Stress develops when you have more pressure on you than you are able to handle.  By itself stress is not necessarily harmful.  It's when stress turns into distress and eventually burnout that you might begin to really suffer.

So why are stress levels rising?

In this recent article in The HR Magazine research found that 46% felt more stressed at work than they did 12 months ago, compared to only 12% who felt less stressed compared with 12 months ago. Just under one in five (17%) employees felt their work stress levels are ‘much higher’ than they were 12 months ago.  I agree - I am seeing more and more individuals and teams showing signs of stress.

So what are the likely signs of stress?

We all have our survival mechanisms and strategies that we resort to in times of stress.  These have often been developed and perfected over many years, and when the stress is on we might find that we become more rigid and defensive in our behaviour.   I often observe a culture of blame, ambivalence, all or nothing thinking, and passive or aggressive behaviours playing out with individuals and teams that I coach.   These behaviors tell a story and provide valuable information that allows for change to take place.

So is becoming more self-aware the answer to managing stress?

I personally believe that without awareness it is very difficult for an individual to see the impact that stress is having, not only on their own wellbeing, but also on the wellbeing of others.  I have worked in organisations where leaders were stressed and found it very difficult to manage their emotions.  The impact this had on the engagement of others was often extreme and the impact on the performance of the business was even greater.

So how stressed are you?

  1. Do you feel overwhelmed by your current workload and believe that you have no control over this?
  2. Are you avoiding conflict?
  3. Are you shutting down your emotions or having emotional outbursts?
  4. Are you finding it hard to sleep?
  5. Do you use unhealthy ways to manage your stress?
  6. Are you playing the blame game?
  7. Do you want to thrive but feel like you are merely surviving?
  8. Are you fulfilling your potential and exceeding in terms of your performance?
  9. Is your team high performing?
  10. Are you growing your business and engaging the best talent?
  11. Do you leave work feeling energised and motivated having done your best?
  12. Are you happy?

Depending on how you answered these questions, you will have a fairly clear picture as to your current emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.  

So what can you do about it if you feel stressed?

Firstly recognise that you are in control and can develop skills to become more resilient.

I work in partnership with an organisation called JCA Global who have developed a set of tools that help you to become more resilient.  There a 8 elements that I work with individuals and teams to help them develop this resilience.   We all have resilience and therefore need to be clear about our own personal areas of development.  4 of these elements are:

  1. Be clear about your purpose
  2. Learn skills to manage conflict so that you become an expert influencer and set boundaries that are aligned to your purpose
  3. Develop your Emotional Resilience.  Pay attention to your physiology - how you feel impacts how you perform and learn to identify your triggers.  
  4. Connect with others - seek support and strengthen your network.  

Emotionally-i-Fit work with Managers and Leaders to develop emotional intelligence and core skills to manage stress in order to thrive. To find out more about these programmes please contact Amanda Wildman on 07815 743045.