“My blood pressure is up” “I’m stressed out”
“I’m working too hard for too many hours” “They can’t see it”
“Everyone wants a piece of me; what about ME!” “I can’t ******* cope”
“I’m stressed” “I feel like my life is either on pause or fastforward”
“The stress is getting to me” “why wont anyone help me”
“How do I distress?” “I can’t relax” “I get no me time” “I am lonely”
“My life is stressful” “It’s all very clear to me why doesn’t everyone else get it?”
“I’m doing too much” “Why is no one listening to me?” “I hate people they are driving me mad”
“The doctor has signed me off with stress” “Everyone else has it so much easier than I do”
“I’ve had a headache for 3 weeks now” “Aggggghhhhhh” “I’m just so tired all the time”
Just some of the things I have been hearing, reading and OK saying over the last month… It’s a funny word stress; I looked at an online dictionary for a definition and it came up with 14 which frankly is just bloody silly for one word.
At University I studied Organisational Behaviour and we talked a great deal about the term stress; especially in the workplace. But, the last thing I want to do is get all academic about it, if you want to find out more about the theory then ask me by all means, or take a look at Work Organisations: A Critical Approach; Paul Thompson & David McHugh 2009. A much older version of this book was my set text for my degree; and I still refer to it now.
Stress is a term that we use to group together a set of reactions that someone is put under pressure. There is however more than one type of stress, there is good as well as bad stress.
The bad stress is the side we focus on; the side that makes us anxious, the side that sneaks up and punches us in the temple when we least expect it. The good stress is the ultimate basic motivator; without the good stress we would all stay in bed all day and the human race would cease to exist. All we need to know and understand is good stress is our friend; it’s the thing inside us that motivates us to do our best, and be our best what ever our path in life and what ever situation we find ourselves in. Its official term is Eustress and is defined as “healthy normal stress that leads to positive feelings” (Work Organisations: A Critical Approach; Paul Thompson & David McHugh 2009). It’s the things that make us happy, the things that drive us.
It’s the bad stress that’s the bloody problem. “an all pervasive phenomenon the effects of which are detectable from the biological level through the psychological and the interpersonal levels right up to sociocultural systems of values” (Work Organisations: A Critical Approach; Paul Thompson & David McHugh 2009). To give her an official title (oh come on people we all know something as aggravating, annoying and debilitating as this has to be a bloody woman) Distress.
Now, Di (as I like to call her) is a bitch! She’s unpredictable, she never calls ahead, she sneaks up on you from behind, you can be totally unaware of her presence but everyone else can see her. She can turn you to drink, she keeps you smoking, she makes bad decisions and she panics. She causes heart problems, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, baldness, fertility issues, and a whole host of horrible things. Its Di that tells you everything is going wrong, you can’t control every thing and that you can’t do it you cant cope and she’s laughing… the bitch!!!
Let’s just think about Eustress for a for a moment, I don’t see an obvious name for him so let’s go for Edward (Twilight anyone?), and yes this is just an excuse to put a half-naked man in my blog!! Do not under-estimate the power of Edward, where Di screams he is quiet, where she panics he is rational, because he is strong, independent, reliable, he thinks, he see’s clearly, he makes good decisions, he takes his time, he is confident. In short he is Ice cream in summer and a log fire in winter.
So, how do we deal with it? The first step is awareness and this is the aim of this article. Working with people to create awareness is a fascinating occupation and certainly makes for a fun working life. You know what? I gift this one piece of advice to you… Don’t always try!! Trying enables the bitch to be on top, it fuels Di so much that we forget Edward all together… you only have to look on Facebook and Twitter to see that we are all guilty in believing that stress is only ever a bad thing. So much of our time is spent analysing all around us and being analysed by others that we crave to understand everything fully. At times we all need to accept (I include myself in this) that we cannot control everything and we cannot and vitally should not know everything……
In conclusion we all have stress; Di and Edward need each other to exist, we all need them both. However; at times we all need to allow our inner Alpha male to step in and shut the bitch up – by acknowledging Edwards existence you will allow this to happen and you will be able to deal with the things that life throws at you in a much better way… Please remember I have at no time suggested that this is an easy thing to do!!!