Stress – by definition – is anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being.
When faced with a challenge or a threat, our body activates resources to protect us. This fight-or-flight response produces adrenaline, which triggers an increase in heart rate, muscle tension, and perspiration.
These physical factors can help us protect ourselves in a dangerous or challenging situation by giving the body increased speed and strength – however, they can also have adverse effects on our bodies and minds over an extended period of time.
When workplace issues contribute to our personal stress levels, it can create the impression of a hostile environment – and subsequently undermine corporate teambuilding efforts, leading to lower productivity.
One way we can avoid workplace stress is by becoming a “hot button expert”.
Our “hot buttons” are the things that trigger a strong emotional reaction in us. We all have them – and these hot buttons can run the gauntlet from irritating to infuriating.
By identifying our own personal hot buttons, we can then analyze why these particular issues trigger a stressful physical response in us. Do certain scenarios make us frustrated? Is our competence or authority being challenged? Are we being disrespected?
Once we’ve determined what specific “buttons” produce stress and how we are interpreting these actions, we’re able to challenge those interpretations – by asking ourselves if there are any other possible explanations.
Specifically, we are looking to separate the objective data (as a video camera might record it) from our subjective assumptions (the way we are interpreting or understanding the specific data).
The simple act of recognizing our “hot button issues” and looking at these situations as a third party– as opposed to personally interpreting the meanings behind certain actions – allows us to not subconsciously invoke the physical responses to the emotional feeling of stress.
Next time you recognize your hot buttons being pushed…
Step back. Look at the situation from afar. Analyze how it would normally make you feel. Then look for what alternative explanations are available.
Notice your emotional and physical reaction. Are you more calm? Less angry? Less stressed?
I hope so!
For more tips on how to turn stress into strength, check out our live webinar here.
Jason Hecker facilitates a number of Learn iT! Professional Development courses, including Project Management 101-103, Critical Thinking, Strategic Planning, and Finance for Non-Financial Managers. He’s an avid Cincinnati Bearcat fan and alumnus and also enjoys mountain biking and hiking.