Stress Is Everywhere, But Does It Have To Be?

Written by
DaQuall Graham

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Stress is everywhere! Anxiety is everywhere. Stress and anxiety are everywhere! You may have felt stress or anxiety reading these first three sentences! Stress is generally one’s response to external stimuli or threats that goes away when the situation or stimuli or threat is resolved. Anxiety is generally one’s internal reaction to stress and often does not go away, interfering with life even when the stimuli or threat is removed. Stress and anxiety can adversely impact the mind, body, and spirit with feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, or frustration; changes in appetite, energy, desires, and intentions; difficulty concentrating and making decisions; difficulty sleeping or nightmares; physical reactions: headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes; worsening of chronic mental or physical health problems; adverse impact on familial and social relationships; increased use of coping or numbing substances, and more.

A March 2022 poll conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that Americans are in “survival mode” due to reports of high-stress levels caused by the economy, increased prices, the pandemic, societal conflicts, and other world crises like wars, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Managing this overwhelming feeling of global uncertainty and day-to-day tasks can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout, implicating employee morale, productivity, and the company culture.

In the APA’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey of 1,501 U.S. adult workers saw heightened rates of burnout from stress in 2021:

  • 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress in the month before the survey
  • 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%)
  • 36% reported cognitive weariness
  • 32% reported emotional exhaustion
  • 44% reported physical fatigue—a 38% increase since 2019

Some organizational signs of stress are increased reports of stress and being overwhelmed, increased sickness, increased absences, increased staff turnover, and increased complaints or grievances. Some personal signs of stress are frequent and out-of-pattern absenteeism; consistent tardiness; regular statements about being overwhelmed, demotivated, underappreciated, feeling down; decreased productivity and demotivation; adverse impact on morale, cynicism, sarcasm;  displays of anger, outburst, etc.

We may not be able to eliminate all stress from life. Still, we can employ strategies to reduce stress’s impact, which mitigates and possibly eliminates anxiety and burnout caused by stress. Consider the FOUR R’S: RELAX, RECHARGE, RENEGOTIATE, and use RESOURCES to reduce stress.

What relaxes you? Identify relaxation strategies, techniques, practices, activities, or places that relax or might resolve stress for you. Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise, or check in with your support network(s). Spend time outdoors, either being physically active or relaxing. Do things you enjoy during non-work hours regularly. If you work from home, set a regular time to end your work for the day. Consider basic deep breathing, guided breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. Sleep and keep a regular sleep schedule. Be intentional about “taking” time to relax.

Recharge. Electric cars cannot run without recharging, and neither can we. Identify what drains your battery and what charges your battery. What or who charges your battery emotionally, intellectually, environmentally, professionally, and more? Seeking and creating opportunities to connect with people and things that foster and support positive relationships, healthy environments, and feelings of value, trust, connectedness, and respect can shift the attention from the stressors of life to the supporters of life; thereby recharging your battery producing the power to keep moving forward.

Renegotiate. In counseling terms, reframing the situation or circumstance. Renegotiation involves looking at the problem or stressor from multiple angles to identify what is the challenge or fear. Label your thoughts, feelings, fears, and concerns regarding the situation, and then choose resources to help reduce the stress of the threat(s). If the situation can’t be changed, renegotiate (reframe or rethink) it. If the problem persists, renegotiation can look like acceptance. Many people have stress that they may not want to accept, but to move on, they need to. In these cases, it is essential to use resources.

Resources that can help one assess, plan, and act are vital to help reduce stress and anxiety. Resources can include one’s primary care physician, behavioral health specialist, employee assistance programs, emergency room, pastor, family, friends, mentor, teacher, colleagues, etc.

Stress and anxiety may be everywhere, but with relaxation, recharging, renegotiation, and resources, stress and anxiety do not have to be everywhere… in our lives.

For more information on how we can help your organization with training related to stress management or other topics, or for more information on our Finance, HR or IT services,  please reach out to us at 781-235-1490, or email us at

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