Taking a step back into history the term ‘stress’ as it is currently used in Health terms was coined by an Endocrinologist called Hans Selye in 1936. Hans defined stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”, in the years following this many people viewed stress as something unpleasant, so Selye created the new word ‘stressor’ to help distinguish good stress from bad stress. All humans experience different levels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ stress but stigmas around the topic in general have led people to associate the word stress in a negative light.
Stress is difficult to define because it is so different for each of us, a good way to explain this is by using the rollercoaster analogy. Observing passengers on a rollercoaster you will see some people hunched down, eyes shut with a tight grip whilst others will be wide eyed thrill seekers eagerly at the front yelling. What distinguishes the passengers in the front from the back is the sense of control they feel over the event.
As an industry we need to do more to help each other and employers have a legal duty to protect all employees from stress at work, many workers are still unwilling to talk about stress at work due to the stigma attached to it but stress is not a weakness and it can happen to anyone, in fact every single person on the planet experiences stress in their everyday lives but we all experience it at different levels, as stated previously some is good stress and some is bad stress and it’s how we cope and deal with it that matters.
There are many different ways to tackle stress, self-help strategies such as meditation, yoga and journaling, professional help such as visiting a GP and CBT therapies and even something as simple as owning a pet (obviously only if you are an animal lover pets are not for everyone)! A recent study has shown that by interacting with animals it actually lowered levels of cortisol (a stress related hormone) and lowers blood pressure as well as encourages exercise, provide social support all while offering company and unconditional love! Cats and dogs are the top companions for lowering stress levels and also help with anxiety, depression and tackling the big issue of loneliness. It’s a known fact pets don’t judge us – they just love us and are fantastic listeners. April is also annually known as National Pet Month.
Below we have put together a few tips on how to deal with work related stress: