Stress isn't a disease but the strain of everyday pressures that cannot be escaped, which if narrowed down to the workplace, falls into three categories: time pressure, peer pressure, and the pressure to perform. Since it's pretty rare to be without these pressures, our only choice is to adapt as good as we can, which most often translates into highly ineffective ways to deal with stress:
- React emotionally (and blow up)
- Complain about the pressure (to people who aren't causing it)
- Unload the stress (on someone else)
- Blocking people out who are causing the stress (as much as you can)
- Put up with the stress (until you get a chance to unwind)
- Create even more pressure (it makes you stronger and more competitive)
While these behaviors are unconscious, the choice to interrupt this feedback loop or influence its input (the stressing factor), or its output (your response to the stressing factor), by being more conscious about the whole situation.The more consciously you intervene, the higher your chances of reducing the bad effects of stress. Start by assessing what makes stress damaging in your situation. Psychological studies identify 3 big factors here: repetitiveness, unpredictability and uncontrolability. To deal with stress consciously, break it down into these three components to minimize them in your feedback loop and to assert control where it counts, and to make peace where control is impossible.
I'll continue to summarize this series as and when he publishes next articles, but Dr. Chopra digs deeper into those concepts in his post so I suggest you read it if you have interest in the subject.