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Stress Management

What is Stress?

It's important to remember that stress per se is not a medical condition. It is, however, our reaction (different in all of us) to what we regard as our ability to cope with the pressures and demands on us. It is those reactions which, unless we recognise and deal with them, lead to illness. So for example, your blood pressure may rise when you have what you regard as "too much to do". If you always have "too much to do" you run the longer term risk of illnesses associated with raised blood pressure levels. But it's also important to recognise that what is "too much" for one person may be perfectly acceptable for another. We are all different.

So stress can be seen as a response to a stimulus, a change, a demand or set of circumstances. The only time we are not under pressure is when we are dead! And pressure is not all bad. The adrenaline that flows when we are excited, or anticipating pleasure is good. Pressure helps keep us mentally alert and stable. It represents challenge, a pressure or stimulation which can lead to the satisfaction of accomplishments.

When does stress become unhealthy?

It differs for us all. Some of us have high levels of tolerance for stress and can take a lot of pressure. Our level of tolerance differs at different times in our lives. It can be a small stressor that will literally be the last straw for some of us. Stressors can be physical or emotional. Stressors of sufficient magnitude can overwhelm anyone. Unhealthy stress occurs when people are suffering from overload and cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel. Pressures at home and at work can easily make us "tightly wound". However, the physical and behavioural effects can come from too little pressure as well as too much.

Using stress positively

STRESS, at a healthy level, helps prolong our lives. Being exposed to repeated pressure at intermittent intervals stimulates the adrenaline in our bodies and keeps its defence mechanism working at peak performance. A regular shot of adrenaline is a great cure for lethargy and boredom. The stimulation of occasional anxiety and fear keeps us alive and alert. We even need a level of stress to get out of bed in the morning!

Enjoying the stimulus without suffering from excesses

Dealing successfully with pressure is learning to keep a balance within and between our minds and bodies. With experience we can recognise our own stress triggers and our levels of pressure and refuse to be pushed either way. We can modify our behaviour when faced with challenges or pressures: our lives need variety for balance. We can learn to plan so that we have the necessary amounts of stimulation, rest, play, exercise, relaxation, healthy food, good relationships and emotional support that we need if we are to deal well with pressure and achieve happiness and well being.

Stress Management Quick Guides

If you can recognise the signs of being over-stressed and learn how to manage your stress levels, you will find it improves almost all areas of life.

For stress management tips take a look at our Coping Under Pressure Quick Guide or our Quick Guide on Developing a Positive Attitude.

Stress Management Courses

Zee Associates' stress management courses will help you and your staff manage their pressures, workloads and priorities more effectively. The following training courses cover stress management: Coping Under PressureStress Management: Advanced Team Techniques.