Stress is the number one factor in illness, absenteeism, low productivity and enjoyment of a cohesive, harmonious atmosphere at the workplace and at home.
A stressed person at work will carry their stress with them home, severely impacting their family life. A stressed mother will quickly lose patience with her children for small things such as a plate left on the table, a pair of socks on the floor or a bad note.
A stressed mother will respond to these otherwise common events as to a threat perceived by her surviving mechanism, already overloaded from work, and will cause her to overreact.
The subjects to her out of control behaviour – her children – will, at their turn, suffer an emotional stress, which will cause them to apprehend the return of their mother home, or anything related – from socks to plates or bad notes. Their perception would be greatly altered and they would evaluate their mother’s reaction as the result of “their fault”. On top of the mother’s blames, they will blame themselves for their mother’s condition, which could be anything from a nerves crisis to a headache, or in the longer term, a physical or psychological illness.
With this unbalanced emotional state, they will unconsciously carry their mother’s stress, which by now became theirs, to school, full of apprehension of another bad note. Their attention, their school results and extracurricular activities will be compromised.
To protect themselves from this emotional pain, children, as adults, will choose subconsciously an indirect form of defence: either an illness or an aggressive behaviour marked by avoidance of any emotional circumstance that may cause them pain.
This fires back at the stressed mother, adding yet another layer of stress. In time, this will become anxiety, manifested either under the more socially accepted forms of a physical illness or as a long-term series of small accidents at work or at home.
Once this mechanism is present, the affected person will choose one of the two subconscious responses: passive employee and mother/wife, or a more aggressive one, which in both cases will eventually lead to both physical and mental illness.
The stressed mother will perceive, at her turn, the situation as a failure from her part to cope with family and social life, which will further deepen her emotional turmoil.
Whether the mother or spouse will be covered by the social health-care system or by a private health insurance, it will not prevent further episodes. Their health cover will not be able to address the destructive effects of their stress on the whole society at large, on the quality of family life and in the work environment.
Even if their medical bills would be covered, their attitude, both pre and post medical leave would still affect their productivity, the quality of the work they deliver and their colleagues with which they share the workspace.
We all know how uncomfortable and unpleasant it is to be confined for a whole day in a small space such as an office, in the presence of an unhappy, grumpy and ill-tempered individual.
Their psychological state will affect the team and themselves. In self-defence, the other members will either react “in kind”, or will congregate, excluding the affected one.
This social rejection will, in turn, exacerbate the stress, the anxiety and the emotional responses of the sufferer to the point of complete loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, and of the esteem and confidence of those surrounding them.
The sufferer then identifies with the effects of their stress-provoked behaviour, ending up severely depressed or seriously ill.
This whole negative emotional spiral was in fact caused by the initial stressor – either from home, brought to the workplace and then exacerbated, or from work to home and then increased throughout the feedback reaction response above demonstrated.
The truth is that “stress” is not just one thing. It is a monster with as many heads as the number of the human interactions.
The reason the treatment of stress, anxiety, depression and all psychosomatic illnesses cannot provide relief with a permanent result, is because we cannot treat stress and the conditions mentioned. They are but a symptom of a deeper condition, and as long as the cause is not addressed, treating the symptoms will be a never-ending process deemed to failure.
Stress, anxiety, physical or mental illness, absenteeism, low productivity, bad temper and all devious social behaviours are just symptoms of the same cause: lack of emotional and mental education into a person’s qualities and abilities when interacting with their fellow human beings.
An employer inherits all the family conditions of their employees, the same way as every family inherits all the work conditions brought home by their members.
The school inherits the same dynamics as an employer, and the family inherits the school conditions the same way they inherit those from the workplace.
This situation is more dangerous than currently evaluated.
While most employers have put stress programmes in place, they provide little to no relief because they address the symptom and not the whole picture, the cause.
The psychological, behavioural models and several techniques invented out of thin air, through ridiculous role-play and team-building – from team sports to pottery and cookery classes – only work as a palliative, like a painkiller treating a headache, like antidepressants attempting to treat depression and mood swings.
One single person unaware and unprepared emotionally and mentally for conscious and deliberate responses in front of the ocean of stimuli we are swimming in each day has the same effect of a virus’ cell entering into contact with a healthy host. The virus cell will feed on its host until its host turns into the virus.
A stressed mother from work will infect her family; her children will infect their peers and teachers with their unbalanced energy and need for care and attention not found home. The colleagues will be disrupted, the teacher will be asked to provide more than teaching, causing the well-known exhaustion of teachers, which will back-fire in return on their performance and teaching approach.
The husband of the work-stressed woman will suffer from both sexual and emotional frustration, causing him to look outside the marriage for understanding and emotional fulfilment, often jeopardising both, his work performance as well as his family life. In return, his induced behaviour will back-fire on his wife, which will feel betrayed and abandoned, causing her extra emotional and mental stress which she will carry to work, in her attempt “to at least hold on to the only place of security” she thinks she has: her job and her salary.
Her perception of what is just and what not would be severely impaired, often leading to prolonged work absence, all the way to litigations with her employer on various grounds on which she will not be wrong completely.
But even in the case of a win from her part, finding another employer would not address her real cause. She will carry both, the initial state and the new negative attitude formed, in an attempt to prevent similar situations and further emotional pain. Her attitude will be more assertive, sometimes too assertive to the point of not allowing for concessions we all need to make from time to time when living with others. This emotional rigidity will then cause further isolation. When before the woman was isolated for her “weakness”, now she will cause her isolation through her “strength”, which will cause others to feel just the way she felt in the previous scenario.
From victim, one becomes a perpetrator.
The much-disputed “ego”, in both psychology and spirituality, is nothing but the result of these unconscious self-preserving attitudes one develops to survive in the social jungle.
The health system then, in charge socially for dealing with dis– ease suffered by the members of this society, is itself, victim and perpetrator.
Victim through he pandemic number of the sufferers and the overburdening of doctors with a greater number of patients, leading many doctors to abandon the system or refusing to go to areas where they are most needed, such as the countryside.
Perpetrator, through its oblivious and rigid approach dictated by some few in charge of making decisions which will affect us all:
- The care providers through overload, which leads to the exact condition they are supposed to address: stress;
- The care-receivers – the patients, through a superficial treatment relying on pharmaceuticals as a cheaper, quick solution, which in the end will backfire in more than one way. Firstly, through the long-term development of side effects not studied properly. Secondly, through fostering the patient’s ignorance into their functions, encouraging dependence on the system rather than self-responsibility for their health.
- The employer through the increased cost and financial burden caused by its employees;
- The tax-payer and the society at large, through the financial burden resulting from this ever-growing chain reaction.
There is only one major winner in the whole scheme: the pharmaceutical industry, which gives the impression of providing the answer to the social disease when in reality it only promotes it. The more disease, the greater its share price.
Attempting to treat a symptom is the recipe for failure. Addressing the cause will guarantee relief from all related symptoms, the return to homeostasis, and ultimately, to a better quality of life in all areas: family, work, school and society.
An employer investing in the ground-braking mental, emotional and spiritual education I propose will reap unprecedented benefits in both financial and human resources aspects.
Every employer knows too well that if their employees perform at half their capacity, they will be the ones to suffer the consequences: decreased productivity, lower profits and higher expenditures for the replacement and training of interims. Not to mention the level of stress the employers have to endure when faced with these escalating issues, which at their turn will back-fire following the same pattern of emotional pain avoidance and self-preserving mechanism.
The higher the status and responsibility, the greater the stress level and the greater the avoidance of emotional conflict or pain. This leads many to find refuge in work, drugs or alcohol and many other social obscure behaviours to deal with their unresolved emotional pain concealed behind an apparent lack of emotions, which will further isolate them from both their employees and their family.
Often is the case that a higher status individual with a higher degree of responsibility, is forced to chose one side from which he can control at least one aspect of the situation. And many choose the socially admired status to the sacrifice of personal or family harmony. Themselves, in their turn, are victims and perpetrators.
Victim of their choice, and perpetrators against those who show emotions which themselves had to sacrifice.
Educating both sides: employer and employees, school teachers and families, health carers and patients into the science of spiritual self-awareness is the only solid short and long-term solution to progress, health, happiness and wealth, as an individual and as a species, and CWS Coaching* has the unique tools to respond to these demands.
COPYRIGHT GRATIELA M. ROSU