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Anticipating and Acting Upon Stress in the Workplace

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Anticipating and Acting Upon Stress in the Workplace Linda Johnson * Rubber Band Mindfull = being in the moment Suggestions of people who are resilient Hands with ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Anticipating and Acting Upon Stress in the Workplace


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Anticipating and Acting Upon Stress in the
Workplace
Linda Johnson
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  • What is the best moment of your life?
  • Why?
  • If you only had 30secs left of your life, what
    would you like to relive?
  • Why?

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  • Happy memories are associated with happy
    occasions
  • Positive emotions build individuals long-lasting
    psychological, intellectual, physical and social
    resources
  • Negative emotions prompt narrow, immediate
    survival-oriented behaviours aka stress
  • Ref Friedricksen, B. 1998

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  • What is Stress?
  • Definitions?
  • Why is it so important to businesses?
  • What are the biological effects and health risks
    ?
  • What causes it?
  • How can we deal with it?

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  • Definitions of Stress
  • A situation where the demands are in excess of a
    persons ability or perceived ability to cope OR
    where the demands are not sufficient to maintain
    a persons interest in living
  • The release of stress hormones cortisol and
    catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenaline)
    into the blood stream
  • Unavoidable its a fact of life
  • The basis of many illnesses

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  • In business terms, stress is
  • The second most common reason for being off work
  • Affects 13.4 million employees
  • 10.8 million working days lost to stress in
    2010/11 with the average number of days off being
    27
  • Costing the UK economy 3.7bn a year in lost
    productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Figures from HSE Working Survey
    and Priory Group

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  • In biological terms, sensory receptors activate
    the hypothalamus, which releases
    neuro-transmitters to trigger the adrenal glands
    to release stress hormones
  • Catecholamines from the adrenal medulla fight
    or flight hormones which control the autonomic
    nervous system, increase heart rate and oxygen
    uptake, cause muscles to contract etc
  • Cortisol (steroid) released from the adrenal
    cortex raises blood sugar and blood pressure,
    increases carbohydrate metabolism etc

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  • Stress hormones affect -
  • Immune system - it shuts down
  • Digestive system -digestion slows, bloating,
    ulcers, cramps, diarrhoea, constipation etc
  • Metabolism the body craves sugars and fat
    stores increased risk of diabetes and raised
    cholesterol
  • Sleep/depression/anxiety
  • Memory, concentration learning
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Skin disorders e.g. eczema due to increased
    perspiration

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  • Real health risks when autonomic nervous system
    continually activated e.g. the heart beats faster
    while blood vessels constrict arteries which
    remain constricted lose elasticity so blood
    pressure rises to compensate the removal of fat
    from body is impaired and blood becomes sticker
    in preparation for injury so plaque is deposited
    on blood vessel walls, which also makes the
    vessels less elastic. The reduction in oxygen
    leads to chest pain as there isnt enough oxygen
    getting to the lungs. If plaque breaks off (clot)
    there is a risk of heart attack if it lodges in
    the heart or stroke if it travels to the brain

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  • If a stressor continues to stimulate the
    hypothalamus, the body remains constantly on
    guard, in a physiological state of stress with
    possible detrimental mental and physical effects

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  • Where does stress come from?
  • Home
  • Personal/social life
  • Economy
  • Political situation
  • Environment
  • Work

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  • How would you react to these situations?
  • A party where you dont know many people?
  • A new job in a new company?
  • A move to another part of the country ?
  • A 500-mile drive through isolated country-side?
  • A drive through a crime-ridden locality on your
    own at night?
  • A trip down to London, youre doing the driving
    and your young family is with you in the car?
  • A dinner party at your in-laws?
  • An afternoon of shopping in a large mall?

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  • How about these scenarios?
  • You are stuck in a traffic jam which is not
    looking good. In 10 minutes you will be late for
    a really important event/meeting/wedding. The
    battery in your mobile phone is dead. What do you
    do?
  • You are at work and it is almost 4.30pm. You have
    2 top-priority deadlines to meet and it is your
    turn to pick up the children from after-school
    child-care by 6.00pm. You cant delegate work as
    your colleagues have time-pressures and the boss
    is breathing down your neck. What do you do?

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Stress is the physical reaction to the senses
its a self created response and, as the research
points to, its actually all in the mind. A
positive outlook tends to keep levels of stress
hormones in equilibrium whereas a negative
perspective increases levels of stress
hormones.
Ref Annals of Behavioural Medicine
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  • Stress is a self-created response
  • Stress is a physical reaction to the senses
  • Some stress is normal, natural we need to know
    we can run away from danger BUT because the
    mind cannot differentiate between sources of
    stress and switch off if the response is
    unnecessary, it tends to adopt (often
    inappropriate) coping strategies to deal with the
    stressor.

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  • Our reaction to stress depends on our mindset-
  • Physiological responses e.g. muscle tension,
    palpitations, susceptibility to infections,
    cravings for starchy foods
  • Cognitive response e.g. worry, excitement, low
    confidence, hopelessness
  • Coping strategies e.g. avoiding priority tasks,
    rigidity or disorganisation, self-destructive
    behaviours such as smoking abusing alcohol

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  • Ways to prevent personal uncontrolled stress and
    to de-stress -
  • Develop resilience
  • Exercise (to release endorphins)
  • Eat well (to maintain level blood sugar levels)
  • Relaxation
  • Keep a stress diary

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  • Resilience
  • Bounce-back-ability
  • Attitude (can-do, positive, mindful, focussed,
    motivated, goal-driven, creative, contributing,
    good communication)
  • Adaptable (able to do more with less, open and
    agreeable to changing structures and roles)
  • Feeling of empowerment
  • Contributes to society life has positive meaning
  • Good networks and family compassionate

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  • Exercise
  • Releases endorphins which are analgesics,
    reducing pain and giving a natural high
  • Increases alpha brain waves indicating a relaxed
    state
  • Increases feelings of empowerment
  • Counteract many of the negative effects of stress
    hormones by increasing muscle tone, strengthening
    the heart, reducing BP, builds bone, reduces body
    fat

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  • Eat Well
  • Increases sense of empowerment self-control
  • Reverses some of the negative effects of stress
    hormones e.g. regulates blood sugar levels,
    reduces stored body fat, reduces risk of
    diabetes, enhances immune system through
    increased Vitamin C and Zinc, reduces blood
    stickiness and the risk of blood clots and stroke
  • Reduced caffeine improves sleep

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  • Relaxation
  • The antidote to stress is relaxation, when
    cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline release is
    brought back into equilibrium
  • Active relaxation enables the body to enter a
    state of deep calmness
  • It is a mentally active process which takes
    practice.
  • Increases alpha wave activity
  • Ideally 20-60 mins a day, every day but not
    before going to sleep!

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  • Relaxation
  • Yoga/tai chi
  • Meditation
  • Hypnosis with guided imagery
  • Self-hypnosis/relaxation CDs
  • Deep breathing
  • Rhythmic exercise (running, rowing, cycling)
  • Mindful power walking
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Body scan muscle relaxation

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  • Keep a stress diary
  • What caused the stress
  • How you felt, physically and emotionally
  • How you responded/behaviour exhibited/attitudes
    adopted/excuses made
  • How long did it take you to accept that the
    stress was self-potentiated?
  • What positive behaviours did you adopt to remove
    the stress?

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  • Workplace solutions
  • Review job-specs, roles and responsibilities
  • Reassess work-loads
  • Ask staff to complete HSE questionnaires to
    identify hidden sources of stress, bullying etc
  • Examine lines of communication and control,
    relationships between managers and reports, and
    engagement between functions/teams
  • Ensure appropriate processes and procedures,
    governance, quality control etc
  • Ensure the culture is empowering collaborative

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  • What is employers health and safety
    responsibility for mental health?
  • Current legislation is not powerful but by 2015,
    mental health will be at the forefront of public
    services Wellbeing Workplaces will become the
    norm.
  • The cost of stress to the economy is
    unsustainable school-kids are already being
    informed about stress and how to relax!

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  • Workplace solutions
  • Hold relaxation sessions/ provide hypnosis CDs
  • Train staff on stress and the detrimental effects
    it has on their physical and mental health.
  • Encourage healthy eating/exercising
  • Offer subsidised or free weight control/smoking
    cessation/freedom from addictions sessions etc.

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  • Evidence this works?
  • Astra Zeneca life-counselling increased
    productivity by 600,000
  • Grimsby Institute reduced staff stress-related
    sick days by 57 over 3 years
  • Stockport Council health wise campaign saved
    1.58 million by reducing sick days by 44. 
  • The British Library saved 160,000 by reducing
    absenteeism
  • Ref Business Action in Health

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Linda Johnson MBA BSc(Hons) GQHP Cert.SM 07585
802035 Skype LindaJohnson802035 linda_at_releaseyou
rpotential.co.uk www.releaseyourpotential.co.uk

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