Why do we become stressed?
Did you know that stress is an evolutionary function which was vital for our ancestors thousands of years ago? It was to protect themselves and their children from creatures like wolves and large wild cats such as pumas or cougars.
See, stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of threat or danger. When something triggers you into feeling threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol for crisis situations.
Fast forward to 2016 and stress is seen as a burden and quite frankly, it should be. In 2012 it cost the UK economy just under £6.5 billion (or £6,427,200,000 if you want to be precise).
If you’re reading this, I hope you’ve never had to deal with wolves or mountain lions in your workplace and so (unless you are being chased by wild panthers through your workplace – in which case I’m sorry) stress is a bodily function which has no use for us in modern times.
It’s incredible that some managers still do not take stress seriously. Not hitting your targets or looming deadlines can have the same effect on your body as being attacked by a predator 10,000 years ago.
It can cause both mental and physical health issues such as; heart disease, digestive problems, depression, weight issues, sleep problems, body pains, skin conditions such as eczema and auto immune diseases.
Here are a few things you can do to combat stress in the workplace:
The brain is made up of around 78% water. Not staying hydrated enough during the day can stunt how efficiently the brain works and cause migraines. It will also help regulate your body’s natural temperature and stop you from getting hot flushes.
Your physical and mental health go hand in hand. Taking care of your body gives you a greater resilience against the symptoms of stress. Spending an evening a week lifting weights, playing sports or going for a jog to the shops can help.
What snacks you eat
The food you eat can have an effect on your mood and how well you cope. Try bringing berries into work as a snack. They contain strong antioxidants which energise the body and are a lot healthier than other options such as high-sugar energy drinks.
Social interaction is the body’s most evolved tactic when it comes to responding to stress. It’s not surprising that people with groups of supportive friends and a strong family unit are less susceptible to breakdowns due to stress.
The more details you know about a stressful situation, the easier it is to deal with it. Do you know what to expect if you don’t hit a certain deadline? Do you know if you can realistically meet it or who you can get help from? Prepare this all in your head and take control of the situation.