Are you kidding me?
No I’m certainly not kidding! Most organizations handle stress at the door. You are puzzled?
Do you have a job? Then you made it through the door, HIRED!
Corporations and other organizations want to be sure the people they hire can perform and contribute. They checked your record of past work, your education, and your attitude and behavior during the interview process.
Companies don’t really think about that process as keeping stress out. They just look at performance and potential. There are 2 reasons they don’t even think about stress.
Why should you care?
Because it is not enough that you made it through the “Door”. There is always stress at work, at home and everywhere. That’s a normal part of life. In terms of neuroscience the survival programming deep in the subconscious part of your brain will always be challenged. How well you deal with it affects not only your work and career progress. How well you deal with it affects your personal life, health, happiness and your loved ones around you.
That’s why it pays to be alert to how you manage your stress.
Personal stress management - WHY?
First, stress instantly affects your performance. There is less blood and oxygen in the thinking part of your brain. Plus your stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline tend to make you either overly aggressive or defensive. The latter happens when you perceive yourself in a situation as powerless. This can happen at work and at home.
Secondly, over time stress sabotages your health. Cortisol keeps you awake and restless at night. Poor sleep causes you more stress the next day. Stress causes your liver to put more glucose into your blood. Sitting at your desk will cause it to be turned into fat. Stress increases your cravings for sweets and fat, you know what that means. Stress will reduce the blood flow to your digestive system thus debilitating your metabolism. It increases your blood pressure and heart rate. Over time these factors will increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and being overweight.
What can you do?
There is a lot you can do to avoid the negative effects of stress. It will take a whole book to do this because all of the ways you can reduce stress. So for today let’s just provide a brief summary.
Keep a positive attitude
Stress has a lot to do with how you perceive the situation. For example, somebody gets fired. Someone with a very positive attitude will say, “hey this is a great opportunity to look for a better job.” Another one who is in the habit of always looking at the negative side will feel terrible and depressed. A little oversimplified, but attitude has a lot to do with it. Stress has a lot to do with whether we perceive a situation as threatening our survival or not.
Move, walk and exercise
Moving your body and exercise has a huge positive impact on managing your stress. There is a simple reason for that. Stress is a result of our most basic survival impulse, fight or flight. The stress response mobilizes everything in your body to move quickly, either to run away or to fight for your survival. When you move and exercise your body can normalize again without leaving negative side effects.
Eat healthy food
The main functions of your body, metabolism, digestion and brain functions haven’t changed much in the last 50,000 years. That’s why the stress and survival functions still follow the ancient rules of millennia ago. That’s also true for the kind of food your body can use to be healthy. Your body thrives on natural foods of the hunters and gatherers. Fresh green vegetables and legumes, some fruits and nuts, perhaps some white grains and seeds, and animal proteins and fat.
Laughter, meditation, mindfulness and yoga
A good belly laugh can reduce stress in your body for up to 4 hours! Meditation, mindfulness and yoga all relax your body and calm your anxious brain. These practices are not always easy to use during high stress. They take discipline, training and persistence. Yet the effect can make your life easier and more fulfilling.
What to avoid
There was no refined sugar then. There were no processed foods designed to addict your taste buds and maintain weeks and months of shelf life. Why do they put sugar in everything from bread to even hot dogs and sausages? Because sugar is so addictive you eat more of their products. An extreme example is beef jerky which is supposed to be a healthy protein. It has often 4 to 6 grams of sugar added to it. The same is true for much of so-called “healthy” whole grain bread. Sugar puts enormous stress on your health and well-being. It is causes of low-grade inflammation which results in muscle and body aches. Cutting out sugar is difficult because it’s so addictive. To help you there dozens of books available.
High stress organizations
Organizations just like people have their own stress profile. Sometimes the business is super high paced and demanding. But if the company has good policies, systems and management these demands can be fun, exciting and challenging in a positive way. Then the stress can be managed well. On the other hand there are organizations which have dysfunctional systems and bad policies, even abusive management. That makes it hard or impossible to handle your stress. It may be time to look discreetly for a better company and job.
Getting shown to the door - FIRED
If people don’t function well the organization will send them out. For the organization to function well, they cannot have people who don't deal with stress effectively and therefore don’t do their job well. You can look at the top ten negative effects of stress and see how they will inevitably cause problems at work and in business. Therefore, it’s so important to keep your stress down. This allows you to perform at your best. This makes you most competitive and least expendable. The company will need you even in difficult times when others have to leave.
Getting an edge - GOOD STRESS MANAGEMENT
Now it is clear that good stress management can really give you an edge. Not only does it make your life easier. It makes your work and profession more fun. Ease and fun make your body and your mind healthier and happier. Isn’t that worth getting into a habit of managing your stress well?
Your expert, working hard to keep stress low and managed with ease,
Fred George Sauer
“I could kick myself”
Did you ever come out of an important meeting and just after you walked out you realized you had forgotten to make one really important point?
Did somebody, maybe a boss or coworker, criticize, attack or embarrass you? You handled it as well as you could at the time. And yet a little bit later you thought, “why didn’t I do this?” Or “why didn’t I say that?”
You are not alone!
Believe me this happens to a lot of people a lot of the time. Certainly it has happened to me. I remember pitching an important project to a director in the company. I felt certain I communicated the benefits of the project well. Yet I noticed still some subtle expression of discomfort or doubt. Maybe the approach was too new and unfamiliar. Maybe some past experience bothered her. I noticed her uncertainty but didn’t probe any further. Shortly afterwards it became very clear to me that I missed a chance to really connect. I could have gained the director’s trust. How could I have missed that opportunity?
The annoying pest
Or think of another situation. Someone says a nasty thing to you or treats you badly. You give them a piece of your mind. Yet afterwards you still feel bad. Certainly you think why didn’t I do this or do that? There is an important reason why shortly after a critical situation you think of a better solution.
Why does this happen?
Because our brain reacts to the subtle stress of the situation. It is an ancient survival impulse. The subconscious part of your brain manages that survival effect. It is the Fight, Flight or Freeze Response. I call it the 3 F’s. What happens? You feel a little pressure, some subtle anxiousness barely noticeable. Yet the 3F mechanism will immediately pull blood out of your thinking brain. There is less oxygen and your thinking slows, even gets just a little foggy. Your focus narrows and some tunnel vision limits your perception. The 3F reflex gets you ready for fight or flight or worse freeze, which is playing dead. But that makes you less effective in a stressful situation in modern life.
Stress is a natural reaction
So any stress, whether it is just a slight annoyance barely felt or big shock which overwhelms, is a result of our natural survival reaction in the brain. In seconds it changes the functioning of your body and mind. We covered that in detail in a free report.
That is why learning to manage your stress on a daily basis is so important. You never know when a stressful situation triggers this automatic reflex. Often you barely notice that some subtle stress starts to distract your mind. But at a moment’s notice it will affect how you react and how well you get along. It will dictate how successful you are in that moment. If you manage your stress you will do well. If you manage your stress you will have nothing to regret or feel unhappy about later on.
At the time the problem I described above happened I didn’t know about stress and what to do about it. That I didn’t discover until years later. Now I’m better prepared and you can be too.
Your stress analyst still not quite perfect;)
Fred George Sauer
A great holiday to look forward to, late spring and the weather is mild. It's a perfect time to get out into nature or have a BBQ in the backyard. Here in the Northern States we can start planting as the danger of frost is gone. Yet, since our blog is about stress there are some serious issues to talk about.
Wars and Veterans
The US has been blessed having peace within her borders for a very long time. But our troops are being sent into wars far away in hostile lands. We celebrate these veterans as our heroes on this holiday. Yet what happens when these heroes return from battle to their peaceful homes?
Memories of Stress
When these women and men return, it is often the memories they carry back in their brain which make it difficult to integrate into “normal” life. Many adapt well to civilian life. But others have stressful memories of harsh and unbearable experiences. These memories can be so powerful that they penetrate the mind and affect the ability to function “normally”.
Why does that happen?
Because these stressful memories are managed in the subconscious, “emotional” part of our brain. Emotions drive our day-to-day reactions to life. The intense memories of omnipresent danger, sudden violence and death, often in strange inhospitable places put the vet’s brain easily into heavy stress and “survival” mode, often so much so as to result in PTSD.
Veterans Need Our Support
Therefore veterans need more support than only our respect and parades. Start with understanding how stress can affect us.
> Stress Symptoms
In Michigan, "Hire MI Vet" helps veterans get jobs through hiring and networking events.
What SciStressEFT Can Do
SciStressEFT, scientific stress management, can help veterans reduce and get rid of stress. Here is EFT research that shows the results veterans with PTSD can achieve:
> PTSD improvement in veterans
For Memorial Day, let's take action in support of our heroes.
Your stress coach, who has suffered from PTSD himself.
> Why Do I Work With STRESS?
Fred George Sauer
What a strange thought!
How can a wonderful day which honors mom be stressy?
Why would feelings of guilt intrude on such happiness?
Because being a mother can bring a lot of stress with it. And being a daughter or a son, we do not always fully appreciate the pressures mom experiences. For one thing, mom usually does most of the jobs around the house. That is true even if she has a full-time job like many of you moms have.
Therefore, it is easy to feel guilty for not looking after the children enough, not spending enough time with the family, not having the home perfectly organized and clean.
Or mom experiences stress about the children in their teens becoming independent, wanting to be free, and pushing all kinds of limits to the nth degree. Or the children being far away and worrying about their well-being.
My own mom, I am certain, resides in Heaven since the year 2000. I can only fully appreciate her skill, courage, perseverance and love since I began my work with stress 5 years later. Mom was born in the middle of World War I. She lived through the 1920s which were much worse in Germany than e.g. the Great Depression in the USA, and then the Nazi era and World War II. She lost her 2nd son, my little brother, at the end of the war. She raised me, then an only child, as a single working mother. She used her wits to get jobs as her family thought the girl didn’t need to go to college.
Now I hope your mom had it a bit easier and grew up in peace. Still it is never easy to carry and raise children, even if they bring you lots of joy. If you are a mother you know.
So this Mother’s Day make it easy and sweet for mom! If you are mom, make sure to tell your family clearly what you want and what you would appreciate. Make sure there is good communication. And there can be tension and misunderstanding between mothers and the kids. That is more common than we think and often quite natural. Therefore, exercise kindness and forgiveness for this special day and all the time to come. Your life and mom’s will be easier and happier for it.
Plan this important day well and it can be a joyful stress free experience for mom and family. And practice gratitude which is a wonderful experience for those who give it and those receiving it.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful and stress free Mother’s Day.
Your, being so very grateful for his mother, stress analyst,
Fred George Sauer
Our first article on travel took a look at pleasure trips, vacations ("Travel and Stress 1: Happy Trails - 4 Positives"). We saw how a pleasant trip has many elements which reduce stress. Beyond that immediate effect a pleasurable trip leaves experiences and memories which in the future create more good feelings and reduce stress.
Now let’s look at the factors which introduce stress, which make travel more of a challenge.
How could such a beautiful experience cause us stress? Didn’t we just go to this little paradise to get rid of all stress?
Why could there be stress?
Because it is a major change from where we are used to be. Our instinctive brain – this is our ancient “reptilian brain” – doesn’t like change. It gets rattled each time it experiences something different from what it is used to and expects.
Let’s see what can be different:
Therefore, even if we enjoy the different sights, sounds, and smells, our instinctive brain is a little bit concerned.
How could that be? Because our brain developed tens of thousands of years ago. It didn’t change very much since then. The ancient survival components of our brain are subconscious. They have helped us survive. Because each time when there was an external change they switched us into high alert. They ask “what dangers to our survival could this new environment bring?”
This suspiciousness may have saved our lives many times in the past. This alertness can save us from trouble even now. Maybe you walked alone in a nice city but somebody follows you. You automatically walk faster and with a firmer step and clenched your briefcase or purse. Maybe it signaled the person behind you that you were in control and not an easy mark.
And yet even a low level of this suspiciousness and anxiousness dust cloud our judgment. We tend to make decisions we wouldn’t make at home in our normal environment and cope ineffectively.
What if you cope ineffectively?
This will just add more to the stress we already experience.
What if things go really wrong?
Those events are bad even at home or in a familiar environment. But in a strange place far away they can turn into a real disaster, even endanger your life. That’s where planning ahead and managing your stress become really important to your well-being and survival.
To have stress or not to have stress
In this article we talked about all the difficulties and stress which travel can bring. In our article before we looked at all the positive aspects which travel can bring to us to make us feel better and relieve stress. Considering all these potential risks and opportunities can help you minimize difficulties and create positives for your travel experience. Thinking ahead carefully, planning and being prepared will help you to get the most out of your travel be it for pleasure or business.
Wishing you many happy and successful trips! Your stress expert who favors pleasant journeys but doesn’t always get them.
Warmly, Fred George Sauer
> Travel and Stress 1: Happy Trails - 4 Positives