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Using stress positively to improve your results

02 December 2004 by

If you want to help yourself, what can you do? Following the suggestions below will assist you in dealing with events more effectively and you can pass on your new-found knowledge to your team.

One of the principle effects of stress, whether it is caused by your reaction to external events, the environment in which you live and work or the food you eat, is the impact on your adrenaline levels. Thousands of years ago, the adrenaline created by the "fight and flight" reaction caused us to act. And the body still responds in the same way to stress today. The difference is that if a customer is yelling about the turkey or the temps don't turn up, the ideal response is no longer "fight or flight" but "deal with it!"

This means that the body does not effectively get rid of the chemicals it produces as a reaction. Moreover, this type of modern-day emotional stress becomes chronic, leading to symptoms such as lethargy, stomach ulcers, colds, asthma, allergies and sexual issues. Here are four steps to help you control the way your body and mind respond to stressful events.

Take responsibility. There are events in our lives that we are not be able to control. However, we can control our response to them. Whether we allow things to affect us personally, annoy us or make us happy is up to us. How we deal with the events in our life will have a significant effect on our bodies. All of this has a knock-on effect on those around you, so take responsibility for your impact on their well-being too.

Imagine things the way you want them to be

If you were running late, why would you want to imagine how badly things could go wrong? Yes, they could go wrong but on the other hand they might not. Unfortunately the mind doesn't recognise the difference between reality and fantasy. If you imagine a negative outcome, this will affect the body negatively, while if you imagine it going well, the body will relax. A relaxed body can deal better with any situation.
You are in control of how you think about it and therefore the way it affects you.

Cut down on caffeine and sugar

Caffeine (found in coffee, but also in smaller quantities in tea, cola, and chocolate) has the same effect as stress, in that it stimulates adrenaline. Sugary foods raise your blood sugar levels unnaturally quickly, followed by an equally rapid energy dip as your body releases insulin to restore the balance. The less coffee you drink, the calmer you will feel, so gradually reduce your caffeine and sugar levels.

Learn to breathe more calmly

During stressful periods you may notice that your breathing shifts and you breathe higher and faster in the chest. When you are relaxed you tend to breather lower and slower. Practise breathing more slowly and you will automatically relax. You could wait until you are in a stressful environment but better still, practise this breathing technique every time you have a spare moment - on the tube, in front of the TV, anywhere. If you practise it enough it will become natural to you in all environments.

Produced by Caterer-online in association with learnpurple.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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