Wednesday, June 30, 2021

 Self Induced Stress Syndrome


As we say, there really is not a layer of stress in the universe, only that which our thoughts create. The more you learn to control your thinking, the less stress you will experience. Can you be stress free? Probably not, and you would not want to be stress free. We need stress to keep us attentive to issues and to stay keen for problem solving, business and family needs, etc. However, much of the stress we create, has been self inflicted and is preventable.

For instance, if we do not plan ahead, we always get in trouble. If we try to travel without clear instructions and or a map, we will get lost. If we do not organize our desk, home, closet, drawers, bank account, etc., we will experience problems which could have been prevented with proper planning. How many times have you had to be somewhere at a certain time and could not find your keys, watch, glasses, map, etc ? If you are like most of us, it is a recurring problem, which again could be prevented by planning/organizing/listing, etc.

So you see, much of the stress and angst that your experience is directly attributable to you and lack of proper planning and organization.

To work toward a more organized and stress less you, try making lists of things you need; set up specific areas where things go so you can find your glasses, keys, etc. Prioritize your "To do" list so you tackle the most important things first and not worry about the less important things.

It requires discipline, but will pay big dividends and result in less stress for all.

Tidy up and come see us at www.stress-less.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

 

Stress Less® Worldview
The world is actually changing right before our eyes and whether we like it or not, we both benefit and suffer at the same time!
We are all witnessing the first and only "coming together" of the global economic system where we can see on a daily basis the "cause and effects" of different countries/economies (European Union) and how these changes affects on our own lives and personal finances.
The "Globalization" of technologies that connect us like satellites, cables, wireless, internet, mobile phones etc. have created an instantaneous communication that was predicted and now is real and operating. Continents, countries, unions, republics, states, cities, towns, households, families, and individuals are now able to connect, communicate, trade, educate or negotiate in an instant.
On one level it is a marvelous feat of engineering to be able to connect to anyone in the world, anytime you choose. On the other level, it begins a period of "uncharted waters" where we try to sort out how this system will really work and what are the real affects it will have on our societies and personal lives.
Stress is basically described as your competence or level of control you feel that you have on your situation. When you lose this control, you experience various  degrees of stress. As an example, you have a checking account and have enough money in the bank to feel good. However, when that money is depleted and bills are still due, for any number of reasons, you begin to feel the stress. And as the money is reduced, your stress levels go up in proportion. If you have the ability to control the situation and replenish your account, you may go back to feeling less stress. However, when you have no ability to refurbish your bank account, you begin to experience chronic stress and this starts an internal release of hormones/chemicals that will eventually destroy your body and reduce your life span, unless you learn how to manage your stress levels.
Control is everything! However, now that the day-to-day level of control is being driven by the instantaneous worldwide system we have built, we are not sure of how we can control our levels of stress. In a split second, the floor can come out from  just a tiny event. A small, apparently insignificant, place in the world could affect each of us or maybe a select few. We have no control over this and it is exacerbated by everyone having exposure to this event and their potential reactions.
So, how can we solve this dilemma? First and foremost, understand your stress level and what causes them.
 Learn  different stress management techniques you can incorporate into your daily life (breathing, meditation, visualization ,relaxation, prayer etc). Expand your worldview to incorporate our new global reality and that all people come from the same place, and most think similar thoughts and share the same emotional makeup and aspirations to succeed and be good in life.
Try to adopt a "healthy" lifestyle with a good combination of diet, exercise, sleep and relaxation.
And maybe most important, have a good basic level of "trusted and true" friends in a social network that you can talk to and socialize with. Have a "confidant" you can release your frustrations and feelings to and try to get a good "feedback" relationship where your trusted secrets are shared with each other or a group.
The world is moving fast and all we can do is just hang on and do our part to fit in without getting overwhelmed, because eventually "good will and fairness"  will overcome the "evil" in human affairs.
Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

 


Thinking is doing!

Although it may come as a surprise to you, you are the master of your universe that you elect to create by your thinking, Your thinking creates your feelings and your feelings create your life. Want to feel good and love your life-then start to think good thoughts and be positive.

Try this on for size. Visualize you are eating a fresh cut lime. Do you feel the sour taste in your mouth? Now, think about eating some sugar to dilute the sour taste. Feel the difference? The sugar taste will overtake the sour taste and change your feelings of sour vs. sweet. This can work on any issue you have and can always work in your favor if you think the right thoughts.

It is so simple it is a shame that the vast majority of people are not aware or just too lazy to learn how to control their thoughts and feelings. It will cost nothing and return significant dividends.
Start to control your life for the better and begin your own self improvement program by working on your positive thoughts which will begin to change how you feel and how you live your life.


Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

 Financial Stress




We all have it, some worse than others. It is really the number one stress issue among all mankind since it also is so closely tied to work.

Arguments with your significant other, children, friends, relatives, just name it and it happens.Why, because not only is money tied to personal value systems, but it is basic to survival. The stories that are out there due to the current crises is all too familiar and tragic. Some have come from basic greed, whether a lender or borrower. Some from ignorance, others from just bad timing or luck. But, we all suffer in one way or another.

The stress is constant and torturous which leads to chronic conditions like destroying body cells and lives. To a great degree, it is unavoidable and is just a fact we all have to deal with, whether you elect to or not. Those that recognize the condition and act, will come out ahead, not necessarily with the money problems solved, but with better health and clarity of thought. And in the end, that is really all that matters.

Listen to the victims of the California brush fires talk about losing everything and many without any insurance to cover their losses. The wise ones talk about " it was just a house and we still have each other" and "we are forced to start over and that has a certain ring or excitement to it". You may lose significant emotional items, but you never lose the memories, and without a clear mind and good health, what good are they anyway?

The majority of folks have no stress management plan and do not exercise, meditate, know how to relax,have a social network or give themselves to community projects. They will suffer the most. It is never too late to start and the sooner the better. Years of poor health and sedentary behavior can be overcome and quite frankly advance your biological system to survive years beyond it's current path of destruction. It just takes will power and commitment.

Why not change your life for the better and start your stress management program today. It will add years to your life and life to your years. You will not only feel better, but think better, and feel better about all the things and people around you.

Learn to forgive, pray, practice mindfulness, give daily thanks for all that you do have. Be glad that you are here and have a chance to get better and therefore make your life and those around you the better for it. The alternative currently is not very attractive!

Maybe it is a wake up call to all of us to just look what a great and fantastically complex human system we have that has evolved into the spiritual beings that we are. Once you break the cycle of your currently ill learned thought process and learn to see the world from a spiritual plane, then everything changes to wonder. You will not have enough time to enjoy all that life has to offer. So, make the effort, you will never be sorry and will stress less.

Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Monday, June 7, 2021

 

Stress Less® Worldview
The world is actually changing right before our eyes and whether we like it or not, we both benefit and suffer at the same time!
We are all witnessing the first and only "coming together" of the global economic system where we can see on a daily basis the "cause and effects" of different countries/economies (European Union) and how these changes affects on our own lives and personal finances.
The "Globalization" of technologies that connect us like satellites, cables, wireless, internet, mobile phones etc. have created an instantaneous communication that was predicted and now is real and operating. Continents, countries, unions, republics, states, cities, towns, households, families, and individuals are now able to connect, communicate, trade, educate or negotiate in an instant.
On one level it is a marvelous feat of engineering to be able to connect to anyone in the world, anytime you choose. On the other level, it begins a period of "uncharted waters" where we try to sort out how this system will really work and what are the real affects it will have on our societies and personal lives.
Stress is basically described as your competence or level of control you feel that you have on your situation. When you lose this control, you experience various  degrees of stress. As an example, you have a checking account and have enough money in the bank to feel good. However, when that money is depleted and bills are still due, for any number of reasons, you begin to feel the stress. And as the money is reduced, your stress levels go up in proportion. If you have the ability to control the situation and replenish your account, you may go back to feeling less stress. However, when you have no ability to refurbish your bank account, you begin to experience chronic stress and this starts an internal release of hormones/chemicals that will eventually destroy your body and reduce your life span, unless you learn how to manage your stress levels.
Control is everything! However, now that the day-to-day level of control is being driven by the instantaneous worldwide system we have built, we are not sure of how we can control our levels of stress. In a split second, the floor can come out from  just a tiny event. A small, apparently insignificant, place in the world could affect each of us or maybe a select few. We have no control over this and it is exacerbated by everyone having exposure to this event and their potential reactions.
So, how can we solve this dilemma? First and foremost, understand your stress level and what causes them.
 Learn  different stress management techniques you can incorporate into your daily life (breathing, meditation, visualization ,relaxation, prayer etc). Expand your worldview to incorporate our new global reality and that all people come from the same place, and most think similar thoughts and share the same emotional makeup and aspirations to succeed and be good in life.
Try to adopt a "healthy" lifestyle with a good combination of diet, exercise, sleep and relaxation.
And maybe most important, have a good basic level of "trusted and true" friends in a social network that you can talk to and socialize with. Have a "confidant" you can release your frustrations and feelings to and try to get a good "feedback" relationship where your trusted secrets are shared with each other or a group.
The world is moving fast and all we can do is just hang on and do our part to fit in without getting overwhelmed, because eventually "good will and fairness"  will overcome the "evil" in human affairs.
Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Saturday, June 5, 2021

 It's the little things!



There is "acute" stress, which occurs for a high intensity short term period like a car accident and "chronic" stress, which lasts a longer period and does not seem to go away as a result of things like financial difficulties or marriage issues.

It's the "cumulative" stress that builds up daily over time that occurs on a steady basis which can do you in. It becomes cumulative and destructive. Your mind becomes numb and the ill effects of the stress hormones increasingly circulate in your system eating away at your blood vessels and organs.

So, how do you prevent or resolve these daily irritants? The same way you approach all your stress management issues, with steady resolve to challenge your negative, cognitive thoughts and replace them with healthy, positive thoughts. Make sure you are eating and behaving healthy, and you learn to relax your mind and your body. Even if you haven't incorporated these strategies into your stress management tool box, start today. They will not only help alleviate the daily stress, they will help to rein in the hormones and destructive, psycho-physiological damage being done by the cumulative stress.

Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Saturday, May 29, 2021

 



Brain training sounds good, but it does not work!


According to the Georgia Tech Attention and Working Memory Lab, brain training tested in a well-controlled study provides no benefit to improving brain function and/or memory retention. Although disappointing, it helps to understand the two types of memory function and how we can cope with declining memory.

One is what is called “crystallized intelligence”, which is all the knowledge you have learned in school, job, or languages you speak.

The other is “fluid intelligence”, which is the biological side of intelligence. This will be your actions when you have not learned what to do and your ability to solve complex problems you have never faced using complex reasoning.

Unfortunately, “fluid intelligence” is heritable and biological and grows until around age 22 and then evens out until around age 40 and then drops like a rock. The theory is the myelin sheaths surrounding our neurons in the pre-frontal cortex start to deteriorate releasing chemicals to affect the surrounding neurons, which is also an underlying theory for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Crystallized intelligence” continues for the rest of your life and even at age 75 your vocabulary will be as high as it ever was, maybe higher.

But the real problem is as we age we lose our ability to focus or attempt attention control. This multitasking world is a myth. Not only have you lost most of your “Fluid intelligence”, but your ability to focus is diminished. Since “Fluid intelligence” is most correlated with short term memory control and has diminished so much, no one can multi-task or divide your attention effectively or efficiently. You can only handle one task at a time. No one has enough “fluid intelligence” that they can text and drive at the same time.

What do we do? Simple, aerobic exercise. Not weight lifting or calisthenics, but aerobic exercise. A 30-minute brisk walk daily will do the trick. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain and there is also a gene called a “brain derived neurotropic factor” that leads to the formation of new blood cells.

So don’t think you are smarter and getting more accomplished by multi-tasking, you are just shifting your brief attention span around and more than likely screwing something up vs. concentrating on one task at a time and getting it right!


Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

 Stress and the garden hose


The creation and build up of stress in your system can be analogous to the average garden hose.

If the hose is straight and you walk in a straight pattern, then everything comes out alright and there are no problems. But, when you begin to move around objects on the ground or turn to water plants or grass in different areas, then the hose gets crinkled, caught, or worse. You then become upset and stressed over the problem and have to go back to the area where the problem occurred and unbend the hose, take it off the rocks or obstacle it became entangled spending more time in corrective action than you planned.

Life is like this also. We expect things to go a certain way but they get derailed and we spend time putting out fires or fixing things that should not have happened. The lesson is to plan ahead and visually scope out the area you are going to water or the life you want to live, and make sure you anticipate the rocks and obstacles to avoid having to go back for corrective action. This is pre-planning at its best and can save much time and frustration.

Not to say you won't experience crinkles, but you will have minimized your efforts and re dos. A very successful business man once said, "It is not what you expect, but what you inspect that counts" . Add this axiom to your quiver of stress management tools and you will increase your ability to plow through life, or the yard, with the greatest of ease.

You are invited to join us at http://www.stress-less.com/

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

 


Racism

Stressful psychological, social, and physiological consequences for African Americans

A team of researchers from Wayne State University, the National Institutes of Health, Morehouse College, and the University of Michigan recently developed a model of how perceived racism, the subjective experience of prejudice or discrimination, leads to various psychological, social, and physiological stress responses among African Americans. Although the model is unique in that it deals specifically with perceived racism of African Americans, it is based on a well-known model of stress and coping proposed by Lazarus and Folkman in 1984.

According to the model, actions by others can be perceived as racist, which can lead to psychological and physiological stress responses, and over time, to physical and mental health problems if attempts at coping are unsuccessful. Additionally, the model shows that a variety of factors can influence the extent to which actions by others are perceived as racist, such as skin tone, socioeconomic status (e.g., education, income), self-esteem, sense of control, and expression or suppression of anger.

The researches comment that the model could probably be expanded to represent other ethnic groups.

Source: Clark, R., Anderson, N. B., Clark, V. R., Williams, D R. (1999). Racism as a stressor for African Americans: A biopsychosocial model. American Psychologist, 54, 805-816.

Monday, May 24, 2021

 Meditation is Free Health





Meditation is the best health producing behavior you can incorporate into your stress management tool bag!

The health benefits from this free exercise are quite astounding when compared to other drugs and procedures. When you practice meditation regularly, you lower your heart rate and breathing; blood pressure stabilizes; there is more efficient use of oxygen; and there is less sweat. The adrenal glands (on kidneys) produce less cortisol, (adrenaline and noradrenaline); and your system generates positive hormones; the body ages at a slower rate; and your immune function improves. Your mind is cleared up and your creativity increases. People who meditate regularly find it easier to give up life defeating habits like smoking, drinking and drugs.

With all these benefits, it is hard to understand why everyone is not engaged in meditation. But, the simple fact is the majority of people are either not interested, think it is "new age" mumbo jumbo, or are just too busy to fit it into their "busy" schedule.

Try to incorporate meditation into your life and enjoy not only the tremendous health benefits, but a more peaceful, less chattered mind which will reduce your stress and anxiety.

Come to see us at www.stress-less.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

 


What is wrong with America and our weight?

You would think in the country with the best medical systems and information about good health that the majority of us would be sensitive about being obese.

The stats are telling: More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese. More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity. Almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese. The prevalence of obesity is similar for both men and women (about 36 percent).

Surely, everyone has heard or read that obesity is not good for your heart and can lead to diabetes and other maladies.

The simple solution is to eat balanced and proportioned meals and engage in regular exercise. But, it appears this is not working and the motivation is lacking. You are ok with the status quo because it requires no discipline, until that heart attack or diabetes hits you, and if you are lucky to live, you will probably start a weight reduction program, but that could be short lived also.

It is depressing to walk down the street and see how many people are truly overweight/obese. They are literally signing their own bad health or death warrant that will cost more in time and money to correct, if possible.

Think about how good you will feel when you do something good for your body and mind with weight loss and exercise a daily part of your life. You can exercise and lose weight with discipline. Let’s get going for yourself and loved ones.

Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Monday, May 10, 2021

 It's the little things!



There is "acute" stress, which occurs for a high intensity short term period like a car accident and "chronic" stress, which lasts a longer period and does not seem to go away as a result of things like financial difficulties or marriage issues.

It's the "cumulative" stress that builds up daily over time that occurs on a steady basis which can do you in. It becomes cumulative and destructive. Your mind becomes numb and the ill effects of the stress hormones increasingly circulate in your system eating away at your blood vessels and organs.

So, how do you prevent or resolve these daily irritants? The same way you approach all your stress management issues, with steady resolve to challenge your negative, cognitive thoughts and replace them with healthy, positive thoughts. Make sure you are eating and behaving healthy, and you learn to relax your mind and your body. Even if you haven't incorporated these strategies into your stress management tool box, start today. They will not only help alleviate the daily stress, they will help to rein in the hormones and destructive, psycho-physiological damage being done by the cumulative stress.

Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Friday, May 7, 2021

 "Miner" Stress



The recent Utah miner entrapment is a good example of 'Acute Stress' among four different groups-miners, owners, rescuers, and miner families. Since everyone reacts to stress in their own ways, there are probably many coping techniques being used by the different groups.

The miners, assuming they are alive, are battling for food, water, air, and basic survival.
The owners are battling the unions, media, seismologists, and basic business survival.
The families are battling uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and possible loss of a loved one.

The rescuers are battling the elements, time, and potential loss of life.
All can benefit from the basic stress management tools available. The first and foremost is using common sense and facts vs. emotion to evaluate the situation. 
Right now, there is no indication the miners are dead or alive, so assume they are alive and need rescuing. Projecting death or the worst case scenario only will bring up unwanted emotions and resignation. Getting out to exercise or walk around will be most beneficial to all, even the miners, assuming they can move around where they are. Praying and meditating and tuning out the media speculation will help calm the mind and emotions. Bonding and social interaction is one of the most important elements in the crises among family members, friends, co-workers, etc. 

Positive thinking will keep spirits alive and hope as a basic foundation for every one's effort. Watching what you eat and not filling up on caffeine will help to keep the tensions down and people flowing smoothly so they can work together and get their minds working for maximum concentration and effort.

So, even though there are different points of view from the four groups, they all can benefit during the crises by employing the same stress management strategies to help cope, not only during the acute phase, but just as important, afterwards. This is why stress management training is so important as an ongoing tool of coping mechanisms to use constantly for day-to-day functioning, but also in times of acute crises like the mine collapse.

Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Thursday, May 6, 2021

 Positive Emotions During Stress

Although people generally do not feel good when they are stressed, some positive emotions can and do occur during stressful periods in people’s lives. Researchers at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco recently published a review of research that shed some light on what people can do to experience positive emotions during stress.

What was the research about?

Specifically, they demonstrated that positive emotions can occur during stress and discussed three types of coping that are associated with positive emotions during stress.

The first type of coping they covered was positive reappraisal, which involves focusing on the positive rather than the negative aspects of events. Positive reappraisal can be accomplished by finding opportunities for personal growth, noticing actual personal growth, and realizing how one’s own actions can benefit other people. Through positive appraisal, people can change the meaning of situations in a way that allows them to experience positive emotions. 

The second type of coping they covered was problem-focused coping, which involves thinking and behaving in ways that allow people to attack the underlying cause of their stress. This form of coping is effective when people can establish some amount of control over stressful situations.

The third type of coping they covered was the creation of positive events, which involves taking a mental “time-out” by thinking positively about ordinary events. Examples include savoring a compliment one received in passing and taking a moment to admire a beautiful sunset. Such time-outs give people a short break from ongoing stress.

Why should it matter to me?

If people want to take advantage of the positive emotions that are possible when they are stressed, they may want to consider using positive reappraisal, problem-focused coping, and the creation of positive events.

Source: Folkman, S., & Moskowitz, J. T. (2000). Stress, positive emotions, and coping. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9, 115-118.

Monday, May 3, 2021

 



Relaxation Programs should be a part of your daily exercise!

Whether you have a severe case of stress or anxiety or you just feel fine, relaxation programs should be a part of your daily exercise routine. They are very inexpensive and have no risks or side effects. 

Relaxation can reduce or eliminate some of the medications you may be using and helps you to keep a positive mind/body connection.

There are many techniques to consider including:

-Progressive Muscle Relaxation

-Autogenic Training

-Breathing

-Meditation

-Self Hypnosis

-Yoga/Tai Chi

-Guided Imagery

-Massage

These relaxation techniques benefit you by lowering your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and stress hormones. They will raise your blood flow in the major muscles and help relieve muscle pain/tension. The end benefit is improved mood, concentration and confidence.

What are you waiting for?

Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Monday, April 26, 2021

 The value of social contacts



Humans have a powerful instinct to socialize and to establish contact with other humans. It is in the DNA! A positive connection also creates a molecular change in our brains that helps to reduce stress and provide a comfortable feeling of being in good company. This need and benefit to connect has always been assumed, but is now getting scientific proof that it actually improves the psychology and biology of each person involved.

Of course, we all have our negative connections with co-workers, family, and friends. One day we are in love or have a great relationship, and the next day we are suing for divorce, quitting the job, or become estranged from family or friends. It's just the human condition and it has not changed since day one, or will it. But we all have felt the negative feelings of discomfort with an awkward situation with others and how great you feel when you are in love or have a closeness with family, friends and co-workers. All these feelings are produced by thoughts and they all alter our chemical composition in our brains.

There are more and more people becoming estranged and separated from friends and family as the single population has grown larger than the married segment, and the baby boomers age older and their spouses die or divorce. They all still need connections.

One of the great ways to connect, whether to stay connected or reconnect, is to send greeting cards. They are available for every conceivable event or occasion or you can invent your own. People appreciate a card since it shows that the other person cares enough to send you one and gives you a great vehicle to respond. E-greeting cards are benefiting from this trend and provide and easy and inexpensive way to connect.

Why not reconnect with someone you have not heard from in a long time or heal a wounded relationship with a greeting card. You will feel better, they will feel better, and you will help to reduce your stress. A real win-win situation!

Come see us at www.stress-less.com to learn how to reduce your life stress and to life a happier life.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

  


Thinking is doing!

Although it may come as a surprise to you, you are the master of your universe that you elect to create by your thinking, Your thinking creates your feelings and your feelings create your life. 

Want to feel good and love your life-then start to think good thoughts and be positive?

Try this on for size. Visualize you are eating a fresh cut lime. Do you feel the sour taste in your mouth? Now, think about eating some sugar to dilute the sour taste. 

Feel the difference? The sugar taste will overtake the sour taste and change your feelings of sour vs. sweet. This can work on any issue you have and can always work in your favor if you think the right thoughts.

It is so simple it is a shame that the vast majority of people are not aware or just too lazy to learn how to control their thoughts and feelings. It will cost nothing and return significant dividends.

Start to control your life for the better and begin your own self improvement program by working on your positive thoughts which will begin to change how you feel and how you live your life.


Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Monday, April 19, 2021

 





Stress and the Familiarity of Support Providers

Social support is only helpful from people you know

Researchers at Bowling Green State University recently published a pair of studies that clarify one of the circumstances in which social support is helpful for people in stressful situations. Their studies emphasize the importance of the people providing social support. The people providing social support in their studies were not people who knew the participants. They were complete strangers. 

Unlike other research, in which social support was provided by people who the participants knew or had a reasonable opportunity to get acquainted with, the presence of the other person either did not provide any stress relief.

Participants in the studies were asked to prepare and deliver a speech that they were told would be videotaped and evaluated by experts. Depending on the condition, another person was also in the room with the participants to evaluate. In some conditions, the other person also provided social support. Across all the conditions in both studies, the presence of the other person did not change the participants' bodily stress reactions (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate) or self-reported level of stress.

Evidently, for social support to be a source of stress relief, the people providing the support need to be people who are familiar to the person experiencing stress. In these studies, if the support from the other person actually did provide any benefit, it was probably covered up by the additional stress prompted by the other person's role as an evaluator.

Source: Anthony, J. L., & O'Brien, W. H. (1999). An evaluation of the impact of social support manipulations on cardiovascular reactivity to laboratory stressors. Behavioral Medicine, 25, 78-87.

Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Monday, April 12, 2021

 "Miner" Stress



The recent Utah miner entrapment is a good example of 'Acute Stress' among four different groups-miners, owners, rescuers, and miner families. Since everyone reacts to stress in their own ways, there are probably many coping techniques being used by the different groups.
The miners, assuming they are alive, are battling for food, water, air, and basic survival.
The owners are battling the unions, media, seismologists, and basic business survival.
The families are battling uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and possible loss of a loved one.

The rescuers are battling the elements, time, and potential loss of life.

All can benefit from the basic stress management tools available. The first and foremost is using common sense and facts vs. emotion to evaluate the situation. Right now, there is no indication the miners are dead or alive, so assume they are alive and need rescuing. 
Projecting death or the worst case scenario only will bring up unwanted emotions and resignation. Getting out to exercise or walk around will be most beneficial to all, even the miners, assuming they can move around where they are. Praying and meditating and tuning out the media speculation will help calm the mind and emotions. Bonding and social interaction is one of the most important elements in the crises among family members, friends, co-workers, etc. 

Positive thinking will keep spirits alive and hope as a basic foundation for every one's effort. Watching what you eat and not filling up on caffeine will help to keep the tensions down and people flowing smoothly so they can work together and get their minds working for maximum concentration and effort.

So, even though there are different points of view from the four groups, they all can benefit during the crises by employing the same stress management strategies to help cope, not only during the acute phase, but just as important, afterwards. This is why stress management training is so important as an ongoing tool of coping mechanisms to use constantly for day-to-day functioning, but also in times of acute crises like the mine collapse.

Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Friday, April 9, 2021

 47% not satisfied with work!


A recent poll found that one half of all workers are not happy at their chosen field of work. This is disturbing news and underscores how work can be considered the number one stressor in people's lives. If you loved your work, you still are going to have stressful situations with people, deadlines, clients, etc. But, to go to work each day dreading the time you spend, it is no wonder it becomes even more stressful that it has to be.
You lack motivation, excitement for your tasks and co-workers, and are constantly thinking about how to move on to something better or the 'grass is greener' syndrome. Some people are never happy, but when you have one half of the working population saying they are not happy, then you have a lot of negative thinking going on which has to affect productivity.
So, how do we correct this societal problem? Part of the challenge is in the backgrounds of the workers. About 27% of people 25+years old hold a college degree or better. This means that nearly 75% of the working population have a high school diploma or less. This automatically categorizes most jobs into lower paying, low skilled labor positions which reduces the amount of control and creativity that can be used in the workforce.
Increasing education levels is one answer to the problem, but this is a slow build solution. On the job training and advanced educational opportunities is another on-going solution. Off shore manufacturing is taking away a lot of jobs and people are being forced to learn new skill sets or risk extinction. So, whether we like it or not, the labor force is going to have to advance educationally in order to survive in the rapid changes of our economy moving from manufacturing to service and higher levels of thought processing involved in the work. As this moves in this direction, people will hopefully start to connect their hearts with their brains and find work that likes them and they love going to each day. This is one way to start to reduce workplace stress.
Come see us at www.stress-less.com

Monday, March 29, 2021

 Motivation for Volunteering and Stress

Having too many motivations for volunteering can lead to added stress

When someone decides to volunteer for an organization they usually have at least one personal motivation for doing so.  A person may be motivated by their values, their desire to better understand other people, to meet a personal challenge or to show concern and empathy for others.  Despite these good intentions, volunteering does have a downside because it costs time and can be stressful.  Generally when people feel they have achieved their personal motivations, however, they report feeling less stress and very satisfied with their volunteering experience.  If achieving personal motivations reduces the stress associated with volunteering, would people with more than just one motivation to volunteer be more likely to enjoy their volunteering experience?  To answer this question, researchers conducted three experiments that compared volunteers who had just one or multiple motives for volunteering.

What was the research about?
The first experiment included 282 volunteers in an AIDS service organization who provided emotional support and day-to-day assistance to people with HIV/AIDS.  These volunteers completed an initial survey immediately before they began their volunteering duties, and then completed a follow-up survey 6 months later.  The initial survey asked the volunteers to indicate their personal motivations for choosing to volunteer.  The follow-up survey asked volunteers to report the stress they experienced while volunteering and how much volunteering had cost them (e.g., taking up too much time).  The follow-up survey also asked volunteers to report how much each of their motivations for volunteering had been fulfilled and how satisfied they felt about their experience.  Results showed that volunteers who had more than one motivation for volunteering reported experiencing more stress, more costs, less satisfaction and less fulfillment of their motivations compared to volunteers who had just one motivation for volunteering.  The second experiment also found these same results with a sample of 146 hospice volunteers.

The third experiment actually manipulated how many motivations participants had for volunteering.  Before they took part in a “volunteer activity” (stuffing envelopes for an environmental organization), participants read a testimonial supposedly written by another volunteer explaining why he had volunteered for the environmental organization.  Participants were instructed to use this testimonial to “get in the mindset” before they stuffed envelopes.  The testimonial contained either one or two motivations for volunteering.  After stuffing envelopes for 15 minutes participants indicated how much their motivations for volunteering (as read in the testimonial) were satisfied.  Results showed that participants who had only read about one motivation for volunteering reported more satisfaction.

Why should it matter to me?

Our time is a very precious commodity; therefore, when you actually do have the time to volunteer you may want to ask yourself exactly what your motivation for volunteering really is before you commit yourself.  If you have one single strong motivation to volunteer, chances are you will enjoy the experience more than if you have a variety of motivations.  Why might this be so?  One reason may be that people who have multiple motivations to volunteer just can’t satisfy any one of those motivations very much, therefore, they just don't enjoy the activity as much as a person who has one clear reason for volunteering.  So in the future, make sure you know why you are volunteering and you will probably feel much more fulfilled.

Source: Kiviniemi, Marc T., Snyder, Mark & Omoto, Allen M. (2002). Too Many of a Good Thing?  The Effeccts of Multiple Motivations on Stress, Cost, Fulfillment & Satisfaction. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 732-743.