Managing Stress

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In their booklet A Survival Guide to the Stress of Organizational Change, Price Pritchett and Ron Pound call Stress...The Invisible Epidemic. They write:

"Antibiotics can't touch it. The microscope can't even spot it. It's rapidly spreading, and almost everybody is feeling the effect.

Stress, it's a hot word these days.

Most people agree that these are high-pressure times. Employees complain of being burned out. Used up. Overloaded. Too many of us are just plain tired, overdosed on change, sick of ambiguity and uncertainty.

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And if today's stress and tension aren't enough to create problems, just consider what the future holds. Actually, today is just a warm-up. Tomorrow promises us an even more complex world, a still faster rate of change. And, unless we learn to handle life better, we will experience more stress than we ever dreamed of. These will soon be remembered as the good old days."

In engineering terms, "stress" is explained as the result of placing an object under pressure. In physiological terms, "stress" is your body's reaction to a challenge or threat. This is commonly known as the "fight" or "flight" response.

A stressor is anything in the environment that triggers the "fight" or "flight" response in our body. In the past, stressors were more physical, such as our body's response when we are in danger. In modern times, stressors are more subtle and intangible. Examples include constant change, uncertainty, hurrying, and of course the constant pressures of every-day living. Chronic stress and overload are linked to a whole host of diseases as well as premature aging. If the "fight" or "flight" response stays turned on over an extended period of time, our body (like an engine that's been revving past the redline for too long) eventually burns out and breaks down.

CRI's "Managing Stress," seminar focuses on the causes of stress and then examines various ways that we can deal with this robber of productivity. Once you understand stress, it will then be possible to develop a strategy to take advantage of the forces of change, master stress and make it work for you. Remember: Change is inevitable. Stress is predictable. But, misery is optional!