Stress in Modern Life

Stress in Modern Life

As an engineer my brother knows all about stress. He used to test metal components for the level of physical stress at which they would fracture, shatter or break in half. Some metals can take more stress than others, but they all have a point at which they will be overcome by the pressure being exerted. People are pretty much the same, except that stress begins as mental pressure before it becomes physical. There is a level of stress at which some part of you will snap.

At the age of 32 I joined the computer revolution when I took a job with an aggressive, fast growing computer retailer. I was a service manager. At the time the average age of employees was 24, and they would work hard and play hard. I watched as they worked late, feasted on fast foods and drank as competitively as they worked. I tried to explain how their lifestyle would lead to problems later in their life, but they didn’t want to listen to me. At 32 what did I know about being young, free and spending my hard earned and very reasonable salary on having a good time? Well prophet I am not, but I feel quite sad when I look back now and think about the people who did snap. Heart attacks at 48, cancer and diabetes at 45, depression and suicide at 36. Quite a number have fallen. There are others who haven’t snapped but started creaking and limping under the weight of their huge bellies and lack of exercise. Then there are the broken relationships, divorces and family alienation. And these are just the people I have kept in touch with or met by chance. I wonder how many more have suffered? Why didn’t they take more care of themselves when they were younger?

A recent survey commissioned by Legal and General questioned more than 5,000 men and women on their biggest health worries over the past three months:

  • 48% cited lack of exercise
  • 42% cited lack of sleep
  • 34% cited general fatigue
  • 27% cited stress caused by daily routine
  • 15% cited passive smoking as a major concern
  • 12% cited drinking as a major concern
  • 6% said they worried about not knowing what is a healthy diet

Chris Rolland, director of healthcare at Legal and General said: “It is becoming clear that people are far more worried about the way we live our lives, the lack of sleep and stress than smoking and drinking. There are few things more important in life than our health; so it is vital that people look at the causes of a poor lifestyle to ensure their health is not compromised and hopefully prevent burn-out.”

Angela Mawle, chief executive of the UK Public Health Association said: “This research shows that the 24/7 society is getting to us. Blackberries and mobile phones mean that we are always on call. It is hard to slow down and people struggle to find the time to relax. This has obvious health implications.” Earlier this year researchers warned that blackberry email devices can be as damaging to mental health as taking drugs. The gadget – nicknamed the ‘crackberry’ because it is so addictive – allows workers to stay in touch with colleagues whenever they are out of the office. But researchers from the Rutgers University Business School in New Jersey said this risked putting too much stress on staff who need to escape the pressure of working life, especially when at home. The gadgets, they claim, are harmful in extreme cases and heavy users often neglect their friends and family in favour of using them.

Stress-related illness has become the number one cause of absenteeism in the workplace in Britain and is believed to cost £3.7billion a year in lost productivity healthcare costs. The number of employees citing work-related anxiety and depression has doubled in a decade to more than a million. So how do you rate your stress levels? You are either in control of the potential stressors at work or you are out of control. Some of our clients come to us with work related problems which they do not always relate to stress, for example:

  • I have no direction or aspiration
  • I need to influence my CEO
  • I am finding it harder to motivate myself
  • I’m not happy with what I have achieved so far – I know I can achieve more but I’m frustrated with myself
  • I can’t seem to get my message across

By the time a client decides to call us you can bet he or she has been living with the problem for some time, and they have tried all kinds of things to solve it. A reliable sign that stress is at work can be found where you have a problem and no matter what you do you get stuck with it. The problem seems to grow in weight and size and you get frustrated. This leads to anxiety or worry and the stress intensifies. The problem, which started as a mental or emotional issue is now a physical one. Next come the headaches, migraines, muscular aches and pains, teeth grinding, shallow breathing, insomnia and drop in energy levels.

You can find relief from stress and regain control fairly quickly. You can learn how to relax your body, and then your mind will follow. You can also learn to relax your mind and take control of your work situations. Because we know how debilitating stress can be we always help our clients to relax. This one thing often brings significant benefits and makes it easier for the client to quickly become confident in using the NLP tools we give them. It is a real delight to see course participants on day 2 looking like they have had a huge weight lifted from their minds. Once the stress is gone they tend to solve their work problems very quickly.

Leave a Reply