Practically everyone experiences stress in their daily lives. Some examples of significant stressors include work pressures, family and relationship problems, and financial concerns. Seemingly minor issues can also increase our stress level: for instance, being stuck in traffic or being late to a meeting. In addition, even positive life events, such as getting married or moving to a new house, can be stressful.
Professionals working in startup companies usually experience a lot of stress. There may be long work hours; too many tasks to complete in a limited time; difficult decisions to make; limited resources; office politics or conflicts with colleagues or partners; financial stress of earning a profit; uncertainty of the market (sales and competitors); and general awareness of the statistics of startup failures.
First, Understand Stress
Stress is our body’s normal reaction to threatening or challenging situations, whether real or imaginary. The stress response prepares us to meet the threat or challenge and protect us from danger. A little stress is beneficial, as it motivates us to take effective action and perform well. Too much stress, however, can have negative effects on us, and our performance actually suffers.
In order to manage stress, we must first be aware of how we experience stress. Stress can affect all aspects of our life. It affects us emotionally, mentally, physically, as well as behaviorally. Different people experience stress differently, and therefore individuals may experience different symptoms. In addition, some people naturally handle stress well, while others seemingly panic at the first sign of any problem.
Here’s What Happens When You’re Stressed
The emotional symptoms of stress include: Becoming easily irritated or frustrated by things; feeling overwhelmed, as if you are not in control of circumstances; finding it difficult to relax and quiet your mind.
Individuals may experience the following cognitive symptoms: Racing thoughts, constant worrying, and difficulty focusing or concentrating.
The following physical symptoms are also experienced: Changes in appetite (eating too much or too little); upset stomach, including constipation or diarrhea; aches and pains, such as headaches; and sleep problems (sleeping too much or too little).
Finally, behavioral symptoms of stress include: Increased use of drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes; increased nervous behaviors, such as fidgeting, pacing, or nail biting; and avoiding things or people you are having problems with.
What If Stress Lingers?
If stress is experienced over a prolonged period of time (chronic stress), it can lead to serious health issues, such as: mental health problems, including depression and anxiety; heart disease and high blood pressure; obesity; and gastrointestinal problems.
Some of our responses to stress, such as increased use of drugs or withdrawing from friends, may decrease our stress level in the short term. However, such responses are generally unhealthy, since they may have negative effects in the long term. In order to handle life and work’s challenges effectively, we must therefore learn healthy coping strategies to deal with stress. These skills will help us minimize the negative effects of stress on our health, relationships, and quality of life. We will learn effective ways to manage stress in our next article.
Understand What’s Causing You Stress
The first step in addressing your stress is to identify the stressor/s i.e. the cause of the stress. If possible, once you have identified the cause, you can try to find a possible solution. For instance, if there is a conflict with a colleague at work, addressing the conflict directly by using effective communication skills may be helpful, since you may eliminate the source of the stress.
However, it is not always possible or practical to solve a problem or leave a difficult situation – sometimes, we have to accept and cope with a situation as it is. In these cases, we can apply stress management techniques to minimize the amount of stress we experience.
- One way to cope with stress is to turn to others for support. It is usually helpful to share your problems with someone you trust and who can understand your situation.
- It is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and regular sleep.
- There are also many relaxation techniques that help decrease stress. Different people may benefit from different techniques. Try some of the following techniques and use whichever one helps you the most: deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, listening to music, watching a comedy, or going out into nature.
- If you are stressed about completing tasks and achieving goals in time, it may help to learn time management skills. For instance, you can organize your workplace better or prioritize tasks so that the most important tasks are completed first. It may also be beneficial to decrease your obligations or commitments, at least temporarily.
- To manage stress effectively and face challenges in a healthy and positive manger, apply some of the suggestions indicated above. If you still feel overwhelmed or stressed out, you may want to seek professional help.