Managing Stress: Create calm, at work and in your personal life

From http://www.mahederetena.com

Many of us experience stress in life, whether this is in the short term from one-off projects, or long-term stress from a high-pressure career.

Not only can this be profoundly unpleasant, it can seriously affect our health and our work. However, it is possible to manage stress, if you use the right tools and techniques.

 From http://georgianbaymt.blogspot.co.nz

What is Stress?

A widely accepted definition of stress, attributed to psychologist and professor Richard Lazarus, is, “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.”

This means that we experience stress if we believe that we don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to handle a situation. In short, we experience stress when we feel “out of control.”

This also means that different people handle stress differently, in different situations: you’ll handle stress better if you’re confident in your abilities, if you can change the situation to take control, and if you feel that you have the help and support needed to do a good job.

 From http://inspireandmotivateme.blogspot.co.nz

Signs of Stress

Everyone reacts to stress differently. However, some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Cold or sweaty hands and feet.
  • Insomnia, nightmares, disturbing dreams
    Persistent difficulty concentrating.
  • Social withdrawal or isolation.
  • Constant tiredness, weakness, fatigue
  • Increased frustration, irritability, edginess
  • Significant weight gain or loss.
  • Consistent feelings of being overwhelmed or overloaded.
  • Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness.
  • Frequent crying spells, depression or suicidal thoughts

From https://www.boundless.com

 How to Manage Stress

The first step in managing stress is to understand where these feeling are coming from.

Keep a stress diary to identify the causes of short-term or frequent stress in your life. As you write down events, think about why this situation stresses you out. Also, use the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale to identify specific events that could put you at risk of long-term stress.

Then, consider using some of the approaches below to manage your stress. You’ll likely be able to use a mix of strategies from each area.

From http://www.pinterest.com

1. Action-Oriented Approaches

With action-oriented approaches, you take action to change the stressful situations, e.g.:

  • Manage your time and priorities
  • Be more assertive in managing your boundaries
  • Take action to minimize stress in your working environment.

From http://mindfulcogitations.blogspot.co.nz

2. Emotion-Oriented Approaches

Emotion-oriented approaches are useful when the stress you’re experiencing comes from the way that you perceive a situation.

To change how you think about stressful situations:

From http://www.9monthsin9monthsout.com

3. Acceptance-Oriented Approaches

Acceptance-oriented approaches apply to situations where you have no power to change what happens, and where situations are genuinely bad.

To build your defenses against stress:

  • Use techniques like meditation and physical relaxation to calm yourself when you feel stressed.
  • Take advantage of your support network (e.g. your family and friends).
  • Get enough exercise and sleep, and learn how to make the most of your down time, so that you can recover from stressful events
  • Use laughter, humour and smile to de-stress yourself and transform stress to strength 🙂

From https://www.linkedin.com/

How are you coping with stress in your life? 
What approach helps you the most?

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The power of constructive disagreement

Untitled-1
From Saving Your Team with Constructive Dissension

Disagreement is a precious resource in learning, judgment and decision-making. Often people avoid openly expressing disagreement in a fear of offending others or as the result of the peer or team pressure. That neglect of disagreement results in the failure to benefit from the constructive forces of disagreement, including:

1. Improved communication:

  • Clarification and greater understanding of ideas
  • Increased retention of relevant information
  • Increased use of critical thinking skills

From http://howtobeaspeaker.com

2. More productive teamwork:

  • Stimulation of interest and involvement
  • Stronger working relationships and cooperation
  • Increased interest and motivation for problem solving
  • Increased understanding of self and others
  • Increased group interaction, trust and cohesiveness
  • Enhanced awareness of problems in group functioning
  • Changes can be made before the group is impaired
  • Decreased tension, frustration
  • Higher levels of morale and satisfaction
  • Decreased likelihood of acting out negative feelings indirectly

From http://www.ummaland.com

3. Better Quality decisions and problem solutions:

  • More creative ideas
  • More decision alternatives
  • More time spent thinking through decisions

From http://leadershipforlearning.wordpress.com

Conflict is often the first step for getting rid of outdated procedures, revising regulations, changing organisational culture, fostering innovation and creativity. Addressing rather than suppressing conflict opens the lines of communication, gets people talking to each other (instead of about each other)  and makes people feel like they’re part of a team that cares. As a result, people learn how to work harmoniously, come up with creative solutions and reach outcomes that benefit everyone involved.

From http://www.joegerstandt.com

However many of us are programmed to avoid conflict or do not know how to handle disagreement in a constructive way. So we have quiet, reserved, polite workplaces, but there is a whole bunch of “stuff” simmering below the surface. We cannot be honest and disagree with each other. We sit around the conference table and nod our heads up and down, and then after the meeting we tell the truth to a smaller group of peers with whom we actually feel comfortable being honest.

From http://www.fundable.com

Below are some ideas to help your team learn to voice dissenting opinions and resolve disagreements in a constructive way:

  1. Raise awareness: Let members know that disagreement can be healthy and that the team encourages constructive tension. This will help set the stage and encourage more “voices” to come forward.
  2. Value listening: Draft listening as a core value of the team. Ultimately, we cannot learn from dissension if our hearts and minds are not really open to the conversation.
  3. Respect always rules: Constructive dissension boils down to team members offering respect to their colleagues. When this principle is ignored, any level of disagreement can quickly become unhealthy. If you have any sense of being on shaky ground after engaging in an intellectual battle with someone, patch that rift with kind words, support and willingness to listen. You may have to retreat for a while until things cool down, but you must let the other person know that you still respect and admire them.
  4. Encourage dissenting opinions: Teach team members how to disagree diplomatically. Many individuals may want to disagree, yet are not sure how to avoid “causing trouble”. Offer ways to speak up by suggesting healthy “templates” or a “scripts” to do so.
  5. Pose alternatives: If they find fault with an idea or strategy — be sure that team members attempt to offer an improved version or alternative solution. Constructive criticism is always preferred.
  6. Deal with dyad issues: If two members seem to be experiencing personal conflict, ensure this does not play out during team meetings. Encourage a dialogue to resolve core issues outside of the team and contain “toxic spills” rooted in personal issues.
  7. Focus on solutions, not the “win”: Ultimately, one single idea does not have to “win” — and this can help take the pressure out of collaboration. Masters of innovation such as Pixar, combine the ideas of many contributors to formulate solutions. In this way being honest and open, won’t take sway from another team member’s work.

 
From http://www.madofficehero.com

The same rules apply to handling disagreement within the family: never stop caring and listening no matter how angry you are.

Love is caring for each other even when you're angryFrom Pinterest

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Resources:

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The Man in a Suit

ManFrom Pooky’s Poems

What do you see
When you look at me?
Asked the husband of one,
And father of three.
Do you see a good husband?
The love of a Dad?
Or grey hair,
And wrinkles,
And fun times not had?
Or a man in a shirt
And a tie and a suit,
Who’s cold blooded and vengeful
In his hot pursuit,
Of a spot at the top,
And a big leather chair,
Leaving no time for family,
Though their picture will stare
Back at him daily,
From its bright silver frame,
As it sits on his desk,
By the plaque with his name.
The picture grows old,
And the children do too,
And the wife grows more distant,
The marriage is through,
As he’s married to work,
Not his wife and his kids,
And his love of his work,
Means he gradually bids
Farewell to the things
In life that he should love.
Less responsive to family,
Than calls from above.
But he thinks that he does it
To make things at home better,
He thinks that each phone call,
Each meeting, each letter,
Are helping his prospects of
A better job,
And that each increased pay cheque
Will help him to bob,
In a tide of big bills
And of school fees and fares.
And as he works on,
He does so unaware,
That the more that he tries,
To help those back at home,
The more likely he is,
To end up alone.
He awakes from his daydream,
This man in a suit,
Considering life,
As he made the commute,
From his workplace to home,
And as he arrives,
He makes a decision,
And with gusto decides,
That his wife and his kids
Are important to him,
And with less pay it might be
A bit harder to swim,
In the huge tide of bills,
But what does he care
If it means that his loved ones,
Know that he’s there.
Knows that he loves them,
And love him in return,
They’ll love him regardless
Of how much he earns.
And so from that day,
He determines that he
Will be a husband of one,
And a father of three,
Not a man in a suit
And a shirt and a tie,
That’s just Monday to Friday
But the rest of the time,
He’ll devote to his loved ones,
Now he’s home with a smile,
And he cuddles his wife,
For the first time in a while.
She knows that he’s changed
Though he says not a word
And from that day forever,
His family come first.

By PookyH

Family
From One Big Happy Family

THE END

Do you need a career change?

“Celebrating another birthday doesn’t mean you’re stuck in a line of work you chose decades earlier. Age and experience can be assets in a new field.”

 Daniel Bukszpan

Change1From Finding Work You Love

If you have passion for what you do, your day will not seem like work at all. But what if you don’t have that passion anymore? If you’re bored, burned-out, or your job just isn’t doing it for you anymore, there’s a good chance you’re ready for a change.

Older generations likely worked in one job or industry for their entire career and then retired. Changing careers was frowned upon. The millenniums, X, Y, and boomer generations are different. They will change-it-up when feeling discontented, bored or “been there, done that.” It is not unusual for these generations to undergo two-three-four re-careers — or reinventions over the course of one’s working life.

If you’re certain that you are ready to embark on a career change, this is what you need to think about:

What do I want?

Start by doing a self-assessment of your core values, how you like to work, and what you’d be compelled to do even if you never got paid. List the achievements of which you are most proud. These are not necessarily job-oriented achievements. List your causes and your hobbies, as well. When you do something that makes you proud, it is often something you like to do. Your list gives you a good idea of your skill sets and interests.

Do I have what it takes?

You need to know what is important in this new field, and what skills and experience are required. Then you need to figure out if you’ve got what it takes. Take stock of your intrinsic assets. We all have a unique combination of assets such as our personality, skill sets, abilities, and experiences.

People with some gray in their hair may be apprehensive about what’s out there. Will they be written off because of ageism? Will they have to take a big step down in salary? Will they find anything stimulating?

“If you’re 50 or 60, you have built up very valuable skills,” said Newport, who is in his early ‘30s and an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University. “Don’t discount them.” When you’re plotting your next career move, “work backwards from your skills. Ask yourself: What skills do I have and how rare and valuable are they? The intersection of your rare skills and what interests you is what should start your job hunt, not introspection about what you’re ‘meant to do.’”

Older adults bring qualities to the table that make them well-suited to diverse jobs in different sectors. Many startup companies are looking for experienced people. In fact, many startup companies are being launched by people over 50 who have developed business ideas based on their experiences in the field.

Is this career a good fit?

Make an effort to learn as much as you can about job prospects, work-life balance, salary estimates and required skills.

(Adapted from
How To Start Thinking About A Career Change
and
The Career Tip To Follow Your Passion: Is It Bunk? )

Work-Life-BalanceFrom 5 Keys to Successfully Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

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