Stress is the No 1 reason for absence in the UK workplace.
So what causes stress and how can we manage it more effectively in our lives?
There are 3 different approaches to Stress Management: –
(i) Stressors – these are caused by external situations, for example, public speaking.
A lot of people find public speaking very stressful.
But some people love it – so is there more to stress than just the external situation?
(ii) Signs of Strain – this involves looking at the individual for signs of strain when subjected to a potential stressor.
This looks like a step forward as it takes into account the uniqueness of the individual.
But what if we fail to spot the sign of strain? And what if the individual shows no external sign of strain?
Many personality profiles measure people under normal and stress situations – and I know from personal experience that the people who’s personality moves very little from normal to stressful situations are the most difficult to spot when they are under pressure. They don’t show signs of stress until they blow up.
(iii) Transactional – this states that it is always how we as individuals respond to a specific situation that causes stress.
Once we acknowledge this, stress is always a choice.
In fact it is as easy as A-B-C…
A – Activating Event
B – Belief System
C – Consequence
In this model, there is always a human reaction between the situation (A) and the subsequent stress (C).
So public speaking itself is not stressful, but how many of us react (B) to the prospect of it is what causes the stress.
Stress coaches emphasise that all situations can be managed and our responses appropriate.
In my next article, I’ll explore how we can go about managing our responses and, on the rare occasion that we do suffer stress, how we go about getting that stress out of our system as soon as possible.