Stop Stress Now! Relieve Stress & Reclaim your Life with The Stress Equation
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It is estimated that over 10, people die of karoshi in Japan every year— most of them between ages , and otherwise healthy. Suicide due to work-related depression is also common. So common, in fact, that the Japanese government has set up a compensation program for families who lose loved ones to overwork. But sudden death or suicide due to occupational stress is not limited to Japan. When I lived in Seoul in , the average Korean worked 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, and kids went to some type of school days a year.
Drinking and smoking to cope were rampant, and cirrosis of the liver from alcoholism remains a major public health issue there. Recently, the Foxconn factory in China that builds computers and iPhones, among other products faced an alarming spate of worker suicides that brought Apple, HP and other companies under a lot of fire. Foxconn runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and tens of thousands of workers live at the plants, away from their families, putting in 12 hour shifts. But instead of changing working conditions, they installed safety nets in front of the factory windows.
It happens here too, as more and more American workers are forced to take second and even third jobs to make ends meet, or feel pressured to work overtime for free or give up vacations and weekend time to remain competitive at work. Usually we recognize the first signs of a dangerous level of stress as burnout , but it can and does progress to sudden death by cardiac arrest or stroke quite easily. In America, signs of stress and burnout are all around us. Everyone seems overwhelmed, over-scheduled, overstimulated, and lacking the resources to cope with it all.
Americans take more antidepressants—and increasingly antipsychotics—than any other country. It seems like stressors to our bodies, minds and souls are coming at us from all angles! Most people I know are wrestling with several physical and emotional stressors at the same time. How much can one spirit and one body take?!?! No wonder millions of people are sick, tired and depressed. If we are willing to endure a lousy work environment, or bad relationships, or a schedule that is too busy for exercise, then that is what we will get.
We get what we are willing to tolerate. A neighbor of mine recently confessed that she cancelled her Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as her cable TV account. While some of us might gasp horrified at the notion of unplugging entirely, she said it was the best thing she ever did , because now she hangs out with friends for entertainment or simply goes somewhere interesting alone.
As a result of trading her screen time for face time, she said she has easily and naturally met lots of new, interesting people, found an exciting new job, and even started dating someone she really likes who shares her real-time interests. She said none of that was really very possible or enjoyable with online social networks, job boards or e-dating services.
I will start by listing out my emotional and physical stressors and putting them in order of difficulty to resolve.
stop stress now relieve stress reclaim your life with the stress equation Manual
I think if I worked on alleviating one emotional stressor and one physical stressor in my life per month on average , I could make great strides on not only reducing my stress and improving my health, but also making life more enjoyable and meaningful. When I am healthy and take regular care of my stress, I am more self-sustaining, and better able to contribute to the well-being of my family and my community.
After a year career in green building and environmental sustainability, chronic illness forced her to shift her expertise and passion from the public sphere to home and hearth. Get the whole story behind SFF here. Recipe Rating.
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If yes do you want your name to stand in the text. This is common practice for all websites. Please find an appropriate stock photo or take your own. Thank you for this informative and well-researched post. The information helps explain a lot of what I see in myself and family.
Thank you, this is a great post. We have gone through stress for for many reasons around us and I am sure every one will be inspired by this information. It works I have tried it. What a great, well-researched article.
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I used to have a very stressful job and my health suffered terribly. Thing are back on track now though. The greatest stress reducer for me is knowing that God has things under control and that I can only see part of all that is actually happening. This weeks party is live. Have a great week. Things that never previously triggered stress now do so: a chirping smartphone at 9.
Data reliably shows we have more leisure time than in the past , not less. Even parents of small children spend more time per day , on average, in leisure activities than primary childcare. And the gap is widening fast. Our human limitations — our finite energy and need for sleep, the number of hours in a day — remain the same as ever. Yet for reasons both technological and economic, the pressure to do more keeps ratcheting up. You can turn, instead, on the far more manageable question of which things to deliberately neglect. The vacuuming? Kahneman In high pressure, critical situations, system 2 is likely to fail.
Grossman and Christensen We know that we rely more heavily on heuristics under pressure. Intuition is one of our most powerful tools in a crisis. LeBlanc ; Grossman and Christensen Decision making definitely changes under pressure, but it is less clear if those changes degrade performance. The decisions made are generally simpler, but are often rational and make important use of experience.
Driskell and Salas In a classic laboratory experiment, subjects were required to run a computer simulated forest fire management task. The problem solving strategies differed significantly between the groups, with the unstressed group relying on in-depth analytical analysis and the stressed group focusing only on the general outline of the problem. However, despite the differences in approach and different types of errors made, both groups performed the task equally well. Under time pressure, people tend to adopt simpler forms of information processing, in which alternatives are not fully formed, and certain important cues or patterns are used to rapidly make a decision.
In other words, people narrow their field of attention under stress.
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However, if the narrowing of attention allows the individual to ignore nonessential information and focus on only the most important cues, this could be an effective and efficient cognitive strategy. Kowalski-Trakofler et al Furthermore, even if the decision making is technically inferior, it makes little sense to use a time consuming analytical strategy when faced with severe time pressure.
A number of alternative decision strategies have been described in stressful scenarios.
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A lexicographic strategy simply looks at a single important dimension of the choice and picks the option with the best rating in that dimension. An elimination by aspects strategy involves evaluating all options on the most important dimension and rejecting options that fail to meet the desired criterion. The remaining options are then evaluated on the next most important dimension, until only one option remains.
Driskell and Salas Although these strategies are not the ideal logical strategy, they are quick, efficient, and may be good enough, when employed by experts, for the type of rapid decisions that are necessary in emergencies. Interestingly, the closer together two options are, the less important the decision making becomes. In other words, when there is a clear winner, the choice is often obvious, but when two choices are very similar, the outcome may not be significantly affected, and therefore the decision becomes less important.
The ambiguity of the data in emergent scenarios may outweigh the advantages of any one option.
Recognizing that the decision making done in complex, real world scenarios is different from that performed in psychology laboratories, naturalistic decision making is a theory based on empiric observation of real world experts decisions. Driskell and Salas Recognition-primed decision making is one of the models that developed out of this research. Recognition-primed involves rapid pattern matching, followed by a brief mental simulation to determine if the initial option is a reasonable solution in this scenario. Klein You can read more about naturalistic decision making on the International Clinician Educators blog.
There is a very large body of research that addresses decision making under stress, but the vast majority of these studies were performed in highly controlled psychology laboratories. How applicable these are to real world settings in general, and medical resuscitation in particular, is an open question. All the research on decision making under stress is subject to significant assumptions.
Either you examine the decision making itself and make assumptions about the best kind of decision making, or you examine outcomes. The problem with examining the decision making strategy itself is that there is considerable debate about the ideal decisions strategies. The problem with examining outcomes is that decisions are not perfectly correlated with outcomes.
Good decisions, for a variety of reasons, can still result in bad outcomes and vice versa resulting in hindsight bias.
For now, I think the best we can do is acknowledge that decision making patterns change under stress. It is probably not appropriate to try to force slow, methodological type 2 thinking on fast paced medical resuscitations, but recognizing our reliance on heuristics, we might want to build in checklists or cognitive stop points that allow us to think about our thinking, when there is time. If you have worked in emergency medicine long enough, I am sure you have a sense of what this means.
You are running a resuscitation and everything just clicks. Your thinking is perfectly clear, time appears to slow down, everything is working, and the job just seems fun. For any activity, there is a balance between your skill, resources and the demands being placed on you. If the demands outstrip resources, we see anxiety and poor performance.
When skill or confidence significantly outstrip demands, we see boredom that could also degrade performance. Somewhere in between, there is a zone that leads to optimal performance. The level of difficulty is high enough that it demands your entire attention, but not so high that is begins to impair your cognitive abilities. Whitelock and Asken ; Herzog and Deuster In general, when we are talking about performance, we are talking about extremely challenging situations.
Looking at the graph gives us some hints as to how to handle this. We can and should focus on ensuring we are as skilled as possible. The degree of challenge seems like it would be out of our control, but in fact, it is our subjective interpretation of the challenge that really matters.
Herzog and Deuster You can watch his TED talk on the topic below:.