Friday, March 22, 2013

Unmanaged Stress Can Be Contagious

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead
us to an understanding of ourselves."
- Carl Gustav Jung     

Do Not Pass Stress and Fatigue On...
Our Wellness Clinic has only been around for 3 months and most of my colleagues has been doing massage for only the same length of time, but I can't help but notice that most of them are already showing signs and symptoms of wear-and-tear. Two already injurred their hands and many of them do not even know about the symptoms of burnouts. Worse, they transmit the stress to those who do not have  it yet, or to those who are managing their own somehow. I was no exception once during the first few years of my practice, I am not immune to it now. I actually have to learn about burnouts the hard way.
The truth about Stress is that we cannot choose whether or not to have it, whether or not to burnout. But we now know through modern research that there are proper ways of managing it. But most of the time we are just too tired to even think about doing something about it. Now imagine being surrounded by people who consume their free time complaining about everything and anything - about their physical and non-physical pain, about their clients, their coworkers, their boss and about other problems they themselves are involved in creating. Sooner or later, even how positive you are, you will end up drained as well - emotionally, mentally and physically - and even as simple as smiling will be unconsciously neglected.
True, Massage Therapy is very good for stress management - for the receiver that is! But on the other side of the equation, the provider can and will experience a lot of stress from years or even just months of giving massage treatments if they themselves do not undergo a certain form of stress management or self-care themselves. And I am not just speaking about physical injuries. I am also referring to the symptoms of burnouts that affects the mind and the spirit.
If you have a coworker with a bad case of negative energy related to burnout, you might unknowingly pick up and internalize his/her tension, says Benjamin Karney, Ph.D., a professor of social psychology at UCLA. When that happens, says Karney, "you may not have the emotional resources to help, and you end up just irritating one another and increasing all of your stress levels."
Research shows that transmitted stress makes for less-satisfying professional relationships, but more important, it can lead to spikes in blood pressure and heart rate, says Tracey A. Revenson, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Catching a case of chronic stress can put you at risk for insomnia, muscle tension, and eventually, cardiac illness. And make your co-workers feel bad themselves and feel bad for you.
Keep your cool by trying not to take other people's stress-fueled actions personally, says Karney. Let them know their anxiety is rubbing off on you and suggest stress-busting activities that will benefit you both. For example, a recent study found that doing word puzzles may reduce stress by 54 percent.
Or, if an office mate's nerves are getting on your nerves, try suggesting a post-work sweat session. Almost nothing beats stress like exercise and massage, which can limit your body's levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In fact, just 20 minutes of moderate activity--walking, hiking, biking--three times a week can help buffer stress; the more often you work out, the bigger the benefits, says Jennifer Hurst, Ph.D., an associate professor of exercise science at Truman State University.
Or better yet, why not schedule a regular massage exchange with each other? Get your dose of the top 4 good hormones from getting massages: Endorphines (Alertness and Analgesic), Dopamine (Satisfaction and Happiness), Serotonin (Rest and Sleep) and Oxytocin (Trust and Bonding). These stuff, you should pass on...
- Leo Feraer-Oporto     

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