We just celebrated Labor Day to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of workers. For Labor Day weekend many of us attended parties, went to parades, played golf, and feasted on traditional Labor Day backyard barbecues.
Working is one of the major causes of stress
No matter what we were doing to celebrate, most of us appreciate a break from our hectic work lives. Work is one of the major causes of stress for us. Many of us got to enjoy the day off, although 41% of employers had some staff working through the three day weekend.
Stress related topics have always been one of the most popular topics for our DISC Webinars. This is not surprising as most people report feeling more stressed today than ever. Life seems to be getting faster and placing ever-increasing demands on us. And there seems to be no relief in sight. As a result, many of us worry about work-life balance issues, health consequences and trying to figure out how to better manage stress. The day I wrote this, a local church had a front-page newspaper ad promoting their “new massage series” titled: “Not To Do List – Stress Less and Enjoy More!”
Certainly having an overwhelming workload, long working hours, incompetent bosses, or job stability can create stress for anyone. According to a recent study, an amazing 41% of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day in 2015. A whopping 55% of Americans did not use all of their vacation days in 2015. Many people are getting more stressed just reading these statistics!
Stress is part of everyday life
Similarly, we have personal life issues such as illness, marital conflicts, moving, caring for family members, and financial burdens. These can lead to increased stress levels for just about everyone. Stress is part of everyone’s life and hard to avoid.
A common thread among the causes of stress is that we feel they are largely out of our control. We cannot influence whether or not a loved one falls ill. If a boss is not a good leader, there is not much an employee can do except to look for other jobs. Add on more factors, such as the state of the economy and even natural disasters. Our inability to have power over what is happening makes us feel helpless, anxious, and even desperate.
Taking the first step
Fortunately, we can control how we respond to different situations and events. And clearly people react differently as we see too frequently when natural and man-made disasters happen around the world. Nevertheless, once we become aware that we can control our response, it removes at least some of the sense of helplessness and out inability to influence what is happening. We regain some control and it reduces our anxiety and stress level.
Being aware and prepared makes it a lot easier for us to control our responses to what happens to us. Once we are equipped with the knowledge of what causes us stress, we can better manage it.
As we have seen, we do share many common causes of stress. However, our DISC personality style also plays a major role. Many of the stressors are by a large extent influenced by our behavioral styles. In other words, we are unique individuals and we will respond differently to different situations. What is stressful for one person can actually be very exhilarating and motivating for another one.
Consequently, we need to understand that if we want to better manage stress, we need to be keenly self-aware to understand how our own DISC style influences what types of events, situations, and people are more likely to cause us stress. Otherwise, we lack the knowledge to able to anticipate, prepare and respond to different stressors.
Awareness is also critical in gaining better control of stressful situations. We often fail to realize that our own behavior makes things worse. Once we start feeling stressed, we tend to let emotions to take over. Then we are less likely to think about how we should modify our behavior to improve the outcomes.
Obviously, when we are oblivious to how we should modify behavior, we are not going to adjust our style. It creates a downward spiral that often does not end well. By remaining aware and in control of our responses, we can reverse the spiral. If we slow down just a bit, think about how to adjust our style to improve the results, we gain control and power over what is taking place. Yes, it does take energy and effort, but the short-term gain will produce a long-term gain.
As we quickly review the causes of stress for the DISC-styles, please remember that we are all are a combination all of the four styles.
Causes of stress for D-styles
If you are a D-style, you want freedom, independence and to be in control. As a result, situations and environments where you feel restricted and not able to take charge are demotivating and stressful to you. Once you encounter situation like this, focus on the big picture, your quantifiable goals and do not get trapped in power struggles that can be attempting, as they appear to provide opportunities for immediate “wins”.
Causes of stress for I-styles
As an I-style, losing of influence, being sidelined, restrictions on flexibility, and lack of social acceptance are quite stressful to you. Also, situations where you must focus on very detail-oriented tasks with limited interactions with others will drain you. When this occurs, look for opportunities to move, meet people, and interact. However, do not forget to practice self-discipline to remain organized. Otherwise more stressful times await you in the near future.
Causes of stress for S-styles
Like for other stable and laid back S-style, unexpected changes, unstructured situations and surprises can create anxiety and stress for you. If things are running smoothly now, you perceive changes unnecessary interruptions that may create more work for you in the short-term. Take a deep breath and do not allow yourself to feel overwhelmed. Reflect how you have overestimated the amount of work involved in the past and remind yourself that you always execute consistently and get things done. Don't forget to delegate. Others will help you.
Causes of stress for C-styles
If you are a C-style, lack of accurate information, unclear roles, and absence of rules and guidelines are stressful to you. You are likely to feel anxious because you know that it is not possible to make the right decisions reliably when they must be based on intuition only. Try to let go of perfection, as it is rarely attainable. Above all, give yourself a permission to make mistakes. As you know, everyone else makes them as well. Finally, when you make a mistake, learn from them quickly, and then let them go. Replaying them in your mind will only cause you more stress.
Thoughts to Remember
Being self-aware and understanding that how your DISC style impacts what causes you stress will not eliminate it. However, it will give you more control over it. So, know your DISC and manage your stress. And take more time off to have recharge your batteries to have the energy to modify your behavior. Learn more tips on managing stress in our Managing Stress for the Different DISC Styles Managing Stress for the Different DISC Styles Webinar