In the latest in her wellness workshop webinar series, consultant Debbie Kleiner looked at ways of managing what can be a debilitating condition... What do we mean when we talk about stress? Can it be both good and bad for us? And how can we manage it? Expert Debbie Kleiner considered each of these factors – and more – in the latest of her wellbeing workshop webinars. Covering stress awareness, Debbie defined stress as a “condition or a feeling when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resource that the individual is able to mobilise”. “It’s that feeling – it’s a physiological change as well – where the person is overwhelmed and where they just can't cope.” She added: “When we experience stress, we can feel out of control. It's a horrible feeling that I'm sure many of us have experienced. But we're all different. Your sister, your brother, your mum, your dad, your colleagues, you'll see how they deal with stress, how they experience stress, and you'll see the way they behave when they're stressed. We all handle stress differently.” Debbie said people were more likely to handle stress better when they felt confident about their abilities and urged those who had any concerns over a stress-related illness to seek advice from a qualified health professional. She then looked at the work of a researcher, Hans Selye, who put forward the concept of positive and negative stress. “He said that a mild level of stress can actually encourage people to behave in a more sort of active way. Whereas an excessive level of stress is going to hamper your performance. “That makes sense, doesn't it? This idea has been developed further with stress being replaced by that word ‘pressure’. “In the field you are In, you understand how pressure can work in relation to sport and performance. But, actually, we know that the right amount of pressure can really boost performance and too little can just make people feel a bit despondent and a little bit bored.” Debbie asked viewers to consider the times they had experienced stress and the feelings – pounding heart rate, sweaty, tense muscles – they might have felt in that period. She explained the flight or fight response and how that might help in a life-threatening situation, how it could hinder in other contexts, and how too much stress leads to alarm, resistance, exhaustion and burnout. Finally, she looked at the keys for managing stress: action, emotion and acceptance. Debbie accentuated the need to identify your stressors, to take control of your workload and to manage relationships. “It’s about prioritisation,” she said. ”It's about to do lists. It's about time management skills. It's about managing your relationships – because difficult relationships and conflicts at work can drain you. Needy colleagues can be draining. We have to really reflect on ‘how do we manage those relationships?’” She also asked viewers to challenge their negative thoughts, to use affirmations, and to practice stoicism....
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