Stress Matters (& M.O.T.O.R.S.)
Loads happen. For some workers that is an understatement. From executives to hourly employees, stress can make what should be a simple task feel like a ton of bricks being piled into their laps. Companies regularly lose $300 billion in worker under performance and 550 million work days lost directly caused by stress according to the American Institute of Stress. They spend millions to address the stress-related factors that impede workers’ health, well-being, outlook, and performance. But stress is still a major factor today. Let’s look at some facts about stress.
Not all stress is bad. Stress is defined as pressure, tension, or strain on a material, mental, or emotional objects or systems. When we feel pressure to do something we want to do, however, this type of stress becomes a motivation that moves us forward. Our senses get heightened, our minds get sharply put into focus to do something, and we mobilize ourselves to move. Many refer to this as our fight-fright-flight instinct. I sometimes refer to it as Height Stress or “good” stress. It motivates us to stay alive and to defend the things we want in life that are core to who we are and what we want. But stress for or against something that we don’t want becomes a paralyzing weight, a chore that seems to place chains around our core beings to keep us from enjoying or doing what we want to do. This is “bad” stress or what I sometimes call Weight Stress. Researchers refer to “good” stress as incidental and “bad” stress as chronic stress. Incidental stress can result in motivation forward. Chronic stress paralyzes.
Chronic stress changes your brain. Enduring stress over long periods of time shrinks the part of the brain called the hypothalamus, the “brain” of the brain. This is the part of the brain that controls metabolic process and automatic neurological activities. It secretes neuro-hormones that controls the pituitary gland’s production and distribution of hormones. Under chronic stress when the hypothalamus shrinks, it triggers a number of other metabolic system imbalances, both under and over producing hormones the body doesn’t really need over a long period of time. The most well-known secretion affected is Cortisol, which when overproduced causes weight gain or weight loss if under produced. A number of other hormones are over- and under-secreted that can trigger paranoia, depression, lethargy, hyperactivity, nervous tics or twitches, skin rashes, stomach or colon issues, immune weakness, lack of focus, menstrual abnormalities, high blood pressure, rages, sleeplessness, anxiety, and other seemingly unrelated symptoms.
In addition, the outer area of the brain also shrinks – the cortex is most affected, an area which is where memories and emotional pathways get filtered through. Forgetting even the simplest of mental tasks or hanging onto a repetitive task for too long can be common for workers suffering from chronic stress. Over time, persons with chronic stress whose cortex is shrinking can become increasingly emotionally erratic or wholly detached from situations in ways that seem inappropriate, either under or over reactive.
Time does not heal the pain of chronic stress. Most people can handle chronic stress for short periods of time, managing symptoms as they arise. But it always has a crash at the end. Want to know how that can be? Fill a glass of water and hold it in your open hand stretched out in front of you. You can probably hold it for a minute, and hold it even longer while you control your aching arm. But try holding it out for ten hours. The longer you hold it, the weightier it becomes until your arm “crashes”. This is the health and well-being factor that makes people persist, broken or in pain, until they crash or shut down. Often the early hopefulness that the stressful situations isn’t that bad and will lessen soon continues to mask the other symptoms. For example, an employee might take a sick day or vacation, but then feel enormously guilty or judged for doing so when s/he does because of what s/he didn't handle. Many postpone or delay the very things that keep their stress levels low and make the problem worse. It is how the symptoms of chronic stress can add even more pounds to the already heavy weight being felt, feeding a cycle of stress that is hard to break. To effectively address chronic stress, it must be transferred OUT of the symptom-management realm, AWAY from the wishful time-management juggling, and INTO the realm of real-time diagnosis and adjustment before permanent damage is done.
Your Stress Machine can be altered using our M.O.T.O.R. system that multiplies force against your load. M.O.T.O.R. stands for motivation, obligation, thoughts, order, and rest. Each is the component of a stress motor that can cause amplified or reduced stress. Motivation is your inner drive. Obligation, in the best sense being a voluntary commitment, is your external pull. Thoughts are your inner dialogue. Order is your external logic. Rest is your internal/external reset. As in all machines, if the components are not working together well, the system begins to misfire, overwork, under perform, or break down. Don’t be that broken-down machine! Regular maintenance of your stress M.O.T.O.R. is vital to maintaining the energy and well-being to respond properly to stress. The next article will show you exactly how to assess yourself, take steps to actively manage the area stress is attaching itself to, and to stimulate your brain centers to handle stress better.
Next Article: July 12th, 2017, M.O.T.O.R. System with Free Tools