self-critical remarks; I could have done that better, I am not good enough, I could work harder and so on. And if it is not ourselves we are negative about, it is others.

Our world is filled with negativity and of course today's media constantly reaffirms this with its news coverage.

Within the workplace negativity can be like a flu virus - contagious. Once negativity becomes a habit within an organisation it is difficult to stop without external intervention.

Stress can be controlled

Stress can be controlled but learning to control stress by oneself is virtually impossible. However with external intervention the process is simple and effective, empowering individuals to use appropriate levels of stress at appropriate times.

The two components of stress control

The first key component of stress control is relaxation. When we are over-stimulated our brain is operating in beta waves but in order for the brain to operate at its full potential it needs to relax into alpha brain waves.

The second key component of stress control is positivity programming. Negativity needs to be programmed out and replaced with positivity.