People management is one of the most stressful careers a person could choose – it just goes with the job! Expectations are high, there is always too much work to be done with too little resources, one deals with all kinds of emotions and situations within the team. In a nutshell: if you consider taking the people management path and want to be successful then you should forget about your comfort zone.
As you have probably noticed, "Stress Management" has become an increasingly popular topic in the last years. And there's a good reason why! Unfortunately, it's not all about just feeling comfortable – according to a study of the neuroscientists at University of California, Berkeley, long periods of stress might actually cause long-term or even permanent damage to some areas of your brain. Chronic stress leads to anxiety and research shows that up to 60% of anxiety sufferers also suffer from depression (and vice versa). Stress also causes:

• a cascade of 1,400 biochemical events in your body;
• fewer neurons production than normal;
• stronger connectivity between the hippocampus and the amygdala and faster fight-or-flight response.
 
According to the American Institute of Stress around 80% of the workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress. And 42% say their co-workers need such help. Alarmingly, depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide, shows a study of the World Health Organization.
 
You see how all of this could easily become a problem. No one's best wish is to deal with an unstable, anxious and overly unpredictable boss. It is nothing less but scary. And as you know fear is a dead-end street to flight-or-fight (or freeze) mode.
 
From a Leadership perspective stress makes you a lot less effective – it hinders your cognitive and emotional intelligence and suppresses decision making exactly when this is most critical – in stressful, hazardous situations. Henry L. Thompson, author of The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions--And What to Do About It says that: "good leaders make good decisions under stress", but developing the right level of cognitive and emotional resilience to do that requires some effort.
 
Fortunately, there are various practices that one could utilize in order to overcome this. Stay tuned for our future articles in this section, where we will cover the different aspects of stress management in detail and will give you some useful tips to use in specific situations.
 
Best regards,
Nikolay

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