Workplace Stress: After the Rah! Rah! Ends

You've likely attended a meeting or a conference or been involved in a short-term project that injected you with a caffeine-like surge of excitement and enthusiasm. But what happens after the sounds of the collegial "Rah! Rah!" fades and the helium lift to one's spirits deflates? Does work A place where you occupy space doing what is required, but with a sense that there is something more waiting in the wings, away from work? Does it become an incubator for stress?

When you consider that most often you spend more time with your work colleagues than with your family, the quality of that time can make a big difference in how you perceive your work life.

Do you feel a sense of belonging?  Do your contributions at work matter? Do you look forward to the challenges that the work day may bring? Is there any incentive to learn new skills or to move about within the company?

How you feel makes a difference, not only to your work, but also to your stress levels. Resilience and performance improve when people feel valued - when they feel good about their contributions and themselves.

It is up to management to establish the vision - the blueprint -  for the workplace. The employees are then free to add colour - to enhance and grow the vision. Simply stating the vision doesn't ensure that it will be followed through. When it is only lip-service, people know - they feel it deep in their hearts. Which is precisely where you can go to turn things around.

The heart sends signals to the brain, which then interprets those signals and responds with the appropriate chemical cascade. Flight, fight or freeze occurs when someone perceives that they are in danger. That danger may not be a real threat of death, but the brain doesn't realize that when someone is feeling unfairly treated, misheard or ignore. It responds as if it were a real life or death situation. Conversely, when people feel respected and are considered valued members of an organization that cares, they feel supported and thus are better-equipped to withstand the less-than-optimal working conditions that may occur.

Your perception changes which part of the brain becomes active. The Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) is known as the Executive Centre - it's where better decisions are made, as well as being the place where rational thought, reasoning and creativity occurs. Do you see how it would be advantageous to your company to have employees know how to quickly access the brain's CEO, as it is affectionately called?

By establishing a process that includes on-demand stress transformation techniques, every employee from management down will be better able to manage their emotions through the quieter periods at work as well as during the more hectic or volatile times.

Stress is like an octopus with tentacles which reach into all aspects of work - increased carelessness, higher rates of violence in the workplace, lost productivity, unmet deadlines, lack of innovation, lost time due to sick-leave, low morale and high employee turn-over. Is this the price you are willing to pay?

Stress: it's in you to change. It's not a luxury - it's a necessity.

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