How stress affects the body – ‘Fight or Flight’
Stress tends to be a physical response. The body feels that it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode. This releases a mixture of hormones and chemicals into the body to help prepare the body for a physical activity. These can cause effects on different part of the body which try and shut down.
Stress can cause the following affects on the human body:-
Brain – Difficulty concentrating, anxiety, depression, irritability, mood, mind fog.
Skin – hair loss, dull/brittle hair, brittle nails, dry skin, acne, delayed tissue repair.
Gut – nutrient absorption, diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion, bloating, pain and discomfort.
Reproductive system – decreased hormone production, decrease in libido, increase in PMS symptoms.
Joints and Muscles – Increased inflammation, tension, aches and pains, muscle tightness.
Cardiovascular – higher cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Immune System – decreased immune function, lowered immune defences, increased risk of becoming ill, increase in recovery time.
How to deal with stress in the work place
Stress within the workplace can affect employees from all levels of the organisation hierarchy. It is vital that if you are in a managerial role that you can recognise the signs of stress and be able to manage and guide your peers. Stressed employees can show physical, emotional and / or behavioural changes. For example extroverts become withdrawn, employees becoming more accident prone and short tempered or a dramatic change in weight.
If you feel stressed try and overcome the problem with the following points:-
- Identify what makes you stressed
- Train managers to be aware of stress signals and how to manage them
- Speak to a manager about what issues make you stressed
- Managers should encourage a work life balance
- Employees should learn to manage their time
- Companies should promote a healthy lifestyle
- Take Exercise to release tension and clear the mind
- Avoid smoking, caffeine and alcohol
- Companies should endorse employees to have more sleep
- Companies should consider taking out an Employee Assistance Programme which offers advice and counselling for employees this can be stand alone or as part of a cash plan