Physical Response to Stress

MANAGING WORKPLACE STRESS Dena Mezger, P.E. City of Lees Summit, MO What Can We Learn

What are the signs and symptoms of stress What are the stressors in life and on the job How do we cope What can individuals do to manage stress What can supervisors or managers do What is Stress?

A state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter the normal equilibrium of an organism A stressor is a stimulus that causes stress Boundaries of Stress

Some stress is inevitable No stress means you may be dead Excess stress and we may breakdown A proper balance of stress means successful function Physical Response to Stress When you perceive a threat or demand nervous system releases stress

hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol that rouse the body for emergency action. heart pounds faster muscles tighten blood pressure rises breath quickens senses become sharper.

Fight or Flight Response Physical changes increase strength and stamina, speed reaction time, and enhance focusto fight or flee from the danger at hand. Stress response protects you and also helps you rise to meet challenges - even small ones like a presentation at work But beyond a certain point Chronic stress, experiencing

stressors over a prolonged period of time, can result in a long-term drain on the body Stress causes wear-and-tear on the body major damage to health, mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life Signs of Excessive Stress

People who cited physical symptoms experienced Fatigue 51 % Headache 44 % Upset stomach 34 % Muscle tension 30 % Change in appetite 23 % Teeth grinding 17 %

Change in sex drive 15 % Feeling dizzy 13 % Long Term Effects

Heart problems High blood pressure Susceptible to infections Skin problems acne, eczema, psoriasis Pain muscles, migraines, fibromyalgia Diabetes if predisposed Impaired mental function, memory Stressors in our Lives What causes you the most stress

in your life? What are some ways used to cope with these stressors? Top Causes of Stress in the U.S. #1 - Job Pressure Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor-more so than even financial problems or family

problems. -St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. Top Causes (Contd) 2 3 4 5 6 7 Money Health Relationships

- Poor Nutrition - Media Overload - Sleep Deprivation Dealing with Stressful Situations Change the situation Avoid the stressor

Alter the stressor OR Change your reaction Adapt to the stressor Accept what you cant change Change the Situation Avoid

Learn to say no Avoid people who stress you out Take control of your environment Avoid hot-button topics Pare down your to-do list Change the Situation Alter

Express your feelings instead of bottling them up Be willing to compromise Be more assertive Manage your time better Change Your Reaction Adapt Reframe problems Look at the big picture Adjust your standards

Focus on the positive Change Your Reaction Accept Dont try to control the uncontrollable Look for the upside Share your feelings Learn to move on

Coping with Stress Kick Back Set aside relaxation time Connect with others Do something you enjoy everyday Keep your sense of humor Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

Regular exercise Reduce caffeine and sugar Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs Alcohol actually increases cortisol, the stress hormone Get enough sleep

Healthy eating On the Job Prioritize tasks Balance schedules - dont overcommit Delegate responsibility

Resist perfectionism Be willing to compromise Break projects into small steps Meet challenges with humor Realize when you are stressed and take action Take a time out

Relaxation techniques Talk it over with someone Examine negative thinking - look for the upside Look for humor in the situation What can a Supervisor do about workplace stressors? Job Conditions That May Lead to Stress

Heavy workload, infrequent breaks, long hours Routine tasks that have little inherent meaning, do not utilize workers' skills, and provide little sense of control. Lack of participation by workers in decision- making, poor communication in the organization, lack of family-friendly policies. Poor social environment and lack of

support or help from coworkers and supervisors. Job Conditions (Contd) Conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility, too many "hats to wear.

Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement, or promotion Rapid changes for which workers are unprepared. Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions Evaluate Job Conditions Redistribute workload if possible Restructure repetitive tasks

Match skills to assignments Improve physical conditions Improve Communication Share information with employees to reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures Clearly define employees roles and responsibilities

Make communication friendly and efficient Consult Your Employees

Opportunities to participate in decisions that affect jobs Consult about scheduling and work rules Workload suitable to abilities & resources Show individual workers are valued rewards & incentives, praise good work Opportunities for career development Cultivate a Friendly Social Climate

Opportunities for social interaction among employees Zero-tolerance policy for harassment Management actions consistent with organizational values Relax! A few relaxation techniques to

remember Breathing Muscle relaxation What Have We Learned Signs and

symptoms Sources of stress Coping Steps supervisors and managers can take to help reduce job stress

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