Summary of “Combat Stress” – article in the April/May ATL magazine, Report.
Consequences of stress
- Stomach upsets
- Chest pain
- Reduce in confidence
- Impairment in decision-making
- Significant impact on cognition
What happens to our brains when we get stressed?
- “Every time we’re stressed, the emotional part of our brain is triggered and is on full alert. When it’s on full alert, it switches off the neocortex. This means you cannot learn, reason, understand or make decisions.”
Ways to bring down stressful feelings
- Mindful breathing
- Finding your own way to calm down, e.g. doing something you enjoy doing
- Replace negative thoughts with “I can do this” or “I’ll focus on one thing at a time”
- This is why I personally make lists – almost to the point of obsession!
- Congratulate yourself when you tick something off
- Get enough sleep
- Cut down on sugar and eat as healthily as you can
- But treat yourself to the odd chocolate/wine/etc. every so often
- ATL has a number of courses about mindfulness and resilience
- These traits are as valuable for staff as they are for students
Key message: “Small changes to work patterns can really make a difference to how members feel about their working lives”.