Many of Australia’s successful professionals look like they have it all, but with long working hours, pressuring deadlines and high stakes, they feel stressed to their limits. Stress – whether occupational, relational or emotional – is a significant contributor to a lack of feelings of contentment and diminished wellbeing, as evidenced by research.
Stress sabotages high performance
Many of Australia’s successful professionals look like they have it all, but with long working hours, constant deadlines and high stakes, they feel stressed to their limits. Stress – whether occupational, relational or emotional – is a significant contributor to a lack of feelings of contentment and diminished wellbeing, as evidenced by research.
Health the first to slip as result of stress
Participants reported a huge variation in concentration, interest and psychomotor skills during a period of high emotional or occupational stress. As expected, there were also noticeable changes in feelings of fatigue, appetite and sleep disturbance.
A balancing act: the pros and cons of stress
Peter Hayton is the senior psychologist and Clinical Director at The Banyans Health and Wellness. “At first, having stress around isn’t a bad thing for most people: it encourages us to complete our necessary tasks,” Peter suggests. “We can all relate to the benefits of healthy, stress-induced adrenaline when we are approaching a deadline.”
But having outstayed it’s welcome, stress can be like an unwanted companion that you can’t quite get rid of. It is holding you back, using up your resources, and sabotaging your life.
When stress begins to sabotage
Further, Peter explains how some people describe feeling stressed as being like experiencing a different persona, in which they are not their “real self”. Rather, they feel like they become someone who is easily aggravated, distracted and emotionally distant from their friends, colleagues and loved ones.
When the stress is prolonged, these traits may eventually begin to feel embedded in their personality. “Unfortunately, this often leads to relational difficulties, work tension and can lead people to feel like they are slipping out of control in many areas of life.”
Prolonged stress can lead to depression, says Psychologist
“It is not a coincidence that the symptoms reported by the participants in the study are also major indicators of burnout or perhaps high functioning depression,” reflects Peter. This is supported by statistics reporting that the incidence of depression is up to 7 times more likely in groups experiencing serious or prolonged stressors [iii].
“For many high performing individuals in particular, a busy and highly demanding lifestyle combined with social stigma can lead them to neglect their own self-care,” Peter says. “Therefore, some people are struggling in silence, believing that many of their symptoms are normal or perhaps not important enough for professional help.”
WHO shares prevalence of conditions to encourage support seeking
The World Health Organisation quotes that mental health conditions such as mood disturbance, depression and burnout affect over three hundred million people globally.
“Burnout, stress and difficulties controlling anger or frustration are extremely prevalent. Each is an extreme variation of our natural psychological responses,” Peter offers.
“These are areas of our lives where the right therapeutic and social support can foster some powerful change,” he encourages.
Effects of stress sabotage healthy body and mind
It is important to be proactive about seeking support as stress can sabotage a healthy mind and body.
- Lack of sleep inhibits your body’s natural recovery processes, and has been shown to contribute to a variety of follow on effects such as high blood pressure, headaches and unregulated hormone production;
- Poor diet or appetite means that you are not receiving the nutrients you need to fuel your mind and body – resulting in reduced concentration, lethargy and physical discomfort;
- Decreased focus or concentration can threaten your safety as you go about your life and work, but will also impair your job performance, patience for others and motivation to engage in activities;
- Emotional sensitivity is a common indicator that we are feeling fatigued. Often this is reflected in feeling angry, irritable or impatient, which can contribute to relational or occupational difficulties;
- Some people can search for escape mechanisms such as alcohol or illicit drugs to numb the looming pressure or help them relax at the end of the day. Ultimately, these do not provide satisfaction, and can have extremely detrimental health effects – such as impaired liver function, heart damage and reduced metabolic processing.
Are you at risk of chronic stress or burnout?
The Banyans have created a short downloadable quiz to help you decide if you may be at risk of chronic stress or burnout. Download your free PDF quiz today.
The good news is that you don’t need to sacrifice your success in order to restore your health and wellness. “It is more than possible to find a healthy balance in your life,” reassures Peter. “You have worked so hard to get to where you are and you deserve to enjoy the benefits of your labour and effort – not be sabotaged by stress.”
The Banyans offers Performance Packages for high achieving professionals
Chronic stress and burnout can rob you of your passion for life, especially in your workplace. You may feel like control is slipping from your fingers, and the success you have worked so hard to gain is at risk.
The Banyans understands, and offers a way for you to invest in yourself before it’s too late. A Performance Package at The Banyans Health and Wellness can help provide you with the time, tools and treatment to recover from chronic stress and return to life with fresh motivation and confidence.
Located in the surrounds of South East Queensland, our luxury facility is highly confidential, with highly qualified physicians and mental health professionals. If you would like to step out of the shadow of stress and fatigue, begin the journey by submitting an non-obligatory enquiry below, or calling our team on +61 1300 BANYAN (+61 1300 226 926).
[iii]Moore, S., Sikora, P., Grunberg, L. and Greenberg, E. (2007). Expanding the Tension-Reduction Model of Work Stress and Alcohol Use: Comparison of Managerial and Non-Managerial Men and Women. Journal of Management Studies, 44(2), pp.261-283.