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Matthew Leitch, Gower author of Intelligent Internal Control and Risk Management, recently collated compelling results on how to successfully manage stress.

Matthew developed a theory explaining how it is uncertainty that causes stress.  Stress isn’t necessarily the result of receiving bad news; rather it is the uncertainty of knowing what action to take in response to the news.  Whether it is good or bad news is inconsequential, all that matters is that it is important news; you are involved emotionally in the outcome.

Stressful situations make us think an extra effort is required from us, but often we don’t know what it is yet.  Before we know what action is required our evolutionary fight and flight response is triggered, in case the extra effort is an immediate, physical one.

This has evolved from our caveman days of needing to run away from predators or say, hunt a Mammoth, but the fight or flight response does not help us with psychological stress, such as a pressured meeting or an important phone call.  Therefore the physical effects of stress e.g. an increased heart rate, muscle tension and burst of adrenaline are unnecessary and unhelpful to modern day psychological stress.  Consequently learning to manage stress is important as it can make a real difference to our happiness and health.

Matthew wrote an interactive stress analyst web page, designed to talk people down from their stressful psychological state.  He did this by reassuring and confirming the person that an immediate, physical action wasn’t required, even if they did not yet know what action they were going to take.

The site trended on Tumblr and received over 40,000 visits in one weekend; Matthew captured the results and found that his approach to managing stress is successful! Unlike other approaches towards reducing stress that distract you from the stress e.g. yoga and meditation, this technique requires you to carry on thinking about the stress.  The results showed that a worthwhile amount of people feel less stressed after completing it, with  38% feeling less stressed , 45% feeling unchanged stress and 17% feeling more stressed.  These results are very impressive for just a few minutes spent clicking on a web page.

A Link to the interactive stress analyst web page:

http://www.relaxonline.me.uk/sa1/index.html

Here is the link to Matthew’s original article on managing Stress; http://www.learningideas.me.uk/stress/index.html

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