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Stress presents itself in so many ways. It’s running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, having a demanding day on the job, or a heated and intense argument with your significant other.

Stress can happen in an instant and remain with us for a long time. It manifests itself in different ways can affect the body as well as the mind.

WHAT IS STRESS?

Stress is s a non-specific reaction the body develops in a bid for you to adjust to what is currently taking place. Different types of stress can range from moderate levels to very severe ones. Intense stress can lead to the development of chronic diseases.

The different types of stress are:

  • Physical stressors – showing up as fatigue/tiredness, overexertion from repeated manual labor, surgery
  • Metabolic stressors – hormonal imbalances, chronic inflammation, excessive caloric intake, or the lack of it
  • Psychosocial stressors – the impact of sudden death, anxiety, divorce, any other stressful circumstance
BUILDING AWARENESS

How stress manifests itself in the body 

There is a wide range of situations that can cause stress to manifest itself in the body. There are typical examples such as the fear of public speaking or examination/test anxiety. These would fall under the category of psychosocial stressors, but they will go away once the situation ceases to exist. On the flip side, some instances can cause long-term effects and possibly lead to detrimental health consequences.

The proper term for this manifestation is chronic stress. It can be caused by one of or a combination of the following:

  • Relationship problems
  • Problems at work/on the job
  • Frequent illness
  • Life-altering changes
  • Lack of supportive/ healthy environments that are outlets for stress

Stress is a creeper. It may be affecting your body and your health, and you don’t even know. You may even mistake it for something else such as an illness and blame your discomfort on that instead of stress.

How stress impacts your energy

The human body was not made to withstand continued stress without there being consequences. One of the first signs of excessive stress is fatigue. Prolonged stress can cause the body to produce fewer nutrients than it would normally need to create energy.

Stress can cause depletion in the body’s B vitamins and magnesium levels. This can cause a spike in your anxiety, which could lead to high blood pressure.

Continuous stress can lead to dietary problems, unstable gut health, and even inflammation, all of which can affect your energy level. This type of impact can lead to further energy-depleting symptoms such as insomnia or inexplicable hyperactivity. It can affect your concentration and impact your professional output and overall job performance.  

If you do not learn how to manage your stress, it will continue to impact your energy negatively.

How stress impacts your creativity

In today’s world, creativity plays a key role in many professions. Under normal circumstances, creativity has been known to reduce stress, but if there is too much stress around you, it can stifle your creativity.

Therefore, we can agree that without stress, we can be more creative, which leads to doing a better job and responding in a positive way to life. Being pressured to be creative can also cause stress. Often, we are plagued with the need for perfectionism, and so what was a great and simple idea is now challenged because overthinking and anxiety have taken over. This can lead to creative burnout, which, if not managed correctly, can last longer than anticipated.

HOW STRESS IMPACTS YOUR LEADERSHIP AND WORK ENVIRONMENT

How stress impacts leadership

Being a leader is often stressful enough for many. As a leader, you aren’t put in the position to complain. As such, even though you may be facing stressful situations, you ignore what is taking place in your mind and body because of the belief that it ‘comes with the territory’.

Although short-term/minimal stress is anticipated because of the nature of your job, prolonged intense stress can have a negative impact on not only you but also your work environment. Stress can ultimately lead to your fall as a leader if not identified and handled accordingly.

Excessive stress, if ignored, can also cause you not to pick up when those you lead are stressed or become insensitive to the matter. It is, therefore, important that as a leader, you are able to identify the signs of stress the moment they arrive. This will be beneficial to both you and those you lead.

Look for signs such as:

  • High staff turnover
  • Increased absence from employees
  • Arguments
  • Decreased performances
  • Reports of stress and grievances

In cases such as these, it is up to you as the leader to step up and assist those you are put in charge of and yourself to deal with stress. You can do this by:

  • Scheduling rest time and breaks
  • Asking for help and fostering an environment for that 
  • Exercising more patience
  • Increase staff motivation 
How stress impacts your work environment

Workplace stress is not a new concept or a new topic for discussion. For many years, stressors in the work environment have been known to negatively impact employees. It affects their attitude towards their job; their behaviors can cost a company millions if the situation escalates.

A stressful work environment can cause people to perform below standard. It can, in turn, reduce productivity and cost the company customers and a loss in revenue.

Stress in the workplace can present itself in ways such as a lack of sleep, low to no creativity, low energy, poor time management, a lack of teamwork, and the list can go on.

If you are not able to manage the stresses that can arise within your working environment, then it can have a lasting impact.

Therefore, it is in the best interest of the organization that you work with to consider implementing organizational stress management techniques so that no one is left behind.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Stress is spoken about everyday and more often than not, it is affecting us and we don’t even know it.

Being in a state of constant stress is not recommended, and it is not healthy. Building our awareness of stress and how it affects our minds and bodies is a necessity. There is no single definition for stress, and it is not tied to manifesting itself in any specific way.

The dangers that lie in stress are not knowing that it is present and mistaking it for illnesses or general discomfort. There are also persons who do not fully understand how serious stress can be and the effects that it can have on them.

Developing your knowledge of stress and building awareness around it will significantly help you in your personal and professional life. It will also allow you to assist someone else in identifying the subtle signs of stress and bring their awareness to the fact that it may develop into a chronic disease.

Be mindful of your environment and everything that you let in. If you believe that you are stressed, seek to manage it and lower the chances of permanent damage taking place. You might never know if it has been affecting your personal life or your business.