Identify Your Stress Causing Kryptonite
Exposure to kryptonite knocked Superman out like an elephant being shot with an elephant tranquilizer. We too have actions, behaviors and mindsets that act like kryptonite by increasing our stress levels which can negatively affect our work and home life.
Stress affects us in different ways. Stress is the body’s response to a demand that is placed upon it. Other words that can be substituted for stress are catalyst, motivation, or stimulus. Having too little stress can cause stagnation and take away our desire to perform. That sentence may sound strange until I substitute the word motivation for the word stress. Here is the revised sentence. Having too little motivation can cause stagnation and take away our desire to perform. There is little to no effort which results in little or no accomplishment or achievement.
An adequate amount of stress can motivate us to “jump higher and run faster.” We are working or living in an environment that is “right” for us. We have the freedom and encouragement to use our skills, knowledge and abilities effectively. The result is high achievement. High quality results are produced with what appropriate, not over-taxing effort.
Overwhelming stress can be debilitating and crippling, making us ineffective at work and home. Sleep is disturbed. We begin to have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night without waking. Thinking and memory recall becomes impaired. The stress response works overtime pumping cortisone and other stress-related hormones into the body.
The body becomes more susceptible to infections, muscle and joint pain, and weight gain. Continued ongoing stress can cause damage to the cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune systems. Ongoing overwhelming stress is known to contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few.
We are more fortunate than Superman of course. Exposure to any amount of kryptonite crippled him. We can manage and use stress to our benefit by understanding how we are personally affected by it. We can also limit the effects by recognizing the sources of personal stress and developing personal coping strategies.
When we talk about stress, we often reference the environmental factors that affected us. These factors could be a difficult conversation; an encounter with a vicious dog; or an invitation to meet the parents of someone you like a lot.
The way you think about these situations affects your behaviors in regards to these situations. Your thoughts and behaviors will add to your personal stress response.
Stress laden actions and thinking can contribute to debilitating stress at work and at home. This is your personal stress-like kryptonite. The four descriptions that follow, categories a few behaviors and mindsets that contribute to overwhelming stress.
Perfectionism: No one is perfect, but some work hard trying to convince others of that fallacy. Perfectionism causes us to avoid and reject constructive criticism. We are offended when others do not acknowledge the perfection in us.
It also sets up scenarios that cause us to put pressure on ourselves trying to put every piece in its place. We become obsessed with details that may or may not be necessary. If pieces do not fall into place or if the details are unmanageable, the stress response kicks into overdrive.
Negativity: Negativity drains energy from individuals and the environment. It contributes to misunderstandings and hard feelings. Negative thinkers are pessimistic always expecting the worse. They believe that the worse will always happen. Negative thinking is a mindset that reinforces the idea that threats are imminent. Threats initiate the stress response.
Control: We are only responsible for ourselves. We cannot control others. Attempting to control the actions of others increases the stress one experiences. It is somewhat like trying to herd cats. Cats have their own personalities, moods, and characteristics. They do their own thing, as most cat owners know and happy cat owners allow them. The only control we have is over our individual thoughts, actions and beliefs.
Lack of Confidence: Insecurity, uncertainty and poor self-image also contribute to stress on the job and in the home. Lack of confidence causes one to question the motives of those around them. It also causes them to question their own intelligence, knowledge, and ability. Constantly questioning oneself creates a perception of constant threats. Threats are what initiate the fight or flight.
Kryptonite will only debilitate you if allowed. You can take the steps to remove or to protect yourself. The first step is to download Stress is Personal: Your Personal Starter Guide to Stress Relief. I wrote this guide to help working women identify, understand and relieve the stress they experience. The 36 page guide includes real life scenarios and tips to relieve stress in 30 minutes or less.
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