Recognising and Combating Stress

We provide training courses for managing stress, handling stress, reducing stress, in fact all work related stress issues.  Over the years we have trained thousands of people to enable them to recognise stress symptoms and causes and have given them stress management tips and techniques to enable them to identify the signs of stress and to beat and avoid it.  Our courses have a proven track record in stress reduction and managing stress at work.

“Stress is like an iceberg. We can see one-eighth of it above, but what about what’s below?”

If you are used to thinking that stress is something that makes you worry, you have the wrong idea of stress. Stress is many different kinds of things: happy things, sad things, allergic things, physical things. Many people carry enormous stress loads and they do not even realize it! Read on and find out how to recognise different stressors and techniques to combat these stressors – knowing that certain situations can be potentially stressful is a positive step towards improving your response, and the first step towards learning how to control stress, rather then allowing stress to control you.

Recognising Stress

To your body, stress is synonymous with change

We are all familiar with “stress”. Stress is when you are worried about losing your job, or being made redundant; worried about having enough money to pay your bills; worried about your mother when the doctor says she may need an operation. For most of us, stress is synonymous with worry. If something causes you to worry, then that worry equates to stress and chemical changes within the body, such as adrenalin.

Your body, however, has a much broader definition of stress, and this can be defined simply as change. Anything that causes a change in your life causes stress. It doesn’t matter if it is a “good” change, or a “bad” change, both can be defined as stress. When you find your dream home and prepare to move, that is stress. If you break your leg, that is stress. If you embark on a new exercise regime, that is stress, even though your ultimate aim is to become healthier and happier. Good or bad, if it is a change in your normal routine, it is stress as far as your body is concerned. You may hear trainers suggesting a change in your exercise routine to ‘shock’ the system, which will result in faster weight loss and fitness gains.

Imagined changes are stressful, and this can be defined as “worrying”. If you fear that you will not have enough money to pay your rent and bills, this fear causes worry and anxiety. This fear is not an actuality, but a fear of the possibility of not having enough money. Imagining you might win the lottery and dreaming of the possibilities also causes a change in your adrenalin levels. Whether the event is good or bad, imagining changes in your life is stressful. The body responds to stress by releasing adrenaline, the fight-or-flight scenario, to energise the body and ‘fight off’ the stress – after the adrenaline ‘high’, we get an energy crash, resulting in a further stress on the body

Stress can be defined by the following statements:

  • Anything that causes change in your daily routine is stressful.
  • Anything that causes change in your body health is stressful.
  • Imagined changes are just as stressful as real changes – worry, anxiety, excitement.

Let us look at several types of stress — ones that are so commonplace that you might not even realise that they are stressful.

Emotional Stress

You may notice during a heated argument that adrenalin rush (the one the makes you say things that you may later regret!), and the ‘comedown’ after, while the body recovers from the ‘mental exertion’ – this is a ‘bad’ emotional stress. Imagine winning the lottery and the excitement that would come with that- the emotional ‘high’ – again, this is creating emotional stress, albeit a ‘good’ stress.

Stress Reduction Technique
In a heated argument, walk away from the situation before it escalates, and return when you are calmer and in a better frame of mind to deal with the issue rationally.


Catching a cold is a change in your body condition. When your physical condition changes due to illness, it causes a stress on the functioning of your body. A cold is a cold, however, a cold can cause physical fatigue while the body struggles to fight the infection.

Stress Reduction Technique
Give your body the opportunity to recover. Often we find that a cold can ‘hang around’ for a long time and this is because we attempt to carry on as normal. Remember, this is the body’s signal to you to slow down and recharge.

Pushing Your Body Too Hard

A major source of stress is overdriving yourself. If you are working (or partying) 16 hours a day, you will have reduced your rest (recovery) time considerably. Sooner or later, the energy drain on your system will cause the body to fall behind in its repair work. There will not be enough time or energy for the body to fix broken cells, or replace used up brain neurotransmitters. Changes will occur in your body’s internal environment. You will “hit the wall,” “run out of gas”. If you continue, permanent damage may be done. The body’s fight to stay healthy in the face of the increased energy that your are expending is major stress.

Stress Reduction Technique
A good analogy is to think of the body like a bank: if you are saving (energy) and spending (energy) wisely, you will stay in credit; ‘overspending’, i.e. working/ partying too much without sufficient rest, will result in your body going into ‘debt’.

Environmental Factors

Very hot or very cold climates can be stressful. Very high altitude may be a stress. Toxins or poisons are a stress. Each of these factors threatens to cause changes to your body’s internal environment.

Stress Reduction Technique
Allow your body the time to acclimatise to the new environment, and don’t attempt too much too soon.

Taking Responsibility for Another Person’s Actions

When you take responsibility for another person’s actions, changes occur in your life over which you have little or no control. Taking responsibility for another person’s actions is a major stressor.

Stress Reduction Technique
Speaking to a trusted friend or confidant may help you to clarify your situation, possibly making the burden easier to carry.

Allergic Stress

Allergic reactions are a part of your body’s natural defence mechanism. When confronted with a substance which your body considers toxic, your body will try to get rid of it, attack it, or somehow neutralise it. If it is something that lands in your nose, you might get a runny, sneezy nose. If it lands on your skin, you might get blistery skin. If you inhale it, you’ll get wheezy lungs. If you eat it, you may break out in itchy red hives all over your body. Allergy is a definite stress, requiring large changes in energy expenditure on the part of your body’s defence system to fight off what the body perceives as a dangerous attack by an outside toxin.

Stress Reduction Technique
An allergic response is your body’s method of sending warning signals to you. Be aware of these signals and the potential stressors and avoid these whenever possible. With allergic stresses that are unavoidable, i.e. hayfever, make sure you are prepared for that time of the year and be ready with whatever remedy works for you.

Why choose Total Success for your training?

  • our lead trainers have over 18 years experience in training
  • a maximum of 8 delegates means more time spent on individual needs
  • we guarantee to run the course and will never cancel at the last moment
  • free subscription to our monthly training newsletter

All open courses are trained in Central London at the St Giles Hotel.

Each delegate receives a comprehensive training workbook that doubles as an open course manual. Courses run from 9.30-5.30 with lunch and refreshments provided.

In-Company Courses

Total Success have developed a series of in-house training modules. These are designed so that an organisation can pick the training which is more applicable to its own needs and budget. Please call us to discuss your specific requirements.

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