The normal business professional has anywhere from 30 to 100 projects demanding their attention at any one time. Workers today are interrupted on average seven times an hour, which leads to 2.1 hours wasted in daily distraction. Plus 4 out of 10 employees working at a larger company experience major corporate restructuring, which naturally leads to a feeling of uncertainty about their future. Perhaps this is why over 40 percent of adults say they suffer from insomnia triggered by daily stress.
“Answers are needed for these people,” explains Lyle H. Miller, who is a Ph.D. business psychologist, and the author of “The Stress Solution.” “People feel overwhelmed when they perceive themselves as too busy.”
So how can you maintain consistent focus during the work day? How to conserve enough energy after work to still function? What ways are there to handle multiple demands? After 10 years of research at Harvard and field tests on over 6,000 trainees and clients, Miller has come up with six of the most common myths about stress, and ideas for how to lower your work stress to manageable levels.
Myth 1: Stress Is the Same for Everybody
Wrong. One person may find an event joyful and gratifying, but another person may find the same event miserable and frustrating. Sometimes, people may handle stress in ways that make bad situations worse by reacting with feelings of anger, guilt, fear, hostility, anxiety, and moodiness. Each person’s stress level is different due to body chemistry, upbringing, age, and metabolism. So we each have to learn how to deal with stress in an individual way.
Myth 2: Stress Is Always Bad for You
This should mean that no stress at all keeps us healthy, wealthy, and wise. Nonsense. Every person needs a certain amount of stress to keep them alert mentally and physically. Without it, we wilt like a flower in the hot sun without enough water. The trick is to know how much stress is good for you, to keep you on your toes — and how much will start to kill you if you can’t manage it.
Myth 3: Stress Is Everywhere, so You Can’t Do Anything About It
Not quite. If planned well, you can avoid a good portion of stress in your life. An efficient plan means setting your priorities so you can solve simple problems before tackling the harder ones that are more complicated. Mismanaged stress, where there are no priorities, is when it seems like your entire world is made up of nothing BUT stress.
Myth 4: The Most Popular Techniques for Reducing Stress Are the Best Ones
Poppycock! We all respond to stress differently so, there’s no “one size fits all” solution to managing stress.Everyone has different needs at different times in their lives, and only an individual stress management program, tailored to specific, real-time needs, can be of any significant help in managing the stress of daily living.
Myth 5: No Symptoms, No Stress
Nope. Because of the mind-body connection between your mental health and physical health, stress or anxiety often appears physically as vague aches or pains. People may be burying their stress so deep, or medicating it with a wide range of pharmaceuticals and/or recreational substances, so that it appears they haven’t got a care in the world — just like Mount St. Helens appeared dormant before it blew up!
Myth 6: Only Major Symptoms of Stress Require Attention
So you should ignore those headaches and stomach cramps until they go away, right? Not a smart move. Small symptoms of stress are your body’s way of letting you know that something has to change — or those small symptoms grow up into large symptoms, like heart attacks and road rage.
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com
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