Women, Stress, and Productivity
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This week's episode is a refresher on the causes and effects of stress, as well as some techniques for minimizing its negative impact on our lives and our productivity. Stress is inevitable these days, but we can take steps to minimize its disruption of our daily lives or productivity Lately I’ve been feeling the effects of stress brought on by various personal and work situations, and I’ve been hearing from other women who’ve mentioned the same, especially as, here in the US, the new school year has begun and schedules have gotten more hectic with various fall activities commencing. According to an article published just a few days ago in USA Today, a recent study involving over 66,000 women in 122 countries founds that “Levels of stress, anxiety, worry, sadness and anger among women worldwide are at a 10-year high.”  This article got me thinking about stress and its effects on our body, mind, emotions, and relationships. Looking back through the TPW archives, I saw it’s actually been several years since we really talked about stress, so I thought it was time to revisit it and some steps we can take to cope with, and even minimize, stress. Stress and What It Does to Us  Like everybody else, I experience stress on a pretty regular basis. We talked about this back in early 2016. The world was a very different place back then, so I definitely thought it was worth a refresher on the causes and effects of stress, as well as some techniques for minimizing its negative impact on our lives.  What is stress?  Stress is the reaction to a situation that disrupts our lives. Our subconscious survival instincts perceive it as a threat, a danger, and hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released throughout the body, triggering the body’s natural “fight or flight” response--that instinctive reaction that floods our body with energy in preparation for either fighting off the threat or running away from it. As quoted in the USA Today article I mentioned earlier, Dr. Sofia Noori, co-founder of the Women’s Mental Health Conference and a clinical instructor at Yale University’s department of psychiatry, has explained: “If you’re constantly exposed to stressful situations… your nervous system doesn’t have a chance to rev down so you’re constantly in a state of fight or flight.”  The stress is exacerbated when the energy flooding our body in preparation for that fight or flight has nowhere to go, because rather than racing through the jungle, fleeing the predator, we're simply sitting in a chair, trying to get our work done.  Types of stress  Acute stress is the most common. It's the occasional, temporary, short-term stress typically related to recent-past, current, or anticipated demands and pressures. For more information about the different kinds of stress, visit the American Psychological Association Help Center page.  Chronic stress is a more dangerous type. This is a long-term, continuous, unrelenting stress resulting from demands and pressures that leave a person feeling like there is no way out of his or her current situation. I’ve seen this type of stress also referred to as "toxic stress."  Chronic stress is the stress that grinds people down as time goes on, and can destroy bodies, minds, and lives. Some articles I read relate it to highly emotional or dangerous ongoing circumstances, such as dysfunctional families, poverty, or living in parts of the world with ongoing turmoil--which seems like the whol...
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