Life is LifeingApr 29, 2023
Author: Alicia Wade (Co-Founder at The 5 Minute Career Hack)
It’s Stress Awareness month and life is lifeing. I don't know about you, but the frequency of significant events seems to be ratcheting up weekly.
April 7th, I woke up to 20 missed messages in a GroupMe from my college Sorority chapter because of a message the college security tweeted.
OU-Norman Emergency: There is an active shooter at the Van Vleet Oval. Take immediate action now. Run. Hide. Fight!
It was something about the fight warning, Fight was an entire sentence. This was a command, a solution, the last step. Unfortunately, I understand this is the protocol - run, hide and then fight from one too many active shooter drills, it still felt eerie reading this. Thankfully the alleged active shooter turned out to be confetti cannons and all were safe.
The week prior on 3/30 I missed this email.
At approximately 9:20, an anonymous alert was sent through the district’s app about a student on the GOHS campus with a gun. The Conroe ISD Police Department immediately responded to identify the student and investigate the report. Additional officers were dispatched to the location along with the explosives-sniffing K-9. Campus administration promptly began investigating as well. Within minutes, the student was located with a Ruger .380 in his possession and taken into custody. This will be addressed in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas.
I understand receiving a message like this after the tragedy in Nashville could be upsetting. Weapons have no place in our schools, and it takes all of us to keep our schools safe. We could not be prouder of the student who submitted the anonymous alert. Vigilance and working together are our greatest safety measures.
I can't express how I felt, maybe numb. The day went on, school wasn't canceled the next day, and there was no early release that day. This day became just another day. Unfortunately, for many students, their school wasn't a safe place anymore but a place they needed to be on alert.
In 2023, societal and global factors, such as political unrest, economic uncertainty, and health emergencies, contribute to increased levels of stress for many individuals. However, it's important to note that stress affects everyone differently. A common source of stress is our attachment to our mobile devices. The frequency and speed at which data is shared can be hard to manage.
A few stress management techniques I use are:
- Putting my phone on Do Not Disturb when I intend to retire for the evening.
- Silencing all app notifications.
- Not watch graphic videos of violence.
- Not starting my day with the local news.
- This may seem extreme but here is the catch, despite all these attempts to safeguard my peace... life is still lifeing.
Many of you are digital natives, you have never known a time when there wasn't access to information and people 24-7. So, the thought of unplugging may seem impossible, but it is much needed.
In modern society, being informed is necessary to understand market trends and impacts. The human questions that need answers are. What happens when we become desensitized to emails from our children’s schools, social media posts of violence, and tweets to take cover? When signals that tell us naturally to fight or run began to fade as warnings, we have a bigger problem to solve.
I wish I could tell you to drink tea, practice yoga, implore breathing techniques, or unplug. Instead of giving a list of techniques to apply, I just want you to acknowledge the level of mounting chronic and episodic stress you may be absorbing. Increase your awareness.
Here are some statistics about stress:
1. According to the American Psychological Association, 77% of people in the United States regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress.
2. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 4 adults in the US reported experiencing stress at levels that were considered "high" or "very high".
3. Stress has been estimated to cost US businesses around $300 billion per year in absenteeism, reduced productivity, and healthcare costs.
4. Women are more likely than men to report feeling stressed, with 60% of women reporting stress compared to 45% of men, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.
5. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, the most common sources of stress for Americans are work, money, and relationships.
6. Stress can have serious consequences on a person's health, including an increased risk of heart disease, depression, anxiety, and other chronic illnesses.
There are three main types of stress:
1. Acute Stress: Acute stress is short-term stress that occurs due to specific situations like an argument, a job interview, or a near-miss while driving. Such stress generally goes away soon after the situation is resolved.
2. Episodic Acute Stress: Episodic acute stress is when acute stress becomes a pattern of behavior. Episodic acute stress is usually experienced by people who are disorganized and chaotic in their approach to life. They often feel like they are constantly dealing with one crisis after another.
3. Chronic Stress: Chronic stress is when stress is ongoing and continuous. This is the most harmful type of stress and can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress can arise due to factors like job dissatisfaction, relationship problems, or financial instability.
So, what next? Be aware that just because you don’t feel stressed doesn’t mean you aren’t.
So how will you know?
- Journal and be aware of your thoughts.
- Notice changes in your sleep and eating patterns.
- Monitor your motivation to interact with others.
- Pay attention to your energy level.
Stress can significantly impact an individual's mental and physical well-being. It can lead to a variety of health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, stress can affect work performance and relationships, leading to decreased productivity and increased conflicts.
So, stay aware, and most importantly don’t put your body's warning signs on Do Not Disturb.
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