Stress is Having a Moment

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SPOILER ALERT: Allow me to apologize in advance to the sensitive cat owners far and wide that the following quote may cause undue stress to. I do solemnly swear that I have never and will never partake in this exercise. I just couldn’t think of another expression that conveyed my frequency message in a more visual way but feel free to send suggestions.

So here goes…

I can’t swing a dead cat without someone calling our office and asking one of our team members about the ramifications of stress.  

  • Stress at all levels of an organization
  • Stress and engagement
  • Stress and FMLA
  • Stress and decision making
  • Women stress too much
  • Men stress too little

Just the word stress stresses people out. It seems to me stress is “having a moment.”

There has been a lot of airspace focused on this topic and rightfully so. Stress, when managed inappropriately, can be hazardous to your health.

As a company dedicated to the science behind how our brain works, let’s do a fact check (since it’s all the political rage) on the definition of stress.

The hard truth is incredibly difficult to define since it’s unique for each person. Several factors determine our threshold and degree such as others’ dependence upon us, expectations of us, the amount of support we receive from others and the number of changes or traumatic events that have recently occurred in our lives. It’s typically characterized by symptoms of mental and physical tension or strain that can result from a reaction to a situation in which a person feels threatened, pressured, etc. While science can’t agree on the perfect definition of stress, the sense of having little or no control is always stressful.

We have to recognize that stress affects everyone differently, and both good and bad stress can be beneficial and motivating. Stress deserves to be honored for its positive impact. We can accomplish tasks more efficiently and improve our memory when we are under pressure. Let’s not forget the positive cocktail that we experience from a sudden burst of hormones after an emotional challenge is overcome, providing some sense of accomplishment.

When in positive mode the reward part of your brain is activated.

  • Under bad stress – the threat region
  • Falling in love – good stress
  • Breaking up – bad stress
  • Exposure to meaningful things – good stress
  • Fearful things – bad stress
  • Power over a situation – good stress
  • Powerless – bad stress

See the pattern here?

Our research shows that very few people are truly aware of the havoc stress causes in your brain and body. Specifically, how are we seeing it rear its ugly head in the workplace? Largely in a way that most people are completely unaware of. At the subconscious level.

From a biological perspective, the higher cortex in our brain disables when we feel threatened, thus destroying our ability to think clearly. Although the many leaders we’ve interviewed dispute science since they firmly believe they have the God-like capability to make rational decisions or solve problems.

The good news is that we have the ability to remodel our mindset. If our team wasn’t witnessing people with great potential falling prey to this infection we’d move on to the multitude of other human capital issues we face.

If you’re curious about how stress may be affecting you, and I’m going to guess you are since you’ve made it this far through the blog, I challenge you to consider one of our stress self-awareness sessions or review our groundbreaking stress case study. Learn how you can use stress to your benefit, and start taking strides towards all those goals you’ve been kicking to the curb because you’ve been too busy being stressed about being stressed.

P.S. No cats were harmed in the making of this blog.

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President and CEO

Joan Graci is an accomplished organizational consultant and executive coach with three decades of helping growing companies identify, retain, and develop top talent. Her time as President and Owner of APA Solutions, the premier brain-based human capital consulting firm of WNY, has been spent developing cutting edge, science-based solutions to the people pains of today.