Volume 57, December 2005: Managing Stress

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2005 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape.” — Michael McGriff, MD

“I can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas lights.” — Maya Angelou

“Every pearl is an oyster’s victory over irritation.” — Anonymous

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Promotion of wellness in the workplace.
  • Pacing change, so that everything is not a priority.
  • Freedom from bureaucracy, overload, role ambiguity, burnout, and rust-out.
  • Clear decision-making processes.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Stress is recognized as the most pervasive and potent toxin in the workplace. Recognize the symptoms: absenteeism, low morale, apathy, substance abuse, increased rates of illness and disability, workers comp claims, accidents, tardiness, leaving early, reduced productivity. If you are stressed, others are, too – it is infectious. Stress management is a leadership responsibility. Why not create a corporate climate that minimizes stress? An environment that is relaxed, participatory, that allows people space and territory. Adequate reward mechanisms, which focus on what has gone well. Realistic job content, hours, and working conditions. A flatter structure that minimizes bureaucracy, and gives people more control over their work. Programs that enhance health, fitness, nutrition, and balance. People will take their cue from you. Observe and adjust your attitude toward change, your management of time, the way you work with others, and how you maintain a balanced life.

Frequently Asked Questions

“I think a little stress is a good thing. Why not encourage it?”
It is true that all stress is not harmful. There is a good form of stress (eustress), which is linked to energy, enjoyment, and creativity. Stress mobilizes us for action, shapes perception, heightens attention. If stress is too low, we cultivate the condition of low energy called “rust-out.” The risk is that people vary in their abilities to be challenged without being overwhelmed. If you can establish clear priorities and values, together with work choices, people can then select opportunities and challenges that fit.
“How do I develop a plan for managing stress in my life?”
  • View change as a challenge, opportunity
  • Manage your time
  • Say no, let go
  • Get help, delegate
  • Relaxation techniques. e.g., breathing, quieting
  • Laugh
  • Set realistic goals
  • Decrease caffeine, alcohol, tobacco
  • Increase nutrition, rest, exercise
  • Compartmentalize – leave work at work
  • Avoid blaming yourself and others
  • Reframe – look for the upside
  • Do something to help others
  • Insulate – refuse to accept other people’s problems, avoid negative people
  • Stop self-defeating thoughts
  • When you can, exercise choice
  • Utilize social support – share your problems, receive nurturance
  • Live one day at a time
“Aren’t physical health problems linked to stress?”
Yes. Hans Selye, an endocrinologist, first linked stress to illness and even death. These “diseases of adaptation’ are not the consequence of external agents, but our less than perfect adaptive reactions to stressors we encounter in life. Holmes & Rahe further elaborated: too many life changes (both good and bad) in too short a period of time were strongly linked to physical and psychological distress. More than just a crisis reaction, we cannot sustain a bodily state of “chronic vigilance’ – always preparing to “fight or run (flight)’ – without exhaustion. High on the list are cancer, heart failure, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, diabetes, chest pain, high blood pressure, and peptic ulcers. The main determinant (in who does and who doesn’t develop illness from stress) is Social Support.

Education

Free teleseminar on managing stress: The Healing Codes Revealed.

Interesting paper on the mind-body connection: The Mind/Body Connection.

Keyzines on related topics: Spirit at Work, Stress Reactions to Terrorism and Major Disasters, When Enough is Not Enough, Renewing Ourselves, and Driving Out Fear.

Articles/Publications


 

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