Everyday personal and workplace stress. The choice is yours!
I was wondering the other day if my everyday personal and workplace stress could talk to me, what it would say? But I guess, if I’m under stress, I wouldn’t take the time to listen.
I’m a closed system, I’m a man and I’m probably the victim here! It’s got nothing to do with me! If only everyone knew what I was going through! I’m smart and I have got it together, they don’t!
That’s how we mostly cope with stress, I guess, and it gets us through but at a cost, sometimes a very high cost. It wrecks our work, our personal life and ultimately our own health and well-being. It can even be fatal or lead to incarceration by doing something we regret. The stress emotions take over. It happens every day, globally and it’s not culture-bound.
Hello and welcome to my first blog. My name is Dominic Brennan and I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych & Associates. I’m hoping I can connect with men through my blogs. With this quick read, I aim to bring awareness to various issues men face.
My Experience with Stress
Myself, having risen through the corporate ranks to senior positions, where I was in charge of thousands of employees and managing billions of dollars worth of assets, I experienced a lot of workplace-related stress.
Then I switched careers into mental health and wellness, and that along with a cross-culture marriage and raising two children motivates me to work with men on issues surrounding mental health and wellness. I feel it’s the time to support men on their journey, as, without mentors, coaches, and the willingness to listen, I would not be where I am today. Not without stress, but managing it so that it works for me in a healthy way.
Let’s go back to the first thought about what my stress would say if it could talk to me.
Dominic, if only they knew what I was going through! Why can’t they think like me! They have no idea what they’re talking about! Look at them! I need to show how good I am! It’s my bosses that have no idea what they are talking about! Our clients are so unreasonable! My partner has no idea what I am doing for the family and our well-being! The kids and pets need too much from me sometimes! I wish my mates thought like me! I don’t need to talk to anyone about my issues as I’m fine! I can teach them a thing or two! What a bunch of cowards and weaklings they are!
The list could probably go on. I’m sure I have missed many (unhelpful) self-talks!
The Impacts of Stress
When stress talks to us in these ways, it’s dominating and controlling us. Most of the negative things happening in our life can be underlined with the word stress.
This type of stress, particularly when it’s ongoing, can lead to; angry outbursts and being argumentative, alcohol/ drug misuse, excessive worry and/or anxiety, overeating or undereating, disturbed sleep or insomnia, broken relationships at home and at work, physical pain, health conditions such as heart disease and cancer, and overall poor quality of life. This can lead to eternal unhappiness, grumpiness and resentment!
When overly stressed and not managing it effectively we may get nasty; we get mad at things regardless of how small, we miss golden opportunities of career growth, miss the opportunity of having a loving relationship and family. As a result, we live with the hope that other people will see things the way we do which leads to huge amounts of frustration and banging our heads against the wall.
Phew! That even stresses me out to think about. Time for a drink perhaps?!!! (Just kidding: of note, alcohol is not an effective coping response and often creates more issues than it solves.)
Managing Personal and Workplace Stress
Well, what can we do about it? The first thing is to go back to the first question raised. What would stress say to me and then ask what is stress doing in my life? For most of us, stress is having all the negative impacts on us mentioned above. It not only negatively impacts our mental wellness but our physical health as well.
What we need is the skills to more effectively manage our stress as well as the opportunities to discuss our feelings.
For us men, we often don’t want to hear from anyone that we need counselling, not from a loved one or from company human resources. We don’t want to hear that we need to talk to someone about our anxiety and/or stress or that we have to seek anger management support, mandated, or not. We have it together, we believe. And again, we are back to the closed system, that many men seem to be.
Where do we men go from here? To be stress free!
I feel most of the time counselling isn’t the right word for issues men face. Generally, I feel men simply need an open ear to process what’s going on in their lives. While also learning to let the person give food for thought, provide potential solutions and options for consideration, and perhaps some cognitive restructuring (that must be from a professional by the way).
Opening up about challenges in our lives helps men manage their stress and reduce it to a level that doesn’t hurt us or those around us but rather lifts us up, and motivates us to see another way of doing things.
Positives Associated with Opening Up
The few men that aren’t closed systems, either naturally or have had the right support, tend to be leaders at work and in their families. They’re generally mentally healthy and resilient, they lift others up, they’re able to discuss experiences and roadblocks, they’re able to receive feedback, and find solutions from others about how to become what they want to become and be in a position of acceptance.
Yes, we can live in the present and not be overly stressed about what’s happened in the past or what may happen in the future. Yes, we can get on with everyone if we want to and know how to.
Some seem to have it all together naturally, and yet they still seek mentorship, feedback, coaching and support on their journey to keep them on track. Their success is a direct result of this support (they didn’t do it alone). We can all be more stress-free if we become less of a closed system and allow the spirit of “It’s Good to Talk!” into our lives.
Stress is a natural part of our lives both at home and at work. While a small amount of stress can be motivating, when we don’t effectively manage our stress or talk about our challenges, it can easily become overwhelming and damaging in our lives.
For men, counselling may not be the most effective word when it comes to dealing with stress and other challenges they face but opening up can make a significant difference in all of our lives.
The right professional is there to help you see there are choices on how we live our lives and if you’re interested in changing, they can help you make that change. The choice is yours!
Dominic is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych & Associates. Dominic specializes in working with males, and is experienced in working with those suffering from social anxiety disorder, PTSD, mood disorders, general life stress and workplace stress. Check out his full bio here and reach out through our contact page or our Clinical Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to book an appointment.
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