The higher a nation’s stress index, the greater its GDP and life expectancy, the more satisfied people are with their lives, their work, their communities, their own health, the happier they are.
Basically, the more people you have who thought yesterday was very stressful, that’s better for public health, it’s better for the economy, it’s better any way you look at it.
It kind of blew the researchers minds.
It is not what they or we would be expecting.
When they dug in a little deeper, it made more sense.
Stress was a barometer for pushing people toward the things that ultimately made them productive & happy.
✔ A tough project at work brings stress, but also a sense of accomplishment when it’s finished.
✔ Raising kids is stressful, but being a parent brings meaning.
✔ Stress focuses your attention in ways good times can’t.
✔ It kills procrastination and indecision, taking what you need to get done and shoving it so close to your face that you have no choice but pursue it, right now and to the best of your ability.
Working hard for something we don't care about IS.
Working hard for something we love is called passion.
“Work is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by a lack of meaning and purpose.” - Andy G. Schmidt
The other side of the 'stress-coin'
Stress can feel like a normal part of our everyday life or it can feel overwhelming and out of our control. There are different levels of stress and our perception of stress may differ.
But if we are stressed over and over and over again without much opportunity to recover, the effects can be grave.
If we constantly struggle in a simmering sea of stress & our body budget accrues an ever-deepening deficit - chronic stress.
It does more than just make us miserable in the moment.
Over time, anything that contributes to chronic stress can gradually eat away at our brain.
That includes verbal aggression, social rejection, neglect and the countless other creative ways that we social animals torment one another.
The stress hormone cortisol shuts off all non-vital functions, including the feel-good social hormones.
💥 We stop looking out for one another.
💥 Work falls by the wayside, because we are too busy covering our asses with both of our hands.
💥 Millions of years of evolution go to waste, because we can’t function as reasonable and responsible human beings.
Being aware of stress levels around us and knowing how to address these will help to increase our effectiveness in a leadership position.
One huge lever to address stress at work is to improve on open, transparent and inclusive communication as poor communication leads to unnecessary stress more often than we realize.
Engagement and motivation are great antidotes to stress too.
If we frame employee engagement as a coping strategy for the stresses of work, it allows us to think of new and better ways to both engage and re-engage employees.
I strongly believe that if we don’t like something, we have to change it. If we can’t change it, we can choose to change the way we think about it.
How we think determines how we handle stress, and thus how healthy we are.
And it looks like higher employee engagement keeps the doctor away as well.