“It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lou Holtz
According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 79% of Americans feel stress sometimes or frequently during the day.
For Ad Agency Account Executives that number may be higher.
Always tired. Anxious. Pounding heart. It takes a toll on your health and your performance.
Understanding the signs of stress, it’s causes, and the long-term effects on your health will prolong your life … and your career.
Our Bodies are Built for Stress
Stress is your body’s natural response to a threat, whether real or imagined. Physical or mental.
Your body releases hormones that make your heart beat faster, your blood pressure rise, your breath quicken, and your senses become sharper.
All these physiological responses increase your strength, stamina, and speed … and can be the difference between life or death in an emergency situation.
The stress response also helps you focus when you need to get work done.
While a little stress is good, prolonged stress over time will take its toll on your body.
Symptoms of Stress
People handle stress differently.
One person’s stressful event is another person’s minor inconvenience.
And one person may sweat profusely. While someone else doesn’t break a sweat.
The key is to understand all the effects that stress can have on a body and recognize when you might have a problem.
Here are symptoms of stress to look out for.
- Easily agitated and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Simple tasks seem hard
- Difficulty relaxing
- Low self esteem and depression
- Avoiding others
- Enjoy favorite activities less
- Chronic pain
- Frequent colds and infections
- Low energy and fatigued
- Can’t sleep … or want to stay in bed
- Libido changes
- Digestive issues
- Rapid heartbeat
- Grinding teeth
- Hair falling out
- Constant worrying
- Racing thoughts
- Forgetfulness and disorganization
- Inability to focus
- Unable to make decisions
- Poor judgment
- Unable to focus
- Eat more … or less
- Increased drug, alcohol, or cigarette use
- Nervous behavior like nail biting, fidgeting, pacing, etc.
- Become less social
Effects of Long-term Stress on Your Health
Studies show that over time, stress has a major impact on health.
Long-term stress leads to depression and anxiety, headaches, obesity, gastrointestinal issues, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, alzheimer’s, accelerated aging and even premature death.
Stress is nothing to ignore.
Advertising Agency Stressors
Stressors are things that cause stress. The advertising industry is wrought with stressors.
- Tight deadlines … or missed deadlines
- No budgets … or budget overages
- Client demands
- Working on multiple projects at once
- Working excessive overtime
- Mistakes and errors in work
- Type A personality with a perfection streak
- Poor work/life balance
- Client unhappiness
- Uncontrollable influences like the economy, competitors, etc.
Tips to Minimize Stress
If some of the stressors and symptoms sound familiar, you may need to work to control your body’s stress response. Here are some ways to do that.
In the Heat of the Moment
When you experience a moment of stress, act fast to stop the escalation.
- Count to 10
- Take several deep breaths
- Reframe the situation in your mind and stop the negative talk
- Change your perspective. Focus on the big picture.
- Adjust your standards down a bit
Stress Reducing Activity
If you’re feeling stressed, take time to unwind with a relaxing activity.
To minimize some of your daily stress, try some of these tactics.
- Say no to some work. You don’t have to do it all.
- Delegate some tasks to someone else.
- Move some of your work to later.
There’s an App for That
There are many apps created to help combat stress. Here are a few popular ones.
- Calm – Designed to help you find peace of mind through meditation, improved sleep, exclusive music and more.
- StressScan – Analyzes changes in your heart rate to scientifically measure your mental and physical stress on a scale of 1 to 100.
- Pacifica for Stress & Anxiety – Manage your daily mental health with tools like mood and health tracking, mindfulness meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Breathe2Relax – Portable stress management tool which provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body and instructions and practice exercises to help users learn diaphragmatic breathing.
- Personal Zen – Based on 20 years of brain training and anxiety-reduction research. Built-in tools help train your mind towards a more positive focus. This focus buffers against feelings of stress and anxiety when used only a few minutes a day, a few days a week.
You may not realize the negative affect stress has on your health. Pay closer attention to the symptoms and recognize the stressors. You’ll be better equipped to counter stress. And not only will you be healthier, but your productivity will increase.
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