First of all, rest assured that if you’re stressed, you are not alone.
Everybody experiences stress at least once in their life. But that doesn’t make it ok! Statistics show that the most common time to have a heart attack is between 8-9am in the morning, not just any morning, it’s a Monday morning when you’re back at work. So what’s this saying about our working life? Data has shown we spend 1/3 or more of our available time in days at work. Work seems to define us as people. How often in conversation are you asked and ‘what do you do?’
70% of workers say that they don’t feel satisfied with their job choices and felt they should, or could have done better. Not to be happy at work often creates a negative impact on other aspects of our life. So expectations that don’t happen, can lead to stress. A person that is unhappy at work, is likely to be unhappy at home, which can lead to relationship problems sometimes resulting in divorce. It has also been shown to lead to drug and alcohol abuse by just trying to cope with a stressful, unsatisfying life.
Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sick days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression. It has been estimated that if there was better mental health support at work, it would save the UK £8 billion per year. So it seems if people liked their jobs, this would lead to a huge impact on the health and welfare of our society.
Back to those little words “so what do you do?”. We seem to want to impress others by saying “I’m a corporate lawyer” or “I am a MD of a global company” etc… because often people feel embarrassed with the job they do. Why are so many people not satisfied with their achievements? I believe it is due to comparison. It seems we have within our DNA the need to compete. This begins at school when we want to win the gold medal in the 800 metre race, or be top of the class. The majority never win, so they often feel they have failed at some level.
If we are not careful, this belief system will follow us into adult life. Never feeling we have quite hit the mark leads us to unhappiness and stress starts to raise it’s ugly head. So, to use the expression, ‘now we are going to strip away the layers of the onion.’
Stress seems to be a belief system, a kind of Trojan horse within our self, the enemy is within. It’s our self perception of what or who we think we should be – again if we don’t reach that goal stress is the result. Let’s face it, no matter who we are, there will always be somebody bigger and better then we are. So stop comparing your self to others.
Look at the pressure we put on ourselves. Have you ever watched when a person has new double glazed windows installed in their house in your road or have a new brick paved driveway? This creates stress within the people that live in the road. How long is it before half the neighbours are doing the same? Not long I feel. But why? It is because fear has made them believe if you don’t keep up with what others have, you have failed some how. This makes you work more hours to earn more money to try and be seen that you are equal or better. The result is stress again. So how do we stop this nonsense? First of all, who says we have to be the same as everybody else. We have been programmed from when we were young, we have to be the same, to fit in, to be liked or excepted by society or social groups. What’s wrong with being individual and unique?
Meditation has been found to have an amazing effect on people that have stressful lives. Statistics has shown that regular practice of meditation leads to reduced blood pressure, increased serotonin levels (happy hormones in the brain) and a deep sense of relaxation leading to clarity of mind enabling you to see a way forward, out of stressful situations.
So to summarise what is our conclusion on how to reduce stress?
- Have the courage to be your self and not needing to be the same as others
- Be unique, don’t feel you need to follow the crowd because you want to be liked.
- Meditate regularly, discover how amazing you are.
- Stress is just another word for fear, stop feeling you’re not good enough or that you’re a failure.