Whether it’s the past or the present, internal or external reasons, stress can be a major detrimental factor to your health and well-being. You are stressed when a hormone known as cortisol is being produced in greater quantities. The hormone is useful for a flight and fight response but too much of it can wear you down. Some major reasons why your stress levels are rising (and their solutions) are discussed here. Be sure to identify the one you relate to and tackle it!
One of the leading causes of suicide is work stress. How many times have you felt dissatisfied with your job or had days when the workload was unbearable? Not being sure of what your responsibilities are, where you need to draw the line, the boss’s unrealistic expectations, feeling insecure in your workplace or having to work around dangerous conditions can all take a toll on your stress levels and cause your cortisol levels to shoot through the roof.
If you are facing workplace politics or harassment, this could make things worse. Not only will you be subjected to physical threats but also psychological distress. Having no guarantee of your safety in your workplace or feeling undermined or unappreciated due to the discriminatory behavior of the boss, can both keep you at your wit’s end and demotivate you from self-actualization at work.
The best way to tackle and fix this is to focus on eliminating the stress factor. If you are being harassed by a colleague (s) or your boss, report them to the higher authority! Most companies have rules and rights set in place for their employees based on law. The case could also be taken to the state authority as it workplace harassment is a criminal offense by law almost in all parts of the world now.
If you find you are being overburdened, voice your concerns to your head or sort it out with your colleague. After defining your job responsibilities and drawing your line, you still find you are unable to cope with the workload there may be other reasons you are unable to manage it. Some of them could be due to mismanagement of time or workspace or you might find that there are certain skills in the task you know but are slow at.
For the former de-clutter and organize yourself. For the latter, like they say, practice makes perfect so identify the skill set you need to improve upon and focus on it even during your free time. You might have to minimize your break time at the start so you do not have to take your work home with you. There is no shame in learning a new thing even in your professional life. Remember, learning is a lifelong process.
Sometimes, however, the work stress could just occur from anxiety to speak at a very important meeting in front of your boss (current/ potential), colleagues or client (existing/ potential) which can be minimized by preparing ahead, practicing and feeling confident and good about yourself and your capabilities.
Life is not a bed of roses unless you also remember that roses have thorns then maybe we could say it is. The excitement of meeting a potential life partner or a new house and the anxiety of having a healthy baby during pre-mature labor or finding out your mom is fighting cancer, whether positive or negative, all add up to life stress. Life is beautiful not only because of the sunny days but also because of the challenges we have to face and overcome. Death, divorce, unrealistic expectations by people around you, losing a job, a new house, marriage, a fatal wound or illness (of yours or loved ones), more financial obligations, emotional trauma (anxiety, guilt, depression, low self-esteem and anger), traumatic experience (natural disaster, rape, harassment or violence or theft) and having to take care of a sick loved one are all life events-good or bad- that can affect your cortisol levels.
To reduce stress due to life factors, focus on personal development by going to the gym or finding therapeutic activities like meditation, yoga or whatever you are passionate about. Most of life’s events-positive and negative- are necessary, unavoidable and uncontrollable and the best way to tackle them is to keep a healthy balance in life and learn to take care of yourself.
A major common misunderstanding is that a person who focuses on satiating themselves first is selfish and can never be successful in taking care of their loved ones. Whether you are a young mother or father or the child of a sick parent, know the best way you can nurture and take care of your loved one is by first improving your own self-image and self-esteem. When you appreciate and respect yourself, you value the people and blessings in your life.
If the problem can be controlled or is life-threatening to you and your loved one (apart from a fatal disease), make its elimination your priority. If you feel you can no longer deal with stress alone, it’s best to seek professional help. Most mental health counselors and therapists have now incorporated telemedicine into their practice and you can contact them using your laptop or smartphone.