HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO STRESS? JANE BARNFIELD JUKES OFFERS HER ADVICE
Stress - a bad thing, right? Jane Barnfield Jukes, Leading Psychotherapist and Founder of Natural Health Supplement brand, Eudeamon, offers her advice on how to cope with stress in a busy world.
According to Kelly McGonigal, a leading health psychologist, it is, in fact, our view of our stress that is the most damaging. A recent study revealed some quite shocking statistics. It is our belief around stress that dictates the outcome of it’s physical, mental and emotional effect on us. Whether it is our perception or reality that is correct we can certainly not ignore the enormous impact stress has - not just for ourselves but especially within our working environment.
Mental Health Foundation state that 74% of the UK workers report that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope with the stress they have had over the past year. Thirty two percent have had suicidal thoughts. The Health and Safety Executive statistics state that 526,000 people report
suffering work related stress, depression or anxiety (2016/17). Twelve point five million working days were lost due to work related stress, depression or anxiety. The contributing factors were lack of support, bullying, lack of autonomy or imposed changes and workload.
A certain amount of stress is a normal part of life. How we respond to it is key. One of the most important things is to take control of what you can change and try to accept the things you can’t. You may find it helpful to make a list of what you are finding particularly stressful – both personally and professionally. The results may surprise you. We often wrongly assign our feelings. Often when we are struggling with stress levels or work/life balance you may find that one is seeping into the other.
Although this is easier said than done try to set boundaries, creating a clear distinction between personal time and work time. These boundaries have become more difficult to impose with technological advances. Also, our devices can sometimes fulfil our deepest desire for personal interactions, feelings of self-worth or, simply, feed our feeling of relevance (i’m in demand, therefore I am loved and necessary). This, in turn, feeds our egos and temporarily making us feel more secure. In fact, some suggest the devices themselves have become attachment figures or
Problems arise when the balance between our work life and personal life becomes skewed, and our work life starts to take over. The most important thing to remember when this happens is to take control. Create proper boundaries between your work and your home, including your phone. If necessary, book time off from your phone and all other electronic devices.
If work is getting on top of you speak to somebody. Do not suffer in silence. Work smarter not
harder. You may want to watch Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture on YouTube. Take a time management course. Be active. Take time to connect with people you care about, including yourself. Engage in hobbies or challenge yourself to learn something new. Help other people. Its amazing how this virtue feeds us in ways we don’t truly understand or appreciate. Consider watching the “How to make stress your friend” TED talk.
Mindfulness meditations in the morning and evening can have a remarkably positive psychological impact. Consider finding a mindfulness course in your area. These suggestions may sound simple however when we are stressed and overwhelmed sometimes it the simplest things we forget. If life becomes too overwhelming, consider seeking therapeutic support. Above all be kind to yourself. Embark on a regime of self-care.
Make sure the voice inside your head is on your side and has your back. Remember the words of the words of the Serenity Prayer, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”