Monday, April 26, 2021
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.
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.
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Monday, April 12, 2021
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.
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Friday, April 9, 2021
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.
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