CHP:1 INTRODUCTION What is Stress? Stress is a complex phenomenon. It has been defined in many ways, but simply put; it is the wear and tear of everyday life. In everyday’s life people are subjected to a wide range of pressures. Similarly there are also a wide range of resources and strategies for coping with pressure. Sometimes people cope well and will not feel that the pressure is having any adverse effect upon them. At other times they will have difficulty in dealing with the situation and that is when we may use the term “stress”. In reality, any situation that puts pressure is technically “stressful”.
Stress is not necessarily unpleasant or harmful. When people are able to cope satisfactorily with the stress and find it to be positive in its effect, they tend to use other words – such as “stimulation” or “challenge”. In this regard a simple but accurate definition of stress is: “Stress occurs when the pressures upon us exceed our resources to cope with those pressures. ” It follows, therefore, that we can attempt to tackle stress either by reducing the pressures or by increasing our coping resources – or, indeed, a combination of both strategies.
The problem is that different people find quite different situations and circumstances to be stressful. At the extremes, a situation which one person experiences as positive and stimulating will cause another person acute distress. “The Changing Times model” is one of the few to recognize this fact. It is also one of the few, and widely known and successfully implemented programs, which has been specifically designed to avoid both psychological jargon and an unhelpful emphasis on medical models of stress. Some people who suffer from mental disorders may be more susceptible to stress.
Equally, prolonged or acute exposure to excessive stress can lead to illnesses. For the great majority of people, however, stress is a perfectly normal and natural state that may be unpleasant or disabling but which can be reduced without recourse to medicines or therapy. All people need to do is develop a better understanding of the causes and effects of our stress. The Changing Times model is designed to help people do just that. With that understanding everybody will be much better equipped to reduce the pressures which cause stress and/or increase our resources for coping with those pressures.
CHP:2 CATEGORIES OF STRESS Stress can be broadly classified in the following categories: • Acute stress is what most people identify as stress. It makes itself felt through tension headaches, emotional upsets, gastrointestinal disturbances, feelings of agitation and pressure. It’s easily treatable and can be brought under control in six to eight weeks. • Episodic acute stress is more serious and can lead to migraines, hypertension, stroke, heart attack, anxiety, depression, serious gastro intestinal distress.
It’s quite treatable, but it takes general life style readjustments, four to six months, and often require professional break • Chronic stress is the most serious of all. It’s the stress that never ends. It grinds us down until our resistance is gone. Serious systemic illness such as diabetes, decreased immunocompetence, perhaps cancer is its hallmark. It can be treated, even reversed, but it takes time – sometimes two to three years-and often requires professional help. • Traumatic stress is the result of massive acute stress, the effects of which can reverberate through our systems for years.
Post traumatic stress disorder is treatable and reversible and usually requires professional aid. There are many different definitions but stress can be broadly defined as an individual’s perceived inability to cope with the demands placed on them. The common expression for stress is ‘tension’ One is said to be tense, when there is some anxiety, some fear of whether the desirable things may happen, whether something may go wrong, etc. It is a state of discomfort felt in the mind and experienced by the body. When there is tension, the body may become weak.
In management literature, ‘Stress’ is defined as a response of the human body to a felt need. When one is hungry and there is an urge to eat food, the body is in a state of stress, which disappears when the need is fulfilled. This definition suggests that stress is a desirable condition, making one move towards fulfillment of needs. This is partly true. Stress occurs also when the need arises out of fear and the urge is to run and escape. This may sometimes, be not possible. In that case, there is no movement, the need remains unfulfilled and the stress condition does not disappear.
Stress is identified as of two kinds. One is called EuStress, which is the condition in which there is drive and effort to fulfill the needs. Motivation is high. Achievement is seen as possible. The situation is challenging. Stress disappears when the need is fulfilled. There is success. The other is DiStress, which is the condition when there is a sense of helplessness in being able to achieve. The feeling is of frustration. There is no success. May be, there is no attempt even, because success is seen as impossible. The stress condition remains.
If one were to chart the level of stress and the level of effort put in to work, it would be an inverted parabola. EuStress would be in the ascending left side of the parabola. The challenge would be maximum at the hump. The latter half on the right side represents Distress. The problems of stress are caused by Distress, not by EuStress. EuStress is necessary for the person to be fully alert, for all his faculties to come into play to face the situation. For example, a goalkeeper in football or hockey will be totally relaxed when the ball is at the other end of the ground, but becomes extremely alert as the ball moved towards him.
His body stiffens, the eyes begin to bulge, focusing on the ball and the movement of the players, picking up the slightest of movements and every nerve and muscle ready to respond to those movements. That is EuStress, without which the goalkeeper cannot be at his best. So also, the batsman in cricket experiences EuStress when the bowler is on the run, and by the tennis player when the ball is about to be served at the other end. Certain Statistics that support common belief about stress:
Statistics from a recent global stress research study show that increased stress is felt worldwide, and stress affects women differently than men: A recent Roper Starch Worldwide survey of 30,000 people between the ages of 13 and 65 in 30 countries showed: • Women who work full-time and have children under the age of 13 report the greatest stress worldwide • Nearly one in four mothers who work full-time and have children under 13 feel stress almost every day • Globally, 23% of women executives and professionals, and 19% of their male peers, say they feel “super-stressed” Stress ; its Characteristics
Stress is physical When the goalkeeper or the batsman or the tennis player experiences Eustress, there are changes in the physical system. The muscles become tense. The eyes become sharper. When one is under severe distress, as in the case of Arjuna in Kurukshetra, the person sweats, the body becomes weak and loses strength. Study of stress shows that the response is the same whether it is Eustress or Distress, except that the degree varies. The response is called the Fight or Flight response. When one senses danger, one is tempted to either stand or fight to ward off the danger or run away – Flight.
The body conditions itself for either event, automatically, causing changes in the normal secretions of hormones and other chemicals, withdrawing from activities that are less important and diverting to activities that should have higher priority in that situation.. Food is less important. The muscles need more energy and therefore the blood carries substances to the muscles, diverting them from the stomach. More oxygen than normal is required. Therefore, the breathing becomes faster, the heartbeat rate increases, and the blood vessels dilate to carry more oxygen. The liver releases more stored energy.
The eyes and ears become more acutely sensitive to the sensations from outside. The body is programmed to reverse these changes, and revert to normal, when the threat disappears. If however, one remains in a continuous state of stress, without becoming normal, the changed conditions tend to remain permanent, like a rubber band loses its elasticity when held extended for a long time. These abnormal conditions manifest as diseases and one suffers from high blood pressure, cardiac disorders, peptic ulcers, insomnia, constipation, fatigue, colitis, kidney problems, etc.
Behaviorally, they lead to absenteeism, alcoholism, use of drugs, marital disharmony and so on, which are both organizationally and socially, undesirable. Numerous common health problems are linked to stress: • The leading six causes of death in worldwide: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide originate from stress. • Immune response and deficiency • Memory loss • Obesity Stress is psychological Stress is experienced when one perceives a threat and the fight or flight response is called for. This perception is an interpretation that one makes within oneself, of the external factors.
When one sees a dog on the street baring its teeth, one may either get frightened or remain calm. Both fright and calmness are psychological reactions. The choice is one’s own and is not dictated by the dog. This choice is made, largely unconsciously, on the basis of one’s beliefs about dogs in general, what one has heard about rabies being caused by dog bites, what one sees about the characteristics of the dog in question at that time, one’s predilections towards animals, and so on. When one becomes anxious in a situation, the situation does not create any anxiety. What one thinks about the situation creates the anxiety.
If one is confident of tackling the situation, there is no anxiety. Therefore, the level of stress is caused by one’s own perception of one’s capability to cope with the situation. Thus, stress is a psychological response, depending upon one’s level of fear, confidence, anxiety, anger, hurt, etc. The physical response is an automatic sequel to one’s psychological condition. The physical changes depend on the extent of fear or confidence etc. Therefore, the management of stress essentially is in the control one has on one’s emotions. Stressors Stress is not caused by any external factor.
Oneself creates it, by the way one thinks about the external factors. Yet there are situations, in which most people tend to get stressed. These are called stressors. In personal life, death of a close relative is a stressor. An important test in life, like a final examination; a transfer of residence; separation due to marriage, divorce or change of job; difficult financial demands; serious illness; likelihood of unpleasant secrets becoming revealed; are common stressors. Having to welcome and entertain important visitors or having to deliver a speech for the first time, also cause considerable stress.
At work, the following may be stressors. • Needs not met. These could be needs for power, for fulfillment, for use of knowledge • Not being included by others as part of a group you want to belong to • Not being recognized or valued for one’s competence • Feeling that one is not adequate for the task, particularly when compared to some one else • Being denied what is due (rewards, work) • Monotony or boredom • Not having enough freedom at work, being closely supervised • Inequity in rewards, assignments • Very little opportunity for growth • Too much of work, overload Too little work, boredom • Inadequate resources to do the assigned work, creating possibilities of failures • Conflict in values at work, being required to do what one does not like to do • Too many and conflicting demands at work from the role set • Responsibilities not clear, ambiguity on what is expected • Understanding, unpredictable, temperamental boss • New unfamiliar work • Being blamed On close analysis, it will be found that all of the above situations are, in some way or other, causing perceptions of possible failure at work or non-recognition and consequent loss of self-esteem.
The Following are two types of stress patterns that exist in daily life: [pic] Figure 2. 1 STRESS PATTERN The Healthy Pattern recognizes that we can help our bodies to cope with the stress adjustment process by applying a positive strategy, such as leisure, relaxation, a vacation/trip, exercise and other. The Crisis Pattern develops when we fail to recognize the signals that the body sends and therefore we continue to stress ourselves until eventually we drop and enter a deep negative state (crisis) and then physical and/or psychological breakdown. Levels of Stress
There are four basic levels of stress symptoms. The first is the normal initial response and is characterized by increased heart beat rates, increased blood pressure, dilation of pupils, sweat in palms and reduced activity in the stomach. At the second level, there is more irritability, stuttering and stammering, difficulty in concentrating, restlessness, lack of appetite and tendency to increased smoking or drinking for those so habituated. At the third level, there would be more headaches, stomach aches, diarrhea, sweating, insomnia, depression etc.
The fourth level would be characterized by ulcers, stroke, alcoholism, drug addiction, psychosis etc. Organization stress is a state or condition indicated by the degree of discrepancy between organizational demands and organizational capacity” (Haas & Drabek 1973). A disaster can act as a catalyst for organization stress, and subsequent worker stress. The book written by the above-mentioned people reviews the literature relating to the sociological concept of organization stress, outlining the nature of the condition and its theoretical causes within the disaster setting.
Following a discussion of the concept of organization stress the book discusses organizational perception of stress, organization coping mechanisms for disaster impact, and organizational adaptation to disaster-induced stress. CH:3 PERSONAL STRESS Causes of personal stress: • Growing psychological demands productivity demands increase and work longer hours. • The need to gather and apply growing amounts of information. • Job insecurity • Demographic changes such as aging workers, female participation in the workforce, and the integration of a growing population of ethnic and racial minorities into the workplace The need for both men and women to balance obligations between work and family as women enter the workforce worldwide. How Can stress be eliminated from an individual’s life? As it is seen, positive stress adds anticipation and excitement to life, and everybody thrive’s under a certain amount of stress. Deadlines, competitions, confrontations, and even frustrations and sorrows add depth and enrichment to people’s lives. One’s goal should not be to eliminate stress but to learn how to manage it and how to use it to help us.
Insufficient stress acts as a depressant and may leave a person feeling bored or dejected; on the other hand, excessive stress may leave us feeling “tied up in knots. ” What needs to be done is to find the optimal level of stress which will individually motivate but not overwhelm everyone. How Can the optimal level of stress be identified by an individual? There is no single level of stress that is optimal for all people. Every individual has unique requirements. As such, what is distressing to one may be a joy to another.
And even when it is agreed that a particular event is distressing, different individuals are likely to differ in their physiological and psychological responses to it. The person who loves to arbitrate disputes and moves from job site to job site would be stressed in a job, which was stable and routine, whereas the person who thrives under stable conditions would very likely be stressed on a job where duties were highly varied. Also, personal stress requirements and the amount which a person can tolerate before he/she becomes distressed changes with his/her ages. It has been found that most illness is related to unrelieved stress.
If somebody is experiencing stress symptoms, that person has gone beyond the optimal stress level; that person needs to reduce the stress in his/her life and/or improve his/her ability to manage it. How Can an individual manage Stress Better? Identifying unrelieved stress and being aware of its effect on our lives is not sufficient for reducing its harmful effects. Just as there are many sources of stress, there are many possibilities for its management. However, all require work toward change: changing the source of stress and/or changing our reaction to it. How does one proceed? . Become aware of your stressors and your emotional and physical reactions. Notice your distress. Don’t ignore it. Don’t gloss over the problems. Determine what events distress you. What are you telling yourself about meaning of these events? Determine how your body responds to the stress. Do you become nervous or physically upset? If so, in what specific ways? 2. Recognize what you can change. Can you change your stressors by avoiding or eliminating them completely? Can you reduce their intensity (manage them over a period of time instead of on a daily or weekly basis)?
Can you shorten your exposure to stress (take a break, leave the physical premises)? Can you devote the time and energy necessary to making a change (goal setting, time management techniques, and delayed gratification strategies may be helpful here)? 3. Reduce the intensity of your emotional reactions to stress. The stress reaction is triggered by your perception of danger… physical danger and/or emotional danger. Are you viewing your stressors in exaggerated terms and/or taking a difficult situation and making it a disaster? Are you expecting to please everyone?
Are you overreacting and viewing things as absolutely critical and urgent? Do you feel you must always prevail in every situation? Work at adopting more moderate views; try to see the stress as something you can cope with rather than something that overpowers you. Try to temper your excess emotions. Put the situation in perspective. Do not labor on the negative aspects and the “what if’s. ” 4. Learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress. Slow, deep breathing will bring your heart rate and respiration back to normal. Relaxation techniques can reduce muscle tension.
Electronic biofeedback can help you gain voluntary control over such things as muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure. Medications, when prescribed by a physician, can help in the short term in moderating your physical reactions. However, they alone are not the answer. Learning to moderate these reactions on your own is a preferable long-term solution. 5. Build your physical reserves. Exercise for cardiovascular fitness three to four times a week (moderate, prolonged rhythmic exercise is best, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or jogging). Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
Maintain your ideal weight. Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine, and other stimulants. Mix leisure with work. Take breaks and get away when you can. Get enough sleep. Be as consistent with your sleep schedule as possible. 6. Maintain your emotional reserves. Develop some mutually supportive friendships/relationships. Pursue realistic goals which are meaningful to you, rather than goals others have for you that you do not share. Expect some frustrations, failures, and sorrows. Always be kind and gentle with yourself — be a friend to yourself To manage the stress in your life, experts offer several strategies: Four types of regular exercise are recommended. • Meditation, imagery or breathing exercises allow an individual to relax mentally and physically. • Various massage techniques can promote relaxation, improve circulation and relieve tension. Massages benefit both emotional and physical health. • Commit to making physical exercise a part of your daily routine, find a noncompetitive partner, have fun and change your routine to keep it interesting. • Stress management consultant Loretta LaRouche recommends taking time to find humor in every day life. One of her suggestions is to start a humor box.
Fill it with silly guises, cartoons, funny stories and/or favorite humorous videos. Go to this box when you are feeling stressed. • Practicing healthy eating habits can reduce stress. Plan meals based on USDA’s Food Pyramid. • Maintain balance: find time for work and play. Stress is a fact of life. The best way to confront this fact is through management. CH:4 ORGANISATIONAL STRESS There is a considerable cost to people, in both human and financial terms, in working in an unhealthy stressful environment. It is therefore in the interest of all leaders and managers to create healthy workplaces.
What is commonly referred to as ‘organizational stress’ may be said to be caused by a dysfunctional culture. Where members of an organization share a negative view of that organization, they are not likely to be motivated to perform well. On the contrary, they may feel that work is not worthwhile and that there is little point in pursuing personal or organizational objectives or desires. The result may be a serious loss of self-esteem and when this condition prevails this will be experienced as stress. Some of the consequences of stress have been identified as:
Reduced productivity • Lack of creativity • Job dissatisfaction • Increased sick leave • Premature retirement • Absenteeism • Accidents • Organizational breakdown There are many ways in which organizational culture will manifest itself in a dysfunctional way. For example, the unhelpful and dysfunctional division between ‘us’ and ‘them’, which may be perpetuated, by both senior managers and those at other levels of an organization in a collusive manner. A division, which results in a lack of proper communication and a sort of ‘blaming’ culture.
Addressing these matters is difficult work, work that cannot be adequately dealt with by managers or internal consultants because they are part of the culture; part of the hierarchy, and subject to the authority structure of the organization. However, this is not the total extent of the needs regarding organizational stress. There is also a need for a Stress Management Strategy that through various approaches will, in its entirety, provide for the needs of the organization & the table below: THE STRESS RESPONSIBILITY TABLE Fig 4. 1 Level |Aims | Responsibility | |1 | Treat casualties | Occupational Health Professionals | |2 | Detect other cases | Managers/Occupational Health Professionals | |3 | Increase awareness | Managers, Training, Occupational Health | |4 | Teach Skills | Training, Occupational Health | |5 | Improve Culture | Senior Management Team | Such a strategy would address the following sort of issues: The first four actions are as essential as the last. Internal staff that has the knowledge, skills can develop all these and ability to ensure that what is provided is as good as anywhere else. There may be benefit from employing outside assistance to consult to the process but basically the experts in the field are in the organization. The real point is that this sort of strategy should be seen as a total package.
Without addressing the issue of culture the organization will not achieve the desired effective activities in the areas identified at 1 – 4 above. Equally, it could be ensured that the organization had a wonderful culture but without the other activities there would be no service available to members of the organization. Short term stress fig 4. 2 The diagram below shows the relationship between stress and the quality of performance when one is in situations that impose short term stress: [pic] Where stress is low, one may find that his/her performance is low because of boredom, lack concentration and motivation. Where stress is too high, the performance can suffer from all the symptoms of excessive short-term stress.
In the middle, at a moderate level of stress, there is a zone of best performance. If one can keep oneself within this zone, then that person will be sufficiently aroused to perform well while not being over-stressed and unhappy. This graph, and this zone of optimum performance, is different shapes for different people. Some people may operate most effectively at a level of stress that would leave other people either bored or in pieces. It is possible that someone who functions superbly at a low level might experience difficulties at a high level. Alternatively someone who performs only moderately at low level might perform exceptionally under extreme pressure.
The best way of finding your optimum level of stress is to keep a stress diary for a number of weeks. Long term stress fig 4. 3 The problems of long term, sustained stress are more associated with fatigue, morale and health than with short term adrenaline management. The graph below shows the way in which performance can suffer when someone is under excessive long-term stress: [pic] The graph shows stages that a person may go through in response to sustained levels of excessive stress: • During the first phase a person will face challenges with plenty of energy. One’s response will probably be positive and effective. • After a period of time one may begin to feel seriously tired.
The person may start to feel anxious, frustrated and upset. The quality of one’s work may begin to suffer. • As high stress continues one may begin to feel a sense of failure and may be ill more frequently. A person may also begin to feel exploited by his/her organization. At this stage the person may start to distance himself/herself from the employer, perhaps starting to look for a new job. • If high levels of stress continue without relief one may ultimately experience depression, burnout, nervous breakdown, or some other form of serious stress related illness. Different people may move between these stages with different speeds under different stress conditions.
At a simple level it may appear that a measure of ‘toughness’ is how well a person keeps on going under extreme stress. This is simplistic. It is certainly possible to be self-indulgent and use stress as an excuse for not pushing yourself hard enough. It is, however, also far too easy to let yourself be pushed to a level where your work, and physical and mental health start to suffer. The strongest and most flexible position is to actively manage your levels of stress and fatigue so that you are able to produce high quality work over a long period, reliably. High performance in your job may require continued hard work in the face of high levels of sustained stress. If this is the case, it is essential that you learn to pay attention to your feelings.
This ensures that you know when to relax, slacken off for a short period, get more sleep, or implement stress management strategies. If you do not take feelings of tiredness, upset or discontent seriously, then you may face failure, burnout or breakdown. There are good strategies for avoiding or surviving these that are beyond the scope of certain books. CH:5 MANAGING STRESS Stress cannot be avoided. It should not be avoided. Without stress, there will be no attempt to try the difficult. One will give up much too easily. One will not succeed in doing even what one is easily capable of, because even the normal faculties will not come into play – like the goalkeeper, if he remained relaxed even at the last minute.
There are two aspects to take care of in managing stress. One is that one should not develop stress to the point that one becomes non-functional like Arjuna laying down his arms. The second is to try to get back to normal as quickly as one can and not continue to be in a state of stress for too long. The former is achieved essentially by an attitude that is developed by rational thoughts. The first is to realize that one’s perceptions often distort the reality. The situation may not be as bad as it may seem to be. The second is to understand that a failure is not an unmitigated disaster. It is not possible to succeed all the time. It is not even necessary to succeed all the time.
One failed effort does not mean that the person is no good. Nobody has succeeded without many losses. Even World champions sometimes lose a first round match to an unseeded player. Marconi and Thomas Alva Edison succeeded in their inventions after many attempts that failed. They saw failures as opportunities to learn. The third is to recognize that worry and anxiety will not modify the situation, but will only disturb one’s peace of mind and health. If one watches passengers at airports and railway stations, one will find how some of them remain quite relaxed and even sleeping while others are continuously making enquiries from officials about extent and causes of delays.
Such constant enquiries only irritate, but do not expedite solutions. They add to stress of self and of others. Another very valid concept is what is postulate in the Gita. You can only do. The results are not in your hands. The results, called failures or successes are in the future. One does not have control on the future. One can acquire some control on the present and that is what one does. Also the success or failure does not depend only on what one does. Many other factors impinge. Therefore, the Gita proposes, do your duty and do not worry about what the consequences or fruits may be. Only thoughts about the possible desirability of the fruits cause anxieties.
Mother Teresa had expressed the same thought, when she is reported to have said to the industrialist Mr. J. R. D. Tata, “Why are you worrying about poverty? Your work is to open more industries, give more employment to people and leave the rest to God. ” A situation that causes stress is a problem situation. The solution needs generating managerial options. People lose tempers and abuse officials as a result of stress. None of these solve the problems that may exist. Problem-solving needs calm, clear, analytical thinking. Clarity of thought and analysis improves with EuStress and deteriorates with DiStress. Managerial alternatives and options will be seen when one ‘is concerned’ with the matter, not when one is ‘anxious’.
Awareness that nothing will be perfect and that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, helps to cope with the stress situations. People who demand of them Excellence always, are likely to develop high stress. Perfection is not necessary. It may also not be possible. Satisfying is often the only available option. At work one must learn to delegate. Many people believe that they alone can do certain tasks. The golden rule is to make this statement invalid as quickly as possible. Stress is only one reason for doing so. The positive outcomes are many. As one rises in the hierarchy, it would be impossible to do all the jobs that have to be done. One needs to pass on to others.
Time spent in making this happen, is good investment for the future. Getting back to normal is relatively easy. One only has to get one’s mind into a condition in which there is no stress. Any pleasant activity will make this possible. Hobbies help. The practice of Yoga is excellent to relax one’s body and mind. Stress is relieved when one can share one’s thoughts and feelings with someone else. Good tunes and ragas, like in bhajans and ghazals, have the capacity to soothe one’s nerves, even if one is not listening. As an organization as a whole • Organizational Stress Auditing (organization) o Before organizational stress is targeted, we need to know what is causing it.
Workplace stressors should be identified and employees can guide with options to manage it. • Stress Management Training (group or individual) o Through a range of easily applied, practical courses underpinned by widely accepted Stress Management theory, groups and individuals can increase their understanding of the causes of stress and through this, learn techniques for reducing and dealing with stress. As the Manager As the boss, one can ensure that subordinates are not put to undue stress and also that they are helped to get out of stress situations as quickly as possible. The steps are • Recognize the stress levels • Show concern • Encourage talking • Listen • Empathize Explain and show how it can be done • Reassure • Provide support • Discuss and involve them in decisions • Show respect to the individuals • Avoid insult, denunciation, abuse, reprimand, particularly in public • Avoid manipulation, coercion, blaming • Avoid pressurizing too much • Provide social support All the above, render support and help to reduce anxieties. It is not suggested that the demands on people should be lowered. People like challenges. They must be given challenging assignments. That is the only way to growth. But if there is a sensing of extreme stress, it should be managed through reassurance, not by withdrawing the assignment. Personality Types
Studies on Stress have identified that Type A personalities tend to get stressed much faster than Type B personalities. The characteristics of a Type A personality are an intense urge to achieve, impatience and restlessness, always on the move, hurrying, doing more than one task at a time. He keeps a heavy and tight schedule and dislikes waiting and relaxing. The Type B is exactly the opposite, takes things easy, finds time to relax, is not impatient and is not obsessed with winning all the time. Instruments have been developed to identify the Type of any person. But no one is fully Type A or fully Type B. It is possible to move from one type to another.
It is not as if Type B is the more desirable personality, because stress is not the only factor relevant for effectiveness. Achievement is equally important for effectiveness and there the Type A has a better chance to win. Time Management Inadequacy of resource is a common stressor. One needs resources to do a job and if the resource is not available, there could be stress. One important resource is Time. Many people find that they do not have enough time to do a job. Deadlines seem to be difficult to meet. This is true of individuals as well as of collectives. We read of committees asking for extension of time to do their jobs; of projects not being completed on time.
Unfortunately, time is such a resource that nobody can give more or take away. Everybody has a definite amount of time available. Studies show that people are poor planners in terms of usage of time as a resource. Time is wasted in a number of ways. Therefore, if one learns ways to manage one’s time better, there could be a better control on stress. Time is wasted because of • Non-productive work like searching for files, papers and references. • Available information being inadequate or incomplete • Meetings and lengthy reports • Indecisiveness, unable to make up one’s mind • Correcting errors in instructions, assignments • Clarifying goals and roles • Too much routine, paperwork Lack of prioritization Once the cause is known, the remedy should be obvious. The best way to know the cause is to keep a detailed log of how one is using his time over a period of a week or so. Some of the remedies will be in the nature of readjustments of personal habits, like planning on priorities, avoiding drift in meetings, not insisting on perfectionism etc. Some remedies will be in the nature of reorganizing work systems in the office so that search and corrections are made minimal. Some will be in the nature of training others for better work practices, so that supervision can be less. Indecisiveness has been mentioned as a time waster.
This may happen because of lack of clarity on objectives or because of fatigue and the mind not being able to concentrate. Both are avoidable. Indecisiveness can also happen because of lack of knowledge on the subject. The time one takes to study a matter depends on one’s skill. Experienced people run through a 100 page file, without reading every page, but picking up the important and relevant matter, while another may have to spend double the time reading every paper to determine its relevance. Thus, one way to manage time better is to improve one’s skills at work Stress is the “wear and tear” our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment; it has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings.
As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action; it can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. With the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, a job promotion, or a new relationship, we experience stress as we readjust our lives. In so adjusting to different circumstances, stress will help or hinder us depending on how we react to it. PresentationIdea: Schedule a stress busting experiential activity to help deal with particularly stressful times in life.
Examples could include bringing in a massage therapist to share techniques with the chapter, scheduling regular physical activities or having an individual lead the chapter through a meditation/imagery exercise. For exercise examples, feel free to contact the Coordinator of Resource Development at Executive Offices. More and more employees are experiencing stress at work. They may be coping with too much pressure, long hours or rapid change. The nature of employment has now changed and the idea of a job for life has been replaced by an emphasis on performance. Stress is now recognized as a valid health and safety issue at work. Litigation is on the increase and there have been successful claims for compensation for work-related stress. More and more employers are turning to Stress Management to tackle these problems.
Stress Management can enable people to improve their own response to stress and enable the organization to reduce workplace stressors. Our Training Package addresses the problems of work-place stress with the twofold approach of Stress Auditing and Stress Management Training. The Stress Audit for the Organization We provide the information and materials to enable you to carry out a Stress Audit for your organization. The findings of the audit can be addressed in the Stress Management Training sessions. Master copies of all Stress Audit forms and questionnaires are provided in order for you to carry out regular audits if you so wish. However, Stress Management Training will be of value whether or not you undertake an Audit.
Organizational Stress Management Organizational Stress Management aims at preventing and reducing stress for both the individual employee and the organization or company. The Training Package offers you eight detailed sessions for stress management training groups in your workplace. These include eight relaxation exercises on audio cassette tapes, together with training in relaxation, breathing and cognitive-behavioral techniques. We also provide practical training in the management of many workplace stressors. The Stress Management sessions provide employees with the opportunity to tackle major stressors using techniques from Problem Solving Therapy.
We also provide research notes with each session giving you in-depth background information on the problems of work-pace stress, together with step-by-step presentations of related therapies of particular value in the treatment of stress at CH:6 CASE STUDIES 1) Fortune 50 company installs Stress Navigator on corporate intranet as in-house stress control program; prior to program rollout, the site attracts 7,000 employees ready to reduce stress The Situation: This Fortune 50 Company, like many others, realized that stress was a significant problem, a major burden in both economic and human terms for company and employees alike. They had tried various stress management programs before, but with little success – employees weren’t utilizing the programs. When they first saw the Stress Navigator Workshop, the company realized that this program was different.
When used as a portal to the Human Resources, it could directly link employees to appropriate corporate benefits and programs. The Stress Navigator Workshop: This Company put the Workshop on their corporate intranet as part of a pilot program for executives. The executives had such a positive experience with it that they mentioned it to their co-workers and others. Word of mouth spread, and before they knew it, more than 10% percent of their 70,000 employees with access to the corporate intranet had taken the workshop online. And this was before it was general knowledge that the program was available. Stress Directions and the Stress Navigator Workshop answered a need the company knew they had, but didn’t know how to resolve.
Employees recognized the opportunity immediately and got the help they needed. The Resolution: When presented with a system that made sense, the organization and individuals chose to take action towards health. It’s too soon to measure the impact of Stress Directions on their bottom-line, but after a year on their intranet, much of this company’s workforce has gone through the online program. The company has settled on the Stress Navigator Workshop as their stress control strategy and plans to keep it available for their employees indefinitely. 2) Personal products company struggles to maintain global market share, restructures product delivery protocol to increase health and productivity, and decrease costs
The Situation: The Situation: The most recent product development cycle of this global manufacturing company provides a prime example of how stress can cost even the most successful organizations. In the rush to stay competitive, what had been a five-year development cycle was cut to three years. Because of the push to get the new product on the market, design and engineering specs were less firm than they should have been, and decision-makers continued to tinker with basic design after manufacturing machinery was under construction. The machinery had to be redesigned and rebuilt several times. Machinists were assigned back-breaking amounts of overtime to stay on schedule. The ripple effects of the overtime made the situation stressful for families as well as employees.
With no time to rest, machinists made mistakes that had to be corrected, which called for more overtime. The entire development team felt tremendous stress and, sadly, three suicides occurred among them during a 13-month time period. The Organization Stress Profile: The 850-member development team took the Stress Navigator Workshop either online or in the paper and pencil format in a corporate effort to address wellness issues and retain the entire corporation’s competitive market position. In the workshops, employees cited overwork as their number one stress concern. The Resolution: The division head in charge of the development team implemented mandatory stress management programs and put a cap on overtime.
In the end, the incidence of errors dropped significantly and employees were able to accomplish more work of higher quality in fewer hours. 3) Federal agency cuts turnover rate from 40% to 15% in three years by identifying stress patterns and changing hiring philosophy The Situation: This 47-person government agency had a 40% turnover rate and was experiencing deep problems with employee moral and stress. A manufacturing section within the agency was particularly hard-hit and had fallen far behind schedule. Management was quickly reaching a dead-end in their search for solutions, and job security was on the line. The agency perceived high stress in the manufacturing section to be the likely cause of its problems.
The Organization Stress Profile: All agency employees were administered the Stress Navigator Questionnaire to determine whether the turnover rate was indeed related to job stress. Grouped results did show the manufacturing group to be higher in susceptibility to stress, sources of stress, and symptoms of stress. But they also differed demographically from their peers in many significant respects. For example, their average age was five to ten years younger than workers in the other two sections of the agency, and this job typically represented their first foray into the labor market. Further analysis revealed that the workers in manufacturing had several likely causes for higher stress and job dissatisfaction.
Compared to co-workers in nearby regulation and communication sections, they had less seniority (it was the entry-level section of the organization), earned lower pay, were more vulnerable to seasonal layoffs, were restricted to their work stations, and had no access to phones. In addition, they were isolated from the other sections by a wall with a single door that remained open so they were constantly aware of the contrast in working conditions between their section and the others. In other words, manufacturing still scored highest in all stress categories, but not for the reasons that had been assumed. In-depth analysis made it evident much of the workplace stress stemmed from the fact that the employees were young and financially insecure.
The turnover had as much to do with conditions outside of the agency, such as career level, maturity and financial security, as it did with the conditions of the workplace. Resolution: Based on the information gleaned from the Stress Navigator Workshops and the advice of stress consultants, the agency corrected many of the internal conditions cited above, implemented appropriate stress management training for supervisors, and changed their hiring patterns to select stable, more mature workers who would not be looking at the job as a career opportunity. Turnover rates were cut from 40% to 15% in just under three years. 4) Reorganization stress of Fortune 100 company is measured, then reduced
The Situation: When it came time to evolve from a large, centralized company with several subsidiaries to a swifter, more segmented organization with decentralized decision-making and restructured responsibilities at the corporate, regional and local levels, this Fortune 100 Company thought they were prepared. For years, employees had access to an employee assistance program, in-house stress management programs, and fitness programs. Additional resources were put in place to address the stress of the restructuring. Months later, the company was still identifying high levels of stress in two regional offices that were among the oldest in the company.
More managers than non-managers were expressing stress-related concerns and reporting a breakdown in communications. Executives were questioning the value of existing corporate stress management programs. The Organization Stress Profile: More than 1,800 employees with access to the corporate intranet voluntarily took the Stress Navigator Workshop. Analysis of data groups by regional office showed that three of the twelve regional offices had clinically meaningful levels of stress, particularly as related to concerns about the future, confusion regarding job descriptions, and lines of authority and responsibility. Stress seemed to derive from the workplace and ripple into the other areas of employees’ lives.
This was true across the board: To the company’s surprise, no significant differences in stress levels were found between managers and non-managers in any of the regional offices. However, female employees reported more stress and higher symptom levels, in themselves as individuals, in their families and in social situations, than did men. The women’s stress was mostly linked to the competing demands of family and work, indecision regarding career choices, social isolation and sex discrimination. Males reported higher levels of vulnerability. The highest stress was reported in the two regions with the highest population density, traffic, social isolation, noise, crime, and ethnic and racial differences and tensions.
In fact, it was a tribute to the effectiveness of the current stress management structure that the high stress levels had not affected utilization of health benefits to a greater extent. The Resolution: The Company continued their stress management and wellness programs, and increased them in high stress regions with particular efforts toward resolving ethnic and racial tensions and competitions. No extraordinary effort was directed toward managers. It was also recommended that the addition of workshops and seminars on women’s issues would be well worth the investment in time and energy. Stress Directions helped this company identify and address their stress issues efficiently and accordingly find accurate solutions to their problems. Critical Incident Stress Management
Critical incidents do occur In the workplace: • Accidents on the work sight • A sudden unexpected death of a coworker • Workplace violence Critical Incident stress is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Left untreated, critical Incident stress could lead to lower production, increased absenteeism, Increased substance abuse, and increased use of health care benefits. The stress reactions experienced by those who have been exposed to a critical Incident may appear immediately or surface hours or days after the event: Survivor guilt, Flashbacks, Confusion Poor concentration, Distressing dreams Fatigue, Grief, Fear Anger, Chills, Diarrhoea, Nausea
These are only a few examples of what individuals report after experiencing a critical Incident. Sometimes the critical Incident Is so painful professional assistance from a specially trained Individual becomes necessary. WORKPLACE RESOURCES has professionals with more than ten years experience in the area of critical Incident stress. We can provide: pre-planning: to help you design a plan of action to assist your company be better prepared If and when your workplace experiences a critical incident post-accident: We will provide a team to help assess the situation and guide you through the recovery phase. THE GODREJ VISIT: About Godrej: Everyday, every Indian encounters the ‘Godrej’ name sometime somewhere.
A person may begin the day bathing with a Godrej soap, shaving with a Godrej shaving cream, storing clothes in a Godrej Storewell cupboard, cooking food in a Godrej cooking oil and preserving it in a Godrej refrigerator. Money and valuables are kept in a Godrej safe, work is done on a Godrej computer or typewriter while sitting on a Godrej chair and drinking a Godrej fruit drink. Yet few know about the indomitable spirit of the man responsible for making Godrej a household name – Ardeshir Godrej. , a pioneer who produced quality products and captured markets. Innovation has been the key. It is this spirit that has built Godrej and carried it for a hundred years. Taking it into diverse industries ranging from cupboards to soaps, hair dyes to edible oils, and packaged foods to refrigerators.
In recent years several partnerships have been formed with international giants like General Electric, Pillsbury, Fiskars and Sara Lee, bringing Godrej membership in the Global village that will carry it forward into the 21st century. Godrej has always been a crusader for a better world with programs that benefit endangered forests, wild life and mangroves. Every year the Pirojsha Godrej Foundation dedicates funds towards promoting education, housing, social upliftment, conservation, population management and relief of natural calamities. Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. (GCPL) is a major player in the Indian FMCG market with leadership in personal, hair, household and fabric care segments. The company employs 950 people and has three state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at Malanpur (M. P. ) Guwahati (Assam) and Silvassa (gujrat).
Their main focus is on providing their customers with innovative, value for money solutions for meeting their daily needs and improving the quality of their life. This is achieved through the brands the company markets. We are among the largest marketer of toilet soaps in the country with leading brands such as CINTHOL, FAIRGLOW, and GODREJ NO1. Their FAIRGLOW brand, India’s first Fairness soap, has created marketing history as one of the most successful innovations. They are the leader in the hair color category in India and have a vast product range from COLOURSOFT LIQUID HAIR COLOURS; GODREJ LIQUID ; POWDER HAIR DYES to GODREJ KESH KALA OIL based Hair Dyes. Their Liquid Detergent brand EZEE is the market leader in its category.
They are also the preferred supplier for contract manufacturing of toilet soaps by some of the most well known brands in the country. They are supported in their endeavor by a state-of-the-art Research Centre based in Mumbai. Their quality products have been received very well in the international market and they are present in many countries across the world. The “Pre –Stress Managed” Godrej: Job-related stress is particularly likely to become chronic because it is such a large part of daily life. And, thus stress in turn was reducing worker effectiveness by impairing concentration, causing sleeplessness, and increasing the risk for illness, back problems, accidents, and lost time. It was leading to harassment or even violence while on the job in some cases.
At its most extreme, stress that places such a burden on the heart and circulation may be fatal. The stress problems were affecting the overall working of the organization. Stressed employees were not able to give their 100% to the organization and their interest in office work was also depleting. The company could not afford this since its toughest competitor HLL (Hindustan Lever Ltd. ) was catching up with it. The management was also getting news about employee dissatisfaction, thanks mainly to the internal grapevine. Traditional Stress Management Techniques:- As quoted by Mr. Bharoik, previously, Godrej did not have prominent Stress Management Techniques in place.
But, recently after the results of the “Employee Stress Survey”, conducted by the HR department of the organization were printed in the company’s own periodical, the top level management seriously considered doing something about employee stress problems. Brief Results of the “Employee Stress Survey”: – • First, no single method is uniformly successful: a combination of approaches is generally most effective. • Second, what works for one person does not necessarily work for someone else. • Third, stress can be positive as well as negative. Appropriate and controllable stress provides interest and excitement and motivates the individual to greater achievement, while a lack of stress may lead to boredom and depression. • Finally, stress may play a part in making people vulnerable to illness.
A physician or psychologist should be consulted if there are any indications of accompanying medical or psychological conditions, such as cardiac symptoms, significant pain, anxiety, or depression. Other Observations: – A healthy lifestyle is an essential companion to any stress-reduction program. General health and stress resistance can be enhanced by a regular exercise, a diet rich in a variety of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and by avoiding excessive alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. Exercise in combination with stress management techniques is extremely important. Stress itself poses significantly less danger to overall health in the physically active individual. The heart and circulation are able to work harder for longer stretches of time, and the muscles, ligaments, bones, and joints become stronger and more flexible.
Cognitive-behavioral methods are the most effective ways to reduce stress. They include identifying sources of stress, restructuring priorities, changing one’s response to stress, and finding methods for managing and reducing stress. This approach may be particularly helpful when the source of stress is Chronic pain or other chronic diseases. Suggestions to employees: – • Establish or reinforce a network of friends at work and at home. • Restructure priorities and eliminate unnecessary tasks. • Learn to focus on positive outcomes. • If the job is unendurable, plan and execute a career change. Send out resumes or work on transfers within the company. Modern Organizational Stress management Techniques:-
The organization has now found out what was missing in employee welfare. Now stress surveys are being conducted every month to see what kind of stress does a lower level employee undergo? Other than the normal measures the organization conducts yoga sessions twice a week for its employees for relaxation purposes. Measures taken to improve the situation: A stress management company was hired to look into the matter and suggest and implement the best remedial measures possible, in conjunction with the company’s Human Resources Department. The stress management company thought it was best to conduct a course and the following are some of its fine points: • Participants meet weekly for eight 90-minute classes. The company’s human resources department and the availability of the PPSM staff will determine course schedule. • Preliminary meetings with the company’s human resource department, managers and employees to provide information to tailor the program to best meet the corporate needs. • Up to four 60-minute introductory lectures, or as requested, to describe the program to potential participants are conducted. • All class materials are provided including two textbooks, additional reading materials, customized study manuals, and tailored audio cassettes developed to meet the company’s identified needs. Benefits: • Drastically reduced stress-related staff problems Better communication with customers, co-workers, managers, family members and friends • Decreased staff absenteeism and sickness • Higher morale amongst staff CH:7 IMAGES OF STRESS PEOPLE
CH:8 CONCLUSION The Future of “Stress Management” is very bright. More and more companies today are opting for stress management to optimize employee performance. Companies today have realized that keeping their employees happy and free of stress motivates the employee to give more than a 100% to the organization. All major companies in the country as well as broad are implementing stress management measures to get the best out of their employees and the organization. As awareness among different companies for managing stress has increased considerably, so have different stress management techniques. While some companies prefer to implement the traditional stress management techniques, some others have opted for the modern techniques to suit their needs. Thus, it can be safely stated that “Stress Management” has become one of the most critical factors in an organization’s working today and it will gain more important as the market becomes more and more competitive. BIBLIOGRAPHY:- SOURCES Books: 1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. – Richard Carlson. 2. Strategic Stress Management. – Valerie J.
Sutherland ; – Cary L. Cooper. 3. Managing Stress. – Donald H. Weiss. Articles: 1. How to cope with fear ; stress. – Reader’s Digest, May ’03. 2. Stress Busters. – Midday, June 18 ‘03 3. Why Women are more stressed than Men. – Midday, August 11 ‘03 4. Goofy now. – Health ; Nutrition, September 9 ‘03 5. Managing Stress. – Times of India (Education Times) September 15 ‘03 Webliography: 1. www. mindtools. com 2. Www. ivf. com/stress. html 3. http://www. stresstips. com/stress_article. htm 4. http://www. csbsju. edu/academicadvising/help/stresmgt. html
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