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STRESS MANAGEMENT AT WORKPLACE

PREPARED BY :
HAZLAWATI ALI BABA
ANDERSEN LANI
HJH ZELIHA @RANIAH JOHARI


Stress Management At Workplace


Introduction

We all experience stress in our lives. Because the vast majority of health problems are caused or influenced by stress, it's important to understand how stress affects your body and learn effective stress management techniques to make stress work for you rather than against you.


What Is Stress?

Stress is your body’s response to changes in your life. Because life involves constant change (ranging from changing locations from home to work each morning to adapting to major life changes like marriage, divorce, or death of a loved one), there is no avoiding stress. This is why your goal shouldn't be to eliminate all stress, but to eliminate unnecessary stress and effectively manage the rest. There are some common causes of stress that many people experience, but each person is different.


Causes of Stress

Stress can come from many sources, which are known as "stressors." Because our experience of what is considered "stressful" is created by our unique perceptions of what we encounter in life (based on our own mix of personality traits, available resources, habitual thought patterns and more), a situation may be perceived as "stressful" by one person and merely "challenging" by someone else.

Simply put, one person's stress trigger may not register as stressful to someone else. That said, certain situations tend to cause more stress in most people and can increase the risk of burnout. For example, when we find ourselves in situations where there are high demands on us; where we have little control and few choices; where we don't feel equipped; where we may be harshly judged by others; and where consequences for failure are steep or unpredictable, we tend to get stressed.

Because of this, many people are stressed by their jobs, their relationships, their financial issues, health problems, and more mundane things like clutter or busy schedules. Learning skills to cope with these stressors can help reduce your experience of stress.


Effects of Stress

Just as stress is perceived differently by each of us, stress affects us all in ways that are unique to us.

One person may experience headaches, while another may find stomach upset is a common reaction, and a third may experience any of a number of other symptoms. While we all react to stress in our own ways, there is a long list of commonly experienced effects of stress that range from mild to life-threatening. Stress can affect immunity, which can impact virtually all areas of health. Stress can affect mood in many ways as well.

If you find yourself experiencing physical symptoms you think may be related to stress, it is important to work on managing that stress and talk to your doctor to be sure you are doing what you can to safeguard your health. Symptoms that may be exacerbated by stress are not "all in your head" and need to be taken seriously.


Effective Stress Management

Stress can be effectively managed in many different ways. The best stress management plans usually include a mix of stress relievers that address stress physically and psychologically, and help to develop resilience and coping skills.

 Use quick stress relievers. Some stress relief techniques can work in just a few minutes to calm the body's stress response. These techniques offer a "quick fix" that helps you feel calmer in the moment, and this can help in several ways. When your stress response is not triggered, you may approach problems more thoughtfully and proactively. You may be less likely to lash out at others out of frustration, which can keep your relationships healthier. Nipping your stress response in the bud can also keep you from experiencing chronic stress. Quick stress relievers like breathing exercises, for example, may not build your resilience to future stress or minimize the stressors that you face, but they can help calm the body's physiology once the stress response is triggered.

 Develop stress-relieving habits. Some techniques are less convenient to use when you are in the middle of a stressful situation. But if you practice them regularly, they can help you manage stress in general by being less reactive to it and more able to reverse your stress response quickly and easily. Long-term healthy habits, like exercise or regular meditation, can help to promote resilience toward stressors if you make them a regular part of your life. Communication skills and other lifestyle skills can be helpful in managing stressors and changing how we feel from "overwhelmed" to "challenged" or even "stimulated."

 Eliminate stressors when you can. You may not be able to completely eliminate stress from your life, or even the biggest stressors, but there are areas where you can minimize it and get it to a manageable level. Any stress that you can cut out can minimize your overall stress load. For example, ending even one toxic relationship can help you more effectively deal with other stress you experience because you may feel less overwhelmed.


Cortisol and Stress :How to Stay Healthy When You Are Feeling Stressed

Cortisol is closely linked with stress. It is a hormone that works as a key player in the body's stress response and is often measured in research as an indicator of stress. Cortisol plays a vital role in the body's functioning; it's secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more:

    Proper glucose metabolism

    Regulation of blood pressure

    Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance

    Immune function

    Inflammatory response


Positive Effects of Cortisol

Cortisol levels can fluctuate among individuals and in the same people at different times in the day. For example, normally, cortisol is present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at it is lowest at night. The cycle repeats daily.

It can also fluctuate based on what a person is experiencing. For instance, although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it has been termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s stress response and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body. Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects:

    A quick burst of energy for survival reasons

    Heightened memory functions

    A burst of increased immunity

    Lower sensitivity to pain

    Helps maintain homeostasis in the body

Some people experience a greater spike in cortisol than others when they experience stress. It is also possible to minimize the amount of cortisol you secrete in response to stressors. This can be accomplished using stress management techniques on a regular basis.


Effects of Too Much Cortisol and Stress

While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal following a stressful event. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that the body doesn’t always have a chance to return to normal, resulting in a state of chronic stress. Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (such as those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:

    Impaired cognitive performance

    Suppressed thyroid function

    Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia

    Decreased bone density

    Decrease in muscle tissue

    Higher blood pressure

    Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences

    Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, developing metabolic syndrome, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems.


How To Stay Balanced

To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, the body’s relaxation response should be activated after the fight or flight response occurs. You can learn to relax your body with various stress management techniques, and you can make lifestyle changes in order to keep your body from reacting to stress in the first place. The following have been found by many to be very helpful in relaxing the body and mind, aiding the body in maintaining healthy cortisol levels:

    Guided Imagery

    Journaling

    Self-Hypnosis

    Exercise

    Yoga

    Listening to Music

    Breathing Exercises

    Meditation

    Sex

    Other Techniques


Cortisol and You

As mentioned before, cortisol secretion varies among individuals. People are biologically ‘wired’ to react differently to stress. One person may secrete higher levels of cortisol than another in the same situation. And this tendency can change at different times in a person's life. Studies have also shown that people who secrete higher levels of cortisol in response to stress also tend to eat more food and food that is higher in carbohydrates than people who secrete less cortisol. If you’re more sensitive to stress, it’s especially important for you to learn stress management techniques and maintain a low-stress lifestyle. This is a great way to get cortisol secretion under control and maintain a healthy lifestyle at the same time.Getting more information on stress and resources to help you to manage it can help you to build habits that can help you to cope with stress once your stress response is triggered.


What Are Your Stress Symptoms?

We all experience stress in our daily lives from different sources: jobs, relationships, finances. And whether you’re dealing with a daily stressor, chronic stress, or a major life challenge like illness or divorce, stress can take a significant toll on you both physically and emotionally. How do you know when you’re dealing with a level of stress that’s unhealthy for you?

The answer to this question can be tricky for a few reasons:

    Wide Variety of Effects: Stress affects the body in many different ways. Some of these are obvious, but others may not be as noticeable or easy to detect until they become more severe.

    Personal Differences: Different people are affected more or less intensely and in different ways.

    Ambiguity of Symptoms: The effects of stress often look like symptoms of other illnesses (partially due to the fact that stress lowers immunity and makes us vulnerable to many things), sometimes people mistake symptoms of illness for stress and vice versa.

    Habituation: People who thrive on stress tend to feel it as their natural state, making it more difficult to discern stress symptoms until after much of their stress is alleviated.

    Feeling Too Overwhelmed To Notice Stress: Ironically, when under high levels of stress, people often find it difficult to stop and notice their body’s responses. It seems counterintuitive that someone could be "too stressed to feel stressed," but it does happen.

While stress affects everyone in a unique way, there are certain factors that are common. If you are experiencing any of the following, it could be a sign that you’re being affected by stress:

Headaches

Certain types of headaches can be related to stress. Tension headaches tend to feel like you have a band wrapped around the sides of your head and that band is slowly tightening.If you’re experiencing more headaches, especially tension headaches, stress could be the culprit.

More Frequent Colds or Flu

There’s an inverse relationship between stress and immunity, meaning the greater your stress levels, the lower the effectiveness of your immune system, generally speaking. This is true for stress that is greater in severity or stress that is more chronic. Decreased immunity means you're more susceptible to everything from colds to more significant health issues, so if you’re under too much stress, you may be getting sick more often.

Sleep Problems

There are many ways that stress affects sleep. Stress can make sleep come less easily and can lead to wakefulness throughout the night. Too much stress can rob you of sleep and make the sleep you get less restorative.

General Anxiety

Anxiety does serve an important function for survival, but if you’re feeling anxious much of the time, it could be because you have too many stressors in your life, or it may indicate a medical condition like generalized anxiety disorder. If you experience an increase in anxiety, you may want to talk to your doctor.

‘Fuzzy Thinking’

Your body’s stress response pumps your body with hormones that make it possible for you to fight or flee quickly.

It was built for infrequent stress, however, and stress that is short in duration. When triggered in excess, this stress response can actually cause you to think less quickly.

Feelings of Frustration

If you’re faced with many demands at once, the natural result for many people is increased frustration and irritability. This can lead to more difficulty in relationships as well as in personal happiness. The trick is to find ways to prevent frustration and calm down quickly.

Lowered Libido

Stress can affect your libido in several ways. If you’re too tired for sex, or can’t seem to find the time for your partner, this can be due to stress in your life as well. This lack of sex drive can also create more stress in your romantic relationships, leading to yet another example of poorly managed stress leading to greater levels of stress to manage.

These are just a few of the many ways that stress can affect your body and mind. For a more thorough assessment of stress symptoms that you may have, take our free assessment test, The Stress Symptom Quiz, and find more information to help with specific symptoms of stress that you may be experiencing. Also, scroll down for more resources.


5 Things to Know About the Effects of Stress

While there's a wealth of information available about the effects of stress, it can be stressful trying to wade through it all. Here are ten important facts about the effects of stress that can go a long way in helping you understand stress and its role in your life. This can help you quickly and easily learn more about the effects of stress and find some effective stress management techniques to incorporate into your life right now.

1. The Wrong Attitude Significantly Increases Your Stress Level

People who move through the world in a Type A pattern of behaviour typically rush frantically and treat others with hostility, among other things. If you react to life in a Type A manner, you’re probably bringing unnecessary emotional stress to relationships with aggressiveness. You may be missing simple solutions to problems because you’re rushing so much that you don’t pay close enough attention to details, and thereby creating bigger problems. The Type A pattern also typically brings health problems somewhere down the road.

Sometimes, the enemy is inside your head in the form negative self-talk. The way we talk to ourselves, while generally formed during childhood, can follow us through our lives and colour each experience like a ray of sunshine or a dark cloud surrounding us and blocking our vision. Those whose self-talk tends to be negative may attribute malevolent intent to others when none exists, interpret potentially positive events as negative and missing important benefits, or create a self-fulfilling prophecy by believing that their stress level is more than they can handle. If you suspect that you habitually use negative self-talk in your daily life, it’s not too late to learn positive self-talk. By keeping a journal and using other tools to become more aware of your inner voice, using positive affirmations and surrounding yourself with positive energy, you can turn things around for the better, and experience much less mental and emotional stress in your daily life.

2. The Way You Think Can Make You Sick

Stress-related illness is very common, as is the misconception that physical symptoms that occur due to stress are not serious or not "real" problems. Psychosomatic illness originates with emotional stress or damaging thought patterns but has physical symptoms that are real and can harm you as much as symptoms that originate from other means. In fact, it's been estimated that over 90% of doctor visits are due to health problems influenced at least in part by stress, so psychosomatic illness is more common than people realize.

When you are under stress, you may experience physical symptoms. These can include aches, pains, muscle spasms, and headaches, possibly from unconsciously tensing your muscles for extended periods. Your nervous system is on edge from the fight-or-flight adrenaline and cortisol responses to stress. This affects your blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and glucose levels. You can have stomach and bowel symptoms. These symptoms can lead you to see a doctor, who then may rule out any disease process that might be causing them. Without a diagnosis, you may only get treatment aimed at relieving the symptoms, or no treatment at all. You may continue to have the symptoms or only partial relief from them.

What can you do when psychosomatic illness and medically unexplained symptoms continue? A few reviews have looked at what nonpharmacological solutions might be effective.

A review of studies found that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) had a moderate effect on symptoms that was superior to control groups that either received treatment as usual or enhanced usual care, or remained on a waiting list. But the studies had several weaknesses, including publication bias. A previous review of a variety of psychological therapies also found that CBT was the most studied and had enough evidence to draw a conclusion that it may result in a small reduction in symptom severity compared to standard care or the waiting list. However, taking the step of seeing a psychologist is a big one for many people, let alone the cost of therapy. Self-help appears to be effective for reducing medically unexplained symptoms and improving quality of life. A review of studies found that self-help lowered symptom severity and seemed to maintain that effect on follow-up compared with usual care or being on a waiting list. These studies also were weak for methodology.

3. By Imagining Your Stress Gone, It Can Be

You may not always be in the mood for meditation when your thoughts are racing, though it is a powerhouse of a stress reliever; you may sometimes face relationship stress that isn't as well-managed by breathing exercises (another highly effective stress reliever) as it might be by learning communication techniques. Guided imagery is fantastic for before bedtime while games are an optimal stress reliever to share with friends.

Practicing guided imagery is a fun and simple way to take a break from stress, clarify what you want, and build optimism. It's a relatively quick pathway to mental peace. Meditation brings short-term stress relief as well as lasting stress management benefits. There are many different forms of meditation to try – each one is unique and brings its own appeal.

4. Take a Walk

Exercise can be a great stress reliever in itself, as it helps you blow off steam and releases endorphins. Taking a walk when stressed can bring you the benefits of exercise — both shortterm and long-term, and it provides the bonus of getting you out of the stressful situation. This can provide you with some perspective so you can return in a new frame of mind. Walking with a good friend can be a nice way to find social support, and walking alone can provide you with some time to think, reframe, and return with a more optimistic frame of mind. If you're not in a position to leave, you can feel better right away by practicing breathing exercises. Getting more oxygen into your body and releasing physical tension are two ways that breathing exercises can benefit you, and you can do them anytime or anywhere, even if your demanding situation isn't letting up.

Sometimes we intensify our experience of stressful situations by the way we look at them. If you can look at your situation differently, you may be able to put it into a different perspective — one that causes you less stress! Read more about mental and emotional stress that can be caused by pessimism, type A traits, and other self-sabotaging thought patterns, and learn how you can change the way you look at things. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a technique where you tense and release all of your muscle groups, leaving your body to feel more relaxed afterward. PMR is one of my favourite techniques, as it can be done by just about anyone, and with practice, you can fully release virtually all the tension you're feeling in your body in a matter of seconds! This can help you feel calmer and better able to handle the situations at hand.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a technique where you tense and release all of your muscle groups, leaving your body to feel more relaxed afterward, it can be done by just about anyone, and with practice, you can fully release virtually all the tension you are feeling in your body in a matter of seconds. This can help you feel calmer and better able to handle the situations at hand. Once you have been able to calm down, you should be in a better position to address whatever stressful situations you're experiencing. It's also a good idea to adopt a few regular stress relievers and healthy lifestyle habits so that you can reduce your overall stress level so that you experience less stress and are less bothered by the stressful situations you do encounter.

5. Unhealthy Responses to Stress and Common Bad Habits

There are many ways to manage stress effectively, but sometimes our most automatic seeming responses aren't the best ways to cope. If you tend to deal with stress in less-thanhealthy ways, you probably already realize that you are compounding the negative impacts of stress on your health. This can happen when your responses to stress make the challenges you face more challenging; this exacerbates your stress levels and creating new problems in your life and health.

Multitudes of people enjoy a daily caffeine intake, as evidenced by the extreme popularity of Starbucks and other coffee houses. And while the occasional coffee isn’t going to do you great harm, it’s important to remember that caffeine is, in fact, a drug, and it’s possible to have a full-blown caffeine addiction. More likely and common, however, is caffeine dependence, where people use caffeine to jump-start their energy in the morning, use it throughout the day to stave off a "caffeine crash," and then find their sleep disturbed by caffeine, causing them to wake up tired and need the caffeine jolt to get going again the next day. As the cycle continues, caffeine affects stress levels as well.

For smokers, a cigarette can feel like a good stress reliever. In fact, during times of stress, a cigarette feels almost necessary, and quitting the habit can seem virtually impossible. (Due in part to physical addiction and in part to habit and other social and lifestyle factors, it’s been said that quitting smoking is as difficult as quitting heroin.) Unfortunately, we all know that cigarettes can be costly financially speaking and especially health-wise and because smoking creates much more stress than it alleviates, it’s more than worth it to kick the habit.

Many people find that a glass of wine can be a good way to unwind at the end of a stressful day, and most physicians and researchers agree, citing studies that show that red wine has benefits for heart health. However, drinking can be a slippery slope as excessive drinking can cause problems in virtually every area of a person’s life, causing much more stress in the long run. If you are one who has trouble limiting alcohol consumption to one or two drinks, and even if you can drink very moderately but find that this is your only regular stress management practice, it would likely be in your best interest to pursue other forms of stress relief. For additional ideas on stress relief practices, here’s a long and varied list of stress relievers.

Most of us let our friends Ben & Jerry help us reduce stress with ice cream on occasion (or at least most of the people who took this poll on emotional eating said they did), but if eating the wrong things becomes the main coping mechanism for stress, it can lead to compromised health, excessive weight, and additional stress stemming from these effects.

A poor diet can cause additional stress also by leading to blood sugar imbalances that make stressful situations seem more overwhelming. If you find that stress leads to poor dietary habits because of emotional eating, or for other reasons (like you’re just too busy to cook healthy dinners at home), you can learn to adopt healthier eating habits with these resources. Additional unhealthy responses and bad habits include self-sabotage and lashing out at others, working to the point that you live an imbalanced lifestyle, and other things.


Conclusion

Stress, in everyday terms, is a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands. These demands can be related to finances, work, relationships, and other situations, but anything that poses a real or perceived challenge or threat to a person's well-being can cause stress. Stress can be a motivator. It can be essential to survival. The "fight-or-flight" mechanism can tell us when and how to respond to danger. However, if this mechanism is triggered too easily, or when there are too many stressors at one time, it can undermine a person's mental and physical health and become harmful.

Stress can cause or influence the course of many medical conditions including psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. Medical problems can include poor healing, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, poorly controlled diabetes and many other conditions. Stress management is recognized as an effective treatment modality to include pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic components.

How we react to a difficult situation will affect how stress affects us and our health. A person who feels they do not have enough resources to cope will be more likely to have a stronger reaction, and one that can trigger health problems. Stressors affect individuals in different ways. Techniques for stress management can be gained from self-help books, online resources, or by attending a stress management course. A counsellor or psychotherapist can connect an individual who has stress with personal development courses or individual and group therapy sessions.


References

Hambly K., Muir A. (1997) Stress Management in Primary Care, Butterworth Heinemann.

Seaward B.L. (1999) Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Wellbeing, 2nd edition, Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Posen D. (1995) Stress Management for Physician and Patient, web article. Retrieved fromhttp://www.mentalhealth.com/mag1/p51-str.html

Elizabeth Scott (2017). Top 10 Things to Know About the Effects of Stress. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/effects-of-stress-10-helpful-things-to-know-3145254

Elizabeth Scott, MS (2017). Ways to Calm Down Quickly When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/ways-to-calm-down-quickly-when-overwhelmed-3145197

Elizabeth Scott, MS (2018). Prevent Stress-Related Psychosomatic Illness. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-handle-psychosomatic-illness-3145090

Fairbrother, K., & Warn, J. (2003) Workplace dimensions, stress and job satisfaction. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 18 (1), 8-21.

Hardy, S. Occupational Stress: Personal and Professional Approaches. 1998, United Kingdom: Stanley Thornes Ltd,18–43

Tennant, C. (2001). Work- related Stress and Depressive Disorders. Journal of Psychosomatic research, 51 (3) 697-704.

Retrieved on 17 May 2018 from https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/learning-how-manage-stress-workplace

Retrieved on 17 May 2018 from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-deal-with-stress-at-work-3145273

Retrieved on 17 May 2018 from https://www.headsup.org.au/healthyworkplaces/ workplace-stressors

Retrieved on 17 May 2018 from https://www.welcoa.org/blog/benefits-stress-management-employees/

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