Keep calm; carry on.

Mind, the mental health charity, describes stress in two ways:

  1. Situations or events that put pressure on us
  2. Our reaction to being placed under pressure

Whilst it is safe to say that stress is part and parcel of any present-day work environment, it can be disguised in many configurations and have varying effects on different people in the workplace. For some, the psychology of stress will induce their best work and provide the conditions needed to stimulate success. For others, stress can have such a negative impact that it makes an already challenging situation even worse.

Historically, my personal relationship with stress has been a turbulent one at best. Coupled with a high level of anxiety, stress would induce a sense of panic and dread. It goes without saying, that when we pay attention to one thing, we cannot necessarily pay attention to others. Stress has a remarkable way of becoming the entire focus of attention; so much so that it becomes debilitating – both in the energy that it takes, and in the objects of our attention that we are required to forsake.

I’m still working on my stress management. Through trial, I know that a certain level of pressure will activate my ability to work efficiently and to a high standard. I have come to realise that workplace happiness is a result of a fine balance of stress and building resilience to demanding circumstances. Meditation and mindfulness affords me headspace when needed and has the power to assist in constructing that resilience. Andy Puddicombe, founder of the guided-meditation app, Headspace, suggests that just unplugging for ‘10 mindful minutes’ is all it takes.

What are your stress ‘tells’? And what mechanisms do you use to cope? – Melissa

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