Blog-watch: the impact of stress

I get stressed far too easily and I’ve found that my stress levels correlate with poor performance in the gym as well as mental fog and all the usual things that I expect from high stress days.  It’s worth noting though that I don’t often suffer from poor sleep when stressed, I just wake up after a long night of sleep as exhausted as I was when I went to sleep.

Try to find some time and a special place to release the stress

Since I last went through a stressful period at work I’ve collected together a few select articles about stress, in particular articles about how these impact on training and diet.  If you have a tendency to get stressed then take a moment to read through these articles and see if they ring as true for you as they did for me.

  • I’m going to start with an oldie.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban is a fantastic site since it specialises in reproducing old magazine articles about lifting and can therefore give you a “new” perspective in the modern age.  Sometimes the old information is the most reliable since it was built up over long periods of time and is firmly grounded in experience.  I like the fact that the articles are so well-written as well.  Recently they reproduced “Training during periods of stress” by Tom E. Kakonis.  A few of the examples are a bit outdated, but the observations of the different ways people may go with their diet and training when under stress are spot on and may help you recognise the signs earlier.
  • A few months ago the same site featured an article entitled “The Mental Approach”, originally written by John Grimek in 1961.  The article isn’t actually about stress but concentrates on how your mental state can affect your performance in the gym.  So why is it relevant to this blog-watch?  Simple because when you are really stressed you are rarely in the right mental zone to perform well and poor performance can make the stress worse.  A reminder that if you start on this downwards spiral then a rest week or two may be a good place to start.
  • Next up is an article from Patrick Ward.  Patrick explores the idea that we actually have a finite resource at any one time for stress.  When we are mentally chilled we can place more physical stress on our body.  When we are going through mental or emotional upheaval we need to reduce the physical stress we place on our bodies.  I really liked this concept and it certainly rang true for me.
  • If we’re going to deal with this stress issue then we ought to spend a bit of time thinking about what is causing it.  Take a moment and think about it.  What is really causing your stress?  You can’t solve the problem until you identify it and start addressing the root causes.  Here’s a piece from Dan Pallotta on the Harvard Business Review about how we can convince ourselves that work is causing the stress but that our mindset may actually be what is making work stressful.  Chris suggested that I put this quote from the article on my partition wall at work:

    “Worry isn’t work. Being stressed out isn’t work. Anxiety isn’t work. Entertaining a sense of impending doom isn’t work. Incessant internal verbal punishment isn’t work. Indulging the great unknown fear in your own mind isn’t work. Hating yourself isn’t work.”

  • Once you’ve identified what is causing your stress you’ll need to work on getting control of those problematic factors.  In the meantime, here are 100 ways to help overcome stress.  Some are perhaps a little more helpful than others although you’re bound to find something on the list to help you.

I hope you found a few of these links as useful as I did.  Do you have any special tips on other ways you’ve found to deal with stress?


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