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Stress and fatigue

Ruminating is like a record that’s stuck and keeps repeating the same lyrics. It’s replaying an argument with a friend in your mind. It’s retracing past mistakes. When people ruminate, they over-think or obsess about situations or life events, such as work or relationships.

A recent article in the Press last month caught my eye. (Cropp, 2017) shed light on what issues were most stressful for a number of South Island chief executives. The top concern for twenty two percent of managers surveyed was health and safety. Surprisingly only 3% percent ruminated over increasing sales, entering new markets or company reputation. Another issue not rated as a big deal by the executives was dealing with future change. Only 8 percent worried about attracting or retaining talent. So despite it sometimes taking more than 18 months to get new staff up to speed almost a third did not have a well-defined succession plan for their senior team.

The survey was carried out by recruitment agency Sheffield. Mike Stenhouse (Director) said that the new Health and Safety Act was causing concerns for many surveyed. Worry about accountability, compliance and the administrative burden kept many of the leaders awake at night. The mental process of thinking over and over again about a past or future event can of course be detrimental to health. Productivity declines and happiness becomes hard to find. Many people deal with stress every day and when they are unable to see solutions they can burn out.

There is a way to overcome stress and burnout that involves four simple steps.

  1. Wake up (and stay awake): in other words, ‘come to your senses’. Stop dreaming about the past or the future; instead, be in the present.
  2. Control your attention: keep your attention in the present
  3. Let go: a refusal to let go of things is at the core of why people continue to ruminate. Ask the question: “will continuing to focus on this help me, my people or organisation?” If the answer is no, let it go.
  4. Detach: this is the ability to get appropriate distance from the situation being faced. This helps to maintain perspective and only focus on what can be controlled.

 

If these four steps are repeated again and again, the brain creates a new habit, and soon you will not have to consciously do this; it becomes a way of habit.

 

See http://www.worksafe.govt.nz/ for information on how Stress is recognised in the Health and Safety Act.


EAP Services Ltd (2017). Managing stress and building (e-flyer) (Auckland, New Zealand). www.eapservices.co.nz

Cropp,A. (2017, July 14) Safety the top stress for CEO’s. Retrieved from http://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/the-press/20170714/281822873841660

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