Agent Resources

Types of stress and how to cope

Stress is an inevitable part of life and indeed, without the stress of needing to make a living, many people would have trouble motivating themselves to get up in the morning. When stress becomes too much to cope with, however, it can cause both physical and mental health problems and can ultimately lead to burnout and an employee resigning from a job that they previously enjoyed.

It can help to understand stress better, so let's look at the different types of stress.

Chronic stress

This is when pressure, stress and worry continues over a prolonged period without any let up. An example would be if you are running a business and you are having financial problems that are not simply temporary cash flow issues. or if you are working in an understaffed office, where you are permanently under pressure to work late and don't get breaks during the day.

Chronic stress is extremely harmful to your health and can damage relationships, as the person under stress can become irritable or withdrawn.

Acute stress

This is a brief, stressful period, often related to a single life challenge such as a looming exam or temporary illness in the family. Unlike chronic stress, the person undergoing acute stress is often able to manage it by looking forward to the point where the event will be over.

Episodic acute stress

Some people have intermittent but frequent episodes of stress. This can be due to circumstances, for example losing a job, then suffering a bereavement, where the causes of stress are different but each episode is very acute. Episodic acute stress can be exacerbated when people put themselves under too much pressure, do not leave enough time to relax and therefore become stressed at events that others might take in their stride.

Self-help checklist for stress management

1. Don't allow negative thoughts to go unchecked - if you are stressed, you need to soothe yourself. So when you catch a thought such as, "I'm not going to get this done in time," replace it with something positive like, "I'll do my best to get this done in time and I'm not doing too badly, given how much I have to do."

2. If you don't know how to use breathing to reduce stress, you need to sign up for a relaxation class, where you can learn techniques that you can easily apply at your desk.

3. Use little self-help mantras, such as, "Breathe”, to help you control your breathing when you notice it getting faster and shallower.

4. Make a list. You may think that making a list of all the things that you have to do will increase your stress, because it will remind you that the list is quite impossible to do. However, once you have prioritised the tasks on the list, you will get a perspective and control that is lacking when everything is "coming at you".

5. Use the list to start an ongoing conversation about your workload with your manager. Ask them to check that the high priority tasks are the ones they actually want done first. It's not up to you to decide what's important and what isn't - the next person up the chain should be doing that.

6. Don’t accept stress. If someone is trying to make you feel anxious, try phrases such as, “We are where we are”, or “It is what it is.” These indicate that you understand the situation, but are not going to allow it to affect you personally.

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Source: Nethouseprices 21/9/17

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