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Workplace stress on the increase in Australia

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HC Online | 19 Nov 2014, 10:58 AM Agree 0
What should HR be doing to alleviate increasing levels of workplace stress? HC talks to a psychologist about why our workers are so stressed and what we can do about it.
  • BRIAN MAGRATH | 19 Nov 2014, 06:44 PM Agree 0
    Having been involved with stress defence for upwards of 50 years, I have to comment that stress has always been a part of the workplace, home-place play-place and every other place in human activities.
    It will continue to be until each individual who needs to -[there are a few who naturally defend against incoming distress, ID] - defends themselves against ID and prevents it becoming stress. Fortunately we preventatists have a system for doing just that and seem to be able to keep well and fit in spite of the daily ID that besets all humans.
    I should mention that in our minds, "prevention" means "don't let it happen" and not "early detection".
    Always happy to discuss with anyone who might be interested.
  • Dr. Lucia Kelleher Behavioural Neuroscientist | 20 Nov 2014, 02:28 PM Agree 0
    Chronic 'psychological stress' is the result of long term 'physiological stress' that has been impacting most of us for the past decade. This is simply due to technology radically changing the speed at which we work and play due to instant transfer of information in the digital age. The interesting thing is there is no-one deny's that life has changed so completely in the past decade, compared to any other 'environmental' occurrence (save a meteor collision) in human history. Yet people expect their 'brain' to have remained static. It has not. It has adapted to these gross environmental changes to being in a state of chronic physiological stress. The brain does not discern between a lion or a gunman and too much information, it perceives 'threat'. So of course psychological stress is the result. The solution it to fix the root cause, which is also physiological.
  • BRIAN MAGRATH | 21 Nov 2014, 12:27 PM Agree 0
    I regard the content in Dr Kelleher’s comment as accurate and sound, until the perception of fear and stress.
    I hold that fear is not an emotion, simply a perfectly natural response to an incoming danger to the person. All animals have a similar response. The response is not psychological but physical. The body is prepared for flight out of danger, before the mind even appreciates the danger. The “fight” response is arrived at if no escape is possible, or other learned factors contribute to a situation.
    Stress has nothing to do with fear, in the sense that fear itself and resultant responses are immediate, and short-term or acute. Once the danger has passed, the body is returned to normal quickly and safely as it has done for fifty million years or so. Admittedly, if there are shortcomings in a body, for example, a failing cardiac system, then the increased blood flow and pressure which are part of fear might cause damage, but that apart, there should be no poor result to fear.
    On the other hand, Incoming Distress, or imaginary danger, [ID], is unavoidable, and, as stated by Dr Kelleher, has increased rapidly since the electronic era overtook us.
    Of itself, ID does no harm, but if undefended, will become stress, cause random and spasmodic responses as the body tries to deal with an imaginary danger. Humans have not yet evolved an automatic system to deal with imaginary dangers, since emotions are a relatively new part of our human systems, but the responses provoked by them, are along the lines of the responses to real danger, but chronic.
    Stress lies behind cancer, diabetes, depression, and a host of other nasties. Defend against the ID, prevent the stress, thus prevent the resultant disorder.
    The defence mechanism Preventatists use is psychosomatic in origin; it is non spiritual, non religious, non pharmaceutical, and simple, effective and very economic.
    “If distress wins, we all lose; if distress is beaten, we win all”
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