The Truth About Stress

A New Era of Stress

Can you believe it’s been over 30 years since TIME Magazine published it’s cover story on stress? On June 6, 1983, TIME referred to stress as “America’s leading health problem.” 

35 years have passed and we still use the s-word to describe a lot of conditions we face. But do we really know what it means to be stressed? Think about it, how many times a day do you hear the phrase, “I’m so stressed out.” to describe a person’s, (or your), state of mind.

We’ve found many clever ways to communicate the demands of life on us to others including why we are late, (again), to our appointment with you.

We hear things like:

  • “Sorry, I’ve been so busy”
  •  “Time’s sped up or something!”
  • or “I’ve got so much on my plate right now.”

These type of phrases help communicate the huge amount of pressure we feel everyday.

The Costs of Chronic Stress

I first related to stress when I was a test engineer at a semiconductor company. At that time, I was a single mom working 60-65 hours a week. I was also on call 24/7. It was the decade of the pager and would later be known as, at least for me and my colleagues, the beginning of many corporate layoffs which resulted in a lot more stress.

I remember thinking, “This is not me.” as I took another puff of my cigarette. Back then I called myself a “social drinker and smoker,” only to find myself smoking and drinking on the weekends in an attempt to wash away the stress and exhaustion I had accumulated from my busy work week.

What’s My Age Again?

I started becoming more agitated and slept less. I was tired all the time. As smart as I was, I wouldn’t understand until almost 11 years later what chronic stress does to our mental and emotional health.

But I have to thank those lessons because they brought me into holistic health. Okay, I was at near burnout with something they called adrenal fatigue at the ripe old age of 38 so I had to do something. I had no idea my busy lifestyle was killing me. Better late than never, right?

Can you relate?

I can’t believe that in 2018, we are still talking about being stressed out. Many people my age are tired and/or ill. Many young, driven, creative people in tech jobs are following in my footsteps and are, unknowingly, on the edge of burnout.

I can’t bear to watch our collective health deteriorate. I have to do something more to help.  For years, I’ve witnessed bright, beautiful, goal-oriented people come through my coaching practice in need of relaxation and rejuvenation because they were so tired, burned out, anxiety-ridden or sick with a host of what we now call “mystery illnesses”. This is why I am a Stress Management Consultant.

New Day, New Relationship

I want to start a different conversation about stress. Today we are getting it started. Imagine I’m sitting with you over tea or coffee or some naturally flavored water. Ah! Let’s turn our focus back to basics because I know, as a change management specialist, we must. In fact, returning back to basics is one of the most powerful things we can do to accomplish big goals.

Will the real stress please stand up? Today, I want to share with you the real, basic, definition of stress. It’s not just a fad. It’s not a way to communicate busy-ness. It is a real thing humans go through. And it isn’t all bad, at least it doesn’t have to be.

Did you know that stress is simply a response to change? Read that again. Stress is response to change. It is normal to feel a little “on edge” when you are taking on a new task. In fact, anything that stimulates you and increases your level of alertness is naturally stressful. Additionally, the Stress Response is composed of a diverse combination of reactions on a number of levels:

  • Physiological
  •  Behavioral
  •  Emotional
  • Cognitive

Using Change Wisely

This is why we feel so overwhelmed by new activities. Change requires a lot of us, literally. But we don’t have to suffer from stress. If we know that stress is simply a response to change, we can shift the energy, the overwhelm, of stress into positive motivation.

Let’s have a new conversation about stress. We have to. In a time when more and more people want to know their truth, connect with their authentic self and express themselves creatively, both personally and professionally, we must, absolutely must, revisit the stress ghost of the past and make peace with it.

Stay with me as we explore the nature of our human-ness and build a new, more helpful relationship with stress. And if you are ready to make a shift out of stress, schedule your free 30 minute strategy session with me using the button below.

Remember, good stress promotes creativity and motivation.

 

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Posted in Blog, Stress Management