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Posts Tagged ‘Stress Management’

Stress Busters: Tips for Dealing with the Stress of Leadership

Monday, April 7th, 2014

What can leaders do to better manage stress? Here are a few tips and tools from a team of experts from the Center Leadership Success Trainingfor Creative Leadership: Vidula Bal, Michael Campbell, Joan Gurvis and Sharon McDowell-Larsen.

Know the signals. Learn to pay attention to your body’s response to stress. What triggers a feeling of stress and what are your physiological responses? Do you feel your heart rate going up? Do you get hot? Do you clench your jaw? Get a headache? The sooner you recognize that your body is going into stress, the sooner you can do something to manage it.

Create a ritual. Make it a habit to have a stress break. For example, every 90 minutes get up from your desk and walk around or get out for some fresh air. Do some deep breathing, shoulder shrugs, or just close your eyes for one minute. Taking a mental or physical break is an important strategy for dealing with day-to-day stress. When things are extra stressful, you can rely on these same tactics to get you through.

Get away. Find effective ways to set boundaries between work and home life. Whatever works for you – listening to music on the commute home, turning off the cell phone and email during personal or family time, participating in a social activity or hobby – make time for it and keep your commitment to having a life outside of work.

Focus on fitness. A regular exercise program is the best way to minimize the negative health outcomes associated with the demands of the job. Under stress we build up certain hormones; exercise dissipates some of that. Make a commitment to exercising at least 30 minutes twice a week. Also, incorporate healthy practices such as adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet while reducing added sugars, fat and sodium. (more…)

A Leader’s Best Bet: Exercise

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Regular exercise is the best way to staying healthy during times of stress. Plus, executives who exercise are considered to be more effective leaders than those who don’t.

“We’ve known for years that people gain huge health benefits when they exercise. What is even more interesting from a leadership perspective is that organizations stand to gain when their leaders are physically fit,” says the Center for Creative Leadership’s Sharon McDowell-Larsen. Recent research from CCL shows that regular exercise and effective leadership go hand-in-hand. Leaders who exercise regularly were rated significantly higher by their bosses, peers and direct reports on their leadership effectiveness than the non-exercisers. Time invested in regular exercise, even if it means spending less time at work, is correlated with higher – not lower – ratings of leadership effectiveness. It seems that a healthy lifestyle can help executives to better cope with the stresses and demands of their positions, thus ultimately increasing their leadership effectiveness.

Staying healthy during times of stress requires either reducing the strain or boosting one’s ability to weather its effects. If you can find ways to reduce the external pressures that cause stress and overload, that’s ideal. Meanwhile, improve your mental and physical ability to process stress by establishing a regular exercise program and other healthy habits. The University of Iowa reports that regular exercise not only reduces stress but also can help leaders reduce anxiety, improve sleep and boost immunity from colds and flu. Exercise also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. (more…)

Stretching Exercises at Your Desk: 12 Simple Tips

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Try these stretching exercises at your desk — or anywhere else — to ease back pain and boost Constant Climb Toward Total Fitness People Walkingenergy.

You may feel awkward doing stretching exercises at your desk. But right now, as you sit there at your computer, you are doing one of the worst things you can do to your body — you’re sitting still. And not only that, but the way you sit — and type, and hold the phone — may be wreaking havoc on your bones, joints, and muscles.

“People who sit at their computers for hours every day — they’re in for serious medical problems,” says Sharon Hame, MD, associate clinical professor at UCLA’s department of orthopedic surgery. “We’re seeing more things than carpal tunnel; those pains go up the arm to the elbow and shoulder and then translate to the neck and back. It’s a huge problem.”

In addition to carpal tunnel and other traditional ergonomic issues, new problems are cropping up, Hame says. “I saw a woman yesterday who had tennis elbow. She got it at work from the way she answered the phone and worked at the computer.” The solution, experts say, is to break up your work by doing stretching exercises at your desk.

Relieve Back Pain With Stretching Exercises at Your Desk
Aches and pains, not to mention the weight gain that can result from hunching over your desk all day, are just the beginning. “People shouldn’t be complacent about moving just because they’re not obese,” says Angela Smith, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and former president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “There are a lot of skinny people who, because they don’t exercise for strength and balance, are osteoporotic fractures waiting to happen.” (more…)

Understanding Stress and Workplace Stress

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Stress is normal. Everyone feels stress related to work, family, decisions, your future, and more. Stress is both physical and mental. It Workplace Stressis caused by major life events such as illness, the death of a loved one, a change in responsibilities or expectations at work, and job promotions, loss, or changes.

Smaller, daily events also cause stress. This stress is not as apparent to us, but the constant and cumulative impact of the small stressors adds up to big impact.
In response to these daily stresses, your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to your muscles. This stress response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to any high-pressure situation.
However, when you are constantly reacting to small or large stressful situations, without making physical, mental, and emotional adjustments to counter their effect, you can experience stress that can hurt your health and well-being.

Stress can also be positive. You need a certain amount of stress to perform your best at work. The key to stress management is to determine the right amount of stress that will give you energy, ambition, and enthusiasm versus the wrong amount which can harm your health and well-being. (more…)

Basics of Time and Stress Management

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Stress Management TrainingThe role of leader can be very stressful! Management studies have suggested that these roles include a very wide mix of activities, most of which cannot always be controlled or even predicted. New managers and supervisors – especially supervisors – are almost overwhelmed with the demands of the job. They were probably promoted to be in charge of people, mostly because of their success in a previous role that was focused on developing a particular product or service. Suddenly, they’re faced with being in charge of people, which is much less predictable and has much less control than the supervisor had before. Consequently, the ability to manage time and stress is absolutely critical to the success of the roles of manager and leader.

The two topics of time management and stress management are often addressed together because they are so closely interrelated. (more…)

The Good News About Stress Management: How “Good” Stress Keeps Us Going & Growing

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Author: Barbara Schiffman, C.Ht.

Every health and lifestyle magazine contains articles claiming stress is bad for us. They list dozens of ways to relieve stress, from exercise to eating healthy foods. A wide range of relaxation techniques have also been proven to help manage stress in our crazy-busy world, especially for people who take care of others and tend to neglect themselves.

But stress is not always as bad as these cautionary articles insist. In fact, some stress is actually necessary to keep us going and growing. (more…)

Fight or Flight: The Evolution of Stress

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

IMAGINE you are a caveman out innocently picking berries when suddenly you come nose to nose with a saber-tooth tiger. While you were simply gathering, the tiger was actually hunting, and the sight of you makes his mouth water. (more…)

Stress Management Training Session Discussion Starters

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Here are some discussion questions to use when facilitating a session on stress management:

1.  When you say “I’m stressed out” or “I’m under a great deal of stress”, what do you mean?  What is the difference between stress and a stressor? (more…)

Might You (or Someone You Know) Need an Attitude Adjustment?

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Organizations have been through a lot these past few years.  A certain amount of fatigue/disenchantment/frustration is normal. BUT, left unaddressed, these things can multiply and create a widespread epidemic of negativity.  The Negativity Self-Evaluation tool below can help assess where attitudes might be slipping towards the negative.  The debriefing information that follows provides steps for formulating an Attitude Adjustment Action Plan.

Negativity Self-Evaluation

Where do you rate on the negativity scale? Score yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 for each question, and try to be honest with your answers.

1                     2                        3                           4                          5
Never             Seldom             Sometimes                 Often                    Always
1. Do you come into your workplace feeling enthusiastic and confident?                 _____
2. Do you focus on your goals even when you’re having a bad day?                        _____
3. Do you look for positive solutions when things don’t go your way at work?          _____
4. Do you set a good example for co-workers?                                                     _____
5. Do you communicate well with your colleagues?                                               _____
6. Do co-workers feel they can come to you for help?                                            _____
7. Are you satisfied with the quality of work you do?                                              _____
8. Do you find healthy ways to relieve stress?                                                       _____
9. Do you collaborate with others to meet the team’s and your goals?                     _____
10. Are you open to changes in your routine or environment?                                  _____
Total  _____

Scoring
If your total is under 25, you are highly susceptible to negativity and may be affecting others with your attitude.  Continue to evaluate your performance on the job.  If you can’t break the pattern of negativity, ask for outside help from a supervisor, a friend or Human Resources.

If your total is between 25-35, you’re on the borderline; you can fall victim to negativity, particularly during stressful times.  When feeling pressured, give yourself a negativity “spot check”.  Ask yourself if your work is up to par, if you are snapping easily, or whether your co-workers are acting differently towards you.  These could all be signs that you need to take a deep breath and re-evaluate your attitude.

If your total is over 35, you probably don’t succumb to negativity often.  But, you may not be completely immune to it.  Think about how you interact with colleagues, especially when you’re stressed. People probably look to you as a model for positive behavior, so make sure stress doesn’t get the best of you.  And, if you see others inciting a climate of negativity, try to help the person(s) find a positive solution or encourage them to seek assistance.

Debrief – The Attitude Adjustment Plan
Here are several good steps to take whenever you feel yourself becoming negative. (If you’re a manager or co-worker who needs to point out negativity in another person, see the special Note at the bottom.)

Take responsibility for your attitude and acknowledge the difficulties your negativity is causing.
Without an honest acceptance of the responsibility for and impact of your attitude, there is no motivation to change.

Practice “responding” rather than “reacting” to situations.
A reaction is often an instinctive, unproductive way of dealing with difficulties (negative people often “react” by blaming others for problems without seeing the part they’ve played in creating the problem).  On the other hand, a response requires thoughtful consideration of:
- how can I take control of the situation vs. being a victim of the situation?
- what productive strategies and actions can I take?

Attempt to identify underlying causes for the negative attitude.
Try to uncover some of the reasons behind what you’re feeling. Is there a higher amount of stress than usual in the workplace?  Are there unresolved issues with co-workers?  Have you been feeling undervalued or overworked? Could family problems, debt, or illness be a factor?

Address the situations that cause stress.
Once you see what is causing the problem, try to find a workable solution and look for ways to prevent similar situations in the future. If need be, talk it over with another person.  It’s amazing how an outside perspective can shed light on things.  If there are conflicts you don’t feel comfortable handling on your own, ask a supervisor or HR person for assistance.

Note:  If you are in a position of pointing out another person’s attitude problem, make sure you do these things in addition to suggesting the actions listed above:
- discuss the problem in private
- begin by giving positive feedback
- handle emotionally charged subjects with sensitivity
- focus on performance, not personality

Based on material in the Leader’s Guide for The Attitude Virus: Curing Negativity in the Workplace.
© CRM Learning.

Need help in this area? Bad attitudes in the workplace can spread like a virus and infect everyone in the whole organization. With CRM’s The Attitude Virus program, help employees learn to spot unproductive attitudes in themselves and others, and counteract them with positive behavior.


 

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