Stress is nothing new in human evolution. Our ancestors have experienced stress and its effects. However we all seem to think it is a modern day phenomenon.
Stress has all sorts of definitions. The one I like describes stress as the experience of unpleasant over or under stimulation. Yes – Over Stimulation OR Under Stimulation. We as humans cannot function without some sort of stimulation or challenge. This stimulation provides excitement, drive and indeed motivates us – as long as you feel in control.
Stress is the mismatch between these challenges that face you and your belief in your own ability to cope with those challenges.
Stress can affect you in four different ways:-
1. Physically – you might get headaches or tummy upsets.
2. Emotionally – you might become grumpy and irritable.
3. Mentally – your ability to think might become impaired.
4. Behaviourally – they way you are acting, is not the ‘normal’ you.
There is a lot written about stress and how to cope with and deal with it. Here lies the fundamental problem. A person, who is stressed, does not necessarily know they are stressed! All the medical people say that a certain amount of stress is good for you – as it stimulates the mind and body into action – which is very true. However if we become stressed we will start to become overwhelmed with anxiety, tension, frustration even anger. These emotions will show in the way we interact with people.
The danger here is burn out simply put burn out is a loss of idealism, energy and purpose. Physical and emotional exhaustion is the order of the day as your ‘fuel tanks’ are empty. There are 4 stages to this process:-
Stage 1 – Lots of energy and enthusiasm for the role you play.
Danger signs – Too busy to take holidays or time off. Taking work home. Too little time with family and friends. Unwilling to refuse extra work load.
Stage 2 – Small bouts of irritation, combined with feelings of stagnation. This may lead to you blaming others.
Danger signs – Not happy with quality of other people’s work. Starting to crumble under workload, hence you might to start working extra hours to catch up. Time management goes out of the window.
Stage 3 – Increasing level of anger inside you. Will lead to low self esteem even be quite apathetic.
Danger signs – Life becomes a chore and whatever you do tires you out. Your commitment to work and home life wanes.
Stage 4 – Complete withdrawal, combined with feelings of failure. You may become or feel ill at this point.
Danger signs – Avoiding people, maybe calling in sick at work. Becoming increasingly isolated. Could lead to increased level of alcohol consumption or use of chemical substances.
If you are at any of the 4 stages. STOP and look at the contributing factors, or see a Personal Coach. They will be able to guide you off this self destructive path. It is vital for your well being to take action now!