Many of us are suffering from chronic work-related stress that threatens our health — really, our very lives. Understanding how the stress cycle works — and catching it at the very start — could go a long way towards preventing chronic stress from killing us.Photo by wagg66
Work-life consultant and author Joe Robinson writes that our brains are wired with this ancient alarm system that too often gives off false alarms. The amygdala, designed to help us with primal life-and-death struggles, sets off the physical response that suppresses our immune system even with trivial things like an overloaded inbox.
If we don't contest these illusions of emergencies, "the stress response spirals in intensity, locking in a false crisis mentality". Robinson says the stress response can be shut off in three minutes, and the best time to try to counter it is at the beginning of the cycle:
Some processes, which involve deep breathing and reframing, are good for situational stress. They let you step back when the going gets tense and create counter-stories that can stop the stress spiral in its early stages, before the catastrophic thoughts get entrenched. The stress spiral is weakest at the very beginning of the cycle, so that's when you want to contest it.
Stress is an automatic response, so dealing with it isn't easy. But combatting it in the beginning, using some of our previously mentioned tips on stress management (like trying to get more control over your work environment and using meditation) can help. We've got to at least try.
Job Stress? How to Keep Catastrophic Thoughts from Killing You [Huffington Post]