the-devil's-circle-of-chronic-stress-and-time pressureGuest article

The vicious circle of chronic stress and time pressure

"No time, I'm busy."

Whether privately or professionally - stress and time pressure is a constant topic. Everyone is just busy, perpetually energized and pressure and nobody has any time left. Most people blame this on all the stress that comes down on them. Whether it is the many tasks at work, challenges in the family or other burdens, stress is constantly portrayed as negative and made a problem of our society today.

At the same time, many people are not aware of the fact that stress is basically not negative. The human being even needs stress. There is a clear distinction between positive stress (=Eustress) and negative chronic stress (=Distress).

What exactly is stress?

Stress is a reaction of the human organism to stimuli from the environment (=stressors). These are still anchored in us evolutionarily, because our ancestors had to protect themselves quickly from danger (Fight or Flight). In an acute situation our body produces the hormones adrenalin and noradrenalin, which causes our heart rate and blood pressure to rise. As a result, energy can be mobilized quickly and attention and concentration ability increase.

This enables us to better master challenges or activate reserves of strength when we need them. Adrenaline and noradrenaline are quickly released from the body. The human organism needs this kind of stress to be productive at all.

During a long period of stress, the body also releases the hormone cortisol. This leads to other bodily functions being shut down or shut down and keeps the body in a Survival modein "Fight or Flight". Cortisol is needed because it can continue to provide energy as quickly as possible. This therefore not only inhibits important functions of our body (e.g. our immune system), but also has effects on the neuronal level. Means: our solution-oriented thinking is inhibitedbecause our brain is also switched to "survival mode".

Imagine our ancestors in the cave who were attacked by an animal and had to act instinctively and quickly. There was no time to make long plans. This function has remained with us, even though no animals attack us anymore, but today our stress is triggered by other stimuli.

What causes permanent stress?

But how is it possible that we no longer fight for survival today, but still have this permanent stress load?

Today is our Stress often homemade. It is not the external stimulus that actually stresses us, but the evaluation of the stimulus and whether we consider our own competences and resources strong enough to cope with the situation.

Everybody knows such people, with whom everything seems to work effortlessly at an insane speed. One speaks here of the so-called "flow", in which you are in harmony with your abilities, your tasks and your time, and you also work with joy.

And then there are the people whose piles are getting bigger and bigger, the Time is becoming increasingly scarce and the stress and pressure ever greater. This leads to a real Vicious circle. If we believe that we can no longer cope with the tasks, we put our body into a state of stress ourselves. We cannot think in a solution-oriented way and make many mistakes, are unfocused and easily distracted.

It takes longer to complete the task, we actually have less time and cause ourselves even more stress and pressure. Feelings of success are missing, everything is laborious and difficult - in the long run also a real Health risk.

Break the vicious circle of chronic stress and time pressure in 3 steps

So how can we get out of the vicious circle and create a "flow" experience more often?

1. plan your tasks

Plan your daily tasks with to-do lists already in the morning and prioritise these according to urgency and importance - make this absolutely in writing. Do the most difficult and unpleasant task firstThis gives you drive and a sense of achievement. We tend to put off unpleasant things, but then they subconsciously cause stress and hinder us in the completion of other tasks, because we know that the worst is yet to come. And everyone knows the feeling of relief when unpleasant things are right off the table.

Also plan for the fact that not everything goes according to plan. Unforeseen events or tasks come up to us again and again, which we do not have in hand. So plan in your daily routine time for the unforeseen (1-2 hours) then you are immediately prepared and do not get annoyed unnecessarily. And if everything goes according to plan, you can be happy to have created time for yourself.

Think about the task you want to do on that day EVERYWHERE, no matter what, and then take the time to focus on that one task only and get it done.

Do the countercheck in the eveningwhich tasks you have completed and cross them off your list. You transfer open items to a new list for tomorrow and cross them off the list for that day. This causes your brain to learn, you have done everything for today and you can go home or go to sleep calmly. It will not keep you busy and bring you into a circle of thoughts, because your brain knows that the task is not due again until tomorrow.

2. create a balance between tension and relaxation

As mentioned above, we humans need stress in order to be able to be efficient and productive. Our body can also cope well with short-term peaks (examinations, lectures, ...) for a while. However, you have to think of it like a pair of scales. Where there is stress, we also need Relief and this should preferably be in the balance over a certain period of time.

Take some time off consciously.

It has been proven that stress is reduced with sport. A round of walking or Jogging makes the head clearer and more efficient again. Find a sport that is good for you and gives you pleasure - ideally outdoors in nature.

Also include times when you want to rest and relaxation're indulging. Get a lot of sleep, have a bum day, listen to relaxing music, read a good book, or something similar. Listen to yourself and your body. If you find it difficult to switch off, then train with breathing exercises, Mindfulness Exercises and guided Meditations or meditate for yourself alone and you will notice how little by little the thought merry-go-round turns slower.

3. strengthen your own competences

But the most important point of all is the Strengthening of own resources. Many people see tasks like a mighty, frightening mountain in front of them. They only see the problem and do not know where to start. The important thing here is to take a mental leap. Think backwards from the solution. This means: What is the goal? And how did I get there? The problems suddenly seem less frightening, because we are now aware of the goal and think in terms of solutions, not problems. Thus we move faster and achieve even better results.

Always approach tasks with the attitude that you are doing your best and can complete the task with your skills or, if necessary, acquire the knowledge. See each Task as a new challenge where you can grow and learn and which gives you pleasure. The path is mostly created by walking. As soon as we take on something and put our focus on it, we can suddenly master even difficult tasks. Trust in yourself and your abilities.

We often underestimate ourselves too much or convince ourselves that we cannot do things, that they are too difficult for us or that we are not good enough. But all these are just thoughts that have nothing to do with reality. If such a thought appears, you say stop immediately and do it anyway. You will harvest feelings of success, more self-confidence and trust in your abilities and thereby learn that you can also cope well with challenges. The stress decreases because you now collect enough evidence for the brain that you really can do it.

Think of each task as a game, put lightness into it, discover the joy of it, and then celebrate for achieved goals and mastered tasks. Praise yourself too and acknowledge your achievement. This has nothing to do with our own adulation, but our brain learns by doing something well and will want to do it more often in the future. And then you are also a person who Tasks mastered effortlesslyhas more self-confidence, has more time, has fun again and is in "flow".

This article is a guest contribution from Bettina Grunwald

bettina ground forest

I myself have been living for years in stress, pressure, lack of energy and dissatisfaction, and at some point I made the decision that I not only want to function, but that I want more life again. A stroke of fate in early 2018 then turned everything upside down: My sister's suizud. Since then I have made it my mission to help other people out of a stressful everyday life to get back into life.

As an empowerment trainer I show you how to develop your inner mental strength, find your talents and abilities and accompany you on the way to more energy, more joy of life and a better version of yourself. Because life offers so much more!

Kick of my Facebook community that I'm in the process of setting up. Here I want to show more people that life is awesome!

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