Understanding and Eliminating Stress: Keys to Health and Success

February 9th, 2011

by Lauren Shapiro*

stressWho hasn’t been super stressed out in the past year? Between the economy, layoffs and undertaking of additional work at no additional pay – how could you not be stressed? Now, more than ever, employees are feeling strained without relief.  According to Dianne Buckner of CBC News, “When it comes to the pressing priorities of an average entrepreneur, managing the mental health of staff is probably not at the top of the list. Concern about whether or not employees are feeling good about their work and their lives likely has to take a back seat to issues related to surviving this tough economy, such as improving sales or reducing expenses.” Buckner goes on to write, “But touchy-feely as emotional well-being may sound, the fact is that issues such as anxiety, depression and burnout present some very real costs — and not just to individual enterprises, but to the economy as a whole.”

With internal pressures growing greater as we watch unemployment lines grow, these anxieties and stresses begin to affect the mind and body. It is important to note that there are different types of stress that we experience. Good stress motivates us to give a stellar presentation or to go above and beyond for a meeting. However, bad stress can cause negative effects including sleeplessness, headaches, high blood pressure or fatigue, illustrates an article in the San Jose Mercury News. Explains Reba Connell, Center for Stress Reduction, “Stressors, the life events that cause feelings of stress, can also often put the body in a chronic “fight or flight” or hyper-arousal mode. The feelings associated with fight or flight include accelerated heartbeat and breathing, tunnel vision and racing thoughts. This mode releases endorphins and cortisol, which can increase blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar levels. High blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attack.”

There are plenty of ways to reduce stress. Taking a “mental health” day is a great way to take a step away from the hectic workday and focus on doing something for yourself. Put the BlackBerry down and relax. (Want more tips on how to reduce digital overload? Check out this BurrellesLuce newsletter.) Take a bath, go shopping, do something that you enjoy and take the time to enjoy it! “Mental health” days are great ways to break up the work week and remind you that things may not be as bad as they seem. They will rejuvenate you and bring you back to your non-stressed self.

If you can’t step away for a mental health day, here are some tips to keep stress at bay, as suggested by Rismedia.com

  1. Get plenty of sleep.
  2. Learn to make decisions quickly and let go of the need to over-analyze everything.
  3. Express your feelings and don’t bottle up your emotions.
  4. Avoid trying for perfections and don’t sweat the small stuff.
  5. Maintain a positive mental attitude by utilizing affirmative “self-talk.”
  6. Stop worrying so much and look at situations more optimistically.
  7. Smile and laugh frequently throughout the day; don’t take yourself so seriously.
  8. Mix leisure with work: take breaks and get away when you can.
  9. Become more tolerant. Don’t be overly critical of yourself or others.
  10. Keep a list of things to do and stay focused on short-term accomplishments

Does your organization provide stress relieving activities? How do you cope with stress prevalent in PR, marketing, communications, or client services?


*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

One Response to “Understanding and Eliminating Stress: Keys to Health and Success”

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