In certain life situations, stress is inevitable and sometimes – even beneficial.
Be that as it may, the function of stress is to help us avoid danger. However, often experiencing great amounts of stress does not only hinder productivity but also damages health and psychological well-being. Above all, stress can also impede on fluent communication. It is no secret that in the field of communication, there is quite a lot of stress. This may be the reason communication and public relations end up at the top of the most stressful professions. So how should one manage stress for it not to interfere with his/her professional and personal life?
Stress reveals itself in different shapes and forms and affects our behaviour, decision-making, and well-being. High levels of stress can certainly affect communication skills as well. People experiencing a great deal of stress easily get annoyed and angry, and this, of course, also affects their communication with colleagues or clients. Serious challenges to effective communication arise when emotions, instead of a rational mind, take over.
The influence of stress on communication can also manifest in simple alienation, avoidance of teamwork and tasks, and leads to low sociability. This is often difficult to align with the goals in the communication field.
High levels of stress also increase the likelihood of misinterpreting the communication of others. Stress causes us to see all the information we receive as a threat, which can lead to inadequate response and harm decision-making.
Finally, stress can affect public speaking skills, and they are extremely important to communication professionals. A person experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety may simply be afraid to talk in front of a larger audience, and sometimes even in front of a few people. Even if a person dares to speak in front of an audience, it can be difficult for him to express his thoughts, argue and maintain the attention of listeners when being under stress.
So how to avoid stress and its negative effects? Of course, there is no magic spell for it and only consistent work with yourself can be helpful. You should start from the causes of stress: are they lying at work or in personal life? Maybe you can identify particular situations that cause stress? Then you can look for ways how to eliminate these causes or try to change your reaction towards them.
However paradoxical it may sound, one important aspect of coping with stress in communication is… communication! It can often be a major antidote to stress. If the main sources of stress lie at work, you should talk to your supervisors and colleagues about that. In most cases, the inability to admit that you are overworked and the fear of talking about it to your manager are the main causes of stress. Being able to communicate openly with colleagues and supervisors, to express your joys and worries is essential for a healthy work environment. Employers who wish to ensure a good climate in an organisation and create an environment for productive work should also consider this.
It is also good to know how to properly communicate stress. Before talking about stress with your supervisor or colleagues, you should be certain that you are not experiencing too much tension at the time. It can hinder to clearly express your mind. Tension can be reduced by breathing exercises, meditation, muscle relaxation or some physical activities.
The principle of communication also applies to personal relationships. It is always important not to keep worries and tension within yourself, but to express it openly and talk to someone about it.
Another important component in managing stress is a healthy lifestyle and physical activity. Regular physical activities help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, prevent depression. Sometimes a simple walk in the fresh air can help to get rid of stress. A healthy diet, proper work-rest schedule, and adequate attention to sleep can also contribute significantly to managing stress.
Sometimes stress may seem like an inevitable and constant companion of everyday life, but with sincere effort, it can be overcome. Achieving this can allow you to do much more and feel much better. Therefore, fighting stress is truly worthwhile.