I recently returned to my office after working from home with a five-week hiatus after some surgery. While I worked from home my stress level was very low. I did the work that I could do from home and put the rest aside for later. Essentially, I threw my stress away by accepting the fact that I could only do what I could do, and the rest would have to wait. This was a good lesson for me in realizing that we can manage our stress.
So, what is stress, and is stress good or bad for us?
Stress is our body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by either good or bad experiences. When we feel stressed by something going on around us, our bodies react by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream. These chemicals give us more energy and strength, which can be a good thing when we require the extra energy to face an abnormal physical or mental demand. This kind of stress is called good stress, or “eustress.” However, if the stress is in response to something emotional, there often is no outlet for this extra energy and strength. Therefore, we would consider unused stress-related energy or strength “bad stress.”
Let’s consider for a moment where this energy or strength might be released. Have we ever yelled at our spouse or kids when under stress? Worse yet, have we released that stress at work and been embarrassed by our outburst? What about when we keep that stress inside? Do we feel tired, sick, bored, or fail to concentrate or think clearly? In 2015, Forbes magazine reported that workplace stress is responsible for up to $190B in annual U.S. Healthcare costs.
Stress can literally make us sick!
The reality is we are never going to find a way to eliminate workplace or home stress. What we can find is a place or way to deal with the stress. To find the solution, I reached into my Dale Carnegie toolbox from his book, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” In my case, I kept my worry and stress in perspective. What was more important, being in the office everyday, or staying home to heal? Changing my perspective allowed me to eliminate my stress and heal, while staying current with the demands of my employer. You too can benefit by keeping your stress in perspective and being calm when you identify the right solution for you.
-  Blanding, Michael, Forbes, Jan. 26, 2015, Workplace Stress Responsible For Up to $190B in Annual U.S. Healthcare Costs