Overcoming workplace stress – Fear

Working in the ‘frontline’ may be inherently stressful, but there is a point when stress negatively influences us at work, and this may be determined not just by the stressors themselves but also by our resilience to them. If our resilience is eroded over time, or by an impactful event, then the likelihood of absence from work and error causation increases.

Employees in an organisational environment that is undergoing significant change are more likely to experience stressors that bring about a declining resilience. In such an environment, the main causes reported for stress related absence from work, such as work pressure, role ambiguity, role conflict, isolation, lack of managerial support and work-related violence and bullying, are more likely to surface.

A significant workplace stressor we may experience during organisational change is fear. Through our sophisticated neural circuitry our brains determine whether we should be fearful, and allocate an appropriate response.  The psychobiological impact of fear perception is the release of stress hormones, which over time can bring about cognitive, emotional, behavioural and physical changes.

Have a look at these slides on the link below, these are used in our resilience and wellbeing training.

Dr Dee Gray Building a resilient workforce

Why individual and collective wellbeing and resilience may be affected during change is located around the lived experience of uncertainty, as during this time people often develop feelings of having no control over their working lives and become fearful. Helping to re-establish a sense of direction and control is a cornerstone of our resilience and wellbeing training ©, achieved in the first instance by helping people to make ‘sense’ of the environment they find themselves in.

Regaining traction is facilitated by enabling people to gain a ‘Sense of Coherence’ (SoC), and in doing so become resourceful and resilient to the workplace stressors they may face. This view is based on the fact that those who are able to develop an enduring SoC, are, regardless of major stressful situations and severe hardships, able stay well, while others may not.

For those of you who would like to find out more about a SoC have a look at the following references, and if you would like to find out how we can work with you and your teams do get in touch.

Antonovsky, A. (1987). Unravelling the mystery of health – How people manage stress and stay well. San Francisco: Jossey Bass

Becker, C.M., Glascoff ,M.A.  Felts, W.M. (2010) Salutogenesis 30 Years Later: Where do we go from here? International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 2010; 13: 25-32