The Role of the Stress Response in Modern Day Life
Types of Stress
Acute Stress – Demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future. Essential and exciting in small doses, but too much is exhausting. Because it is short term, acute stress doesn’t have enough time to do the extensive damage associated with long-term stress. The most common symptoms are:
Emotional distress — some combination of anger or irritability, anxiety and depression, the three stress emotions. Muscular problems including tension headache, back pain, jaw pain and the muscular tensions that lead to pulled muscles and tendon and ligament problems. Stomach, gut and bowel problems such as heartburn, acid stomach, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Transient overarousal leads to elevation in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, dizziness, migraine headaches, cold hands or feet, shortness of breath and chest pain. Acute stress can crop up in anyone’s life, and it is highly treatable and manageable.
Episodic Acute Stress- Affects those with chaotic lives; Type A personalities; chronic worriers. Caused by persistent over arousal. Persistent tension headaches, migraines, hypertension, chest pain and heart disease.
Chronic Stress- Caused by unrelenting demands and pressures for seemingly interminable periods of time. Wears people down, leads to breakdowns and kills through suicide, violence, heart attack, stroke and possibly cancer.
Causes of Middle Leader Stress
Increasing Complexity of the Role
Managing Up and Down
Being Pulled in Different Directions
Piggy in the Middle
Trying to Build Trust While Also Monitoring Performance of Colleagues
Leading Change with No Authority
Expectation to Inspire, Motivate and Support Others With No Training or Support
Community in Constant Transition
Impact of Stress
Need to Escape
Insufficient Personal Time
Deficiency of Sleep
Short Term Health Problems
Worry About Long Term Health
Dealing with Underlying Causes of Stress
Changing the environment that we work in rather than dealing with the symptoms of stress
Flourishing and building resilience
Using positive psychology as a framework
Which of these do you do regularly in your leadership practice?
Shedding the Leadership Mask
Making Oneself Vulnerable
People work is the work- ourselves is the only tool we have and everything we say and do matters.
Making Time to Connect
Praise – must be timely, authentic and specific
Improving relationships is a win win
Developing Signature Strengths
Understanding our strengths and finding new ways to use of signature strengths in our work.
Releasing happy hormones- oxytocin, serotonin.endorphins, dopamine
Savouring- luxuriating, marvelling, basking in positive experiences
Turning positive experiences into positive emotions
Gratitude – 3 Good Things Intervention
Seeking Purpose Through Values
Shared values and purpose
Choose only two of these core values. Which are most important to you? Share with your team and establish a set of team values as a preliminary to establishing shared purpose and intention.