Tips for reducing stress
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Tips for Reducing Stress

Stress is a normal reaction to those times when we feel under pressure. We may have a crisis at work, a health issue or just feel there are not enough hours in the day.  Our work life balance may be out of kilter and it is all too easy to let stress get out of hand. Typical ways that people allow stress to overcome them include:

  • Withdrawing from friends and family.
  • Taking out their stress on others with moods and bad temper.
  • Drinking or smoking too much.
  • Procrastinating to avoid dealing with problems.

 

Tips for reducing stress

We cannot prevent the feelings of stress that occur as a natural part of life but it is possible to control the bad effects they can have on our life if we let them get out of hand.  Here are a few tips to help you:

Exercise – There is nothing like exercise to beat the effects of stress. It releases tension and produces endorphins into our system that promote a feeling of well-being.  A good walk or run when we are feeling stressed can get things back in perspective. Try to do some exercise outside in the fresh air. Being in nature can help make our thoughts more positive.

Diet – Eating the right foods can have a dramatic effect on how we feel. Eating foods rich in B vitamins will support your nervous system and help you produce enough energy. Broccoli, Barley, nuts, lentils, and whole grains are just some of the foods you should incorporate in your diet. Vitamin C supports your immune system and complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread boost our energy levels.

Avoiding alcohol and drugs – Using alcohol to make us feel relaxed and numb the effects of stress does much more harm than good. Alcohol is a depressant so while it might make you feel more relaxed for a while it will ultimately make you feel worse.

Sleep– Getting a good nights rest is one of the most important factors in stress management.  Recurrent lack of sleep can make the effects of stress far worse.  Try to do something to help you relax before bedtime; reading an uplifting book or article will keep your thoughts happy. Hot milk and a piece of toast and jam will boost your serotonin levels and aid sleep. Avoiding alcohol is key as it leads to broken sleep.  If sleep is still a problem during times when you are stressed, do not hesitate to see your doctor.

Daily Relaxation time – Taking 15/20 minutes a day to stop and do nothing but reflect can slow the rush. You can combine this time with a relaxing walk or simply sit somewhere quiet and gather your thoughts.

Keeping a positive attitude – Approaching hard times in a positive and productive way is healthier for our minds and bodies. Thinking the outcome will be the best rather than the worst, can help us cope with stressful situations. If you find you think more negatively about things then it is possible to learn positive thinking: Identify the times when you think more negatively and when you catch yourself taking a negative view then use some positive self talk to see things in a different way. Be open to humour during difficult times and ensure you have positive and supportive people around you to talk to.

If you accept there are some events you cannot control e.g. job loss, bereavement, illness you can learn to put yourself under less pressure.

Manage your time – There are certain situations which cause us stress where we do have control of, e.g. Managing time at work, managing travel times, planning ahead for appointments and social events. If we learn to prepare and prioritise tasks then this helps our daily life run smoothly which leads to fewer unexpected events that can cause us stress.

Seek social support – a good chat with friends that can support you works wonders when we feel stress taking over.

Being aware of when stress is having an adverse affect and doing something about it, will make you happier and healthier.

Seek expert advice – there are experts such as business coaches available who can help you manage your work life balance in such a way as to help you work through your tasks better. This in itself will help you reduce your stress levels.

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DavittCP are delighted to announce we are Ireland’s Alliance Partner for OPP and we are officially licensed to offer consultancy services to OPP’s clients based on OPP’s psychometric tools.

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Happy International Womans Day

According to a Chinese proverb, women hold up half the sky.

International Women’s Day was originally all about the RIGHT TO WORK– and the right to work in fair conditions, properly compensated for labor, and legally organized in open forums. It actually goes back to a protests by women garment workers in NYC against poor working conditions.

Women and the Workplace

  •  A Global Gender Gap Report 2012, showed that by reducing gender gaps in employment  the US GDP  increased by 9 percent and eurozone GDP by  13 percent.
  • Harvard University president Drew Gilpin Faus argues that women bring a different approach to social interactions in the workplace.

 

Yet, in Ireland……

Only 16 per cent of TDs are women; with only 9 per cent of our boards of  top private companies being made up of women. Fewer than one in four voices on our news and current affairs radio shows belong to women.

Interesting facts about women and work in the  Developing World?

  •  When women and girls earn income they reinvest 90% of it into their families compared with only 30-40% for men
  • 44% of businesses in Ghana are run by women
  • 75% of women worldwide cannot get bank loans because they have unpaid or insecure jobs
  • A World Bank Study of 100 countries found that the greater the representation of women in parliament the lower the levels of corruption
  • Women are outnumbered 4 to 1 in governmental positions around the world

 

 

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Is your Brain Hooked on Being Right -Judith E. Glaser HBR

Is your Brain Hooked on Being Right

When we experience stress, fear or distrust cortisol floods our brain and our executive functions which once helped us with advanced thought processes like strategy, trust building, and compassion shut down.

What happens instead is our amygdala, aka,  (instinctive brain), takes over, and we default to one of four responses: – fight (we keep arguing the point) – flight (revert to, and hide behind, group consensus)- freeze (disengage from the argument by shutting up)- appease (make nice with your adversary by simply agreeing with him).

Whilst all responses can be harmful to communications,  the fight response seems to be by far the most common and damaging to working business relationships.

After winning arguments, our brain floods with chemicals: adrenaline and dopamine; these make us feel good, and dominant – even invincible,  hence we want to replicate these feeling as often as possible, and this leads to us recreating the  “fight” response in any other similar situations. Whilst leaders may be extremely good at fighting for their point of view they may be completely unaware of the damaging impact this behavior can have on the people around them.

However, there is another hormone that can elicit a similar feel good response: oxytocin.

Oxytocin is activated by human connection and it opens up the networks in our executive brain, or prefrontal cortex, further increasing a person’s ability to trust others.

 

Some tips for increasing Oxytocin levels when communicating with others

(1)  Set rules of engagement.  Have everyone suggest ways to make meetings  and conversations both productive and inclusive –write down these ideas down for everyone to see. These practices should counteract the tendency to fall into harmful conversational patterns. 

(2)  Listen with empathy. Make conscious efforts to speak less and listen more. The more you learn about other peoples’ perspectives, the more likely you are to feel empathy for them.

(3)  Plan who speaks. In situations when you know one person is likely to dominate a group, create an opportunity for everyone to speak. Ask all parties to identify who in the room has important information, perspectives, or ideas to share. List them and the areas they should speak about on a flip chart and use that as your agenda, opening the floor to different speakers, asking open-ended questions and taking notes.