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11 Behavioural symptoms of stress

Like most problems; the sooner you spot stress the easier it is to manage. It pays to be familiar with the many different symptoms of stress. The symptoms of stress fall into many different categories e.g. behavioural, physical, emotional, psychological etc. Over the coming weeks I shall be discussing each of these, however, this week I shall begin with the behavioural symptoms of stress.

Stress can affect behaviour in many different ways but the following tend to be the most common behavioural symptoms of stress.

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Behavioural symptoms of stress

1. Sleeping difficulties

behavioural symptoms of stress insomnia

Sufferers of stress often find it difficult to switch off. With no activity to distract them, negative thinking, anxieties and worries take over the mind. Fear of having forgotten something and negative expectations of forthcoming events (e.g. interview, presentation) limits the ability to relax sufficiently to fall asleep. Sleep shortage and insomnia are often tell-tale signs of stress.

 2. Lack of punctuality

behavioural symptoms of stress poor punctuality

Timekeeping is one of the first things to suffer when an individual becomes stressed. They may take too many tasks on; try to avoid tasks and thus leave them until the last minute or they may be so overcome with worry/anxiety that they become forgetful. In order to remedy the situation, they must first identify why their punctuality is so poor.

 3. Absenteeism

behavioural symptoms of stress absenteeism

Stressed individuals tend to regularly miss work. They may be trying to avoid a difficult situation or they may be suffering the consequences of one of their coping mechanisms e.g. alcohol.

 4. Withdrawal

behavioural symptoms of stress withdrawal

Withdrawal is a common behavioural symptom of stress. The individual’s self-esteem and confidence may have taken a hit and as a consequence, they may no longer feel capable of coping with social situations. In order to protect their fragile confidence, they may choose to avoid all such situations.

 5. Exhaustion

behavioural symptoms of stress exhaustion

If we are to maximise our energy, one of the most important things for us to do is to balance our physical energy. There will be times when we are required to work at our maximum output for sustained periods. In order to do this we must implement periods of deep rest which enables both our body and mind to recover. Failure to do so can eventually result in burnout and chronic fatigue. The stressed individual may feel like they are constantly running from one emergency to another and thus fail to take the time to rest and recuperate. Constant fatigue is often a sign that someone is overwhelmed and experiencing stress.

 6. Addictive/excessive behaviour

behavioural symptoms of stress addictive behaviour

Those experiencing stress often don’t realise that it is stress which they are experiencing. Where they do realise this, they often have no idea how to deal with stress.  This can result in short term solutions which, though they have a temporary impact, have damaging long-term consequences. One of the most common coping mechanisms for dealing with difficulty is alcohol. While alcohol can have temporary benefit, it can be highly addictive and it fails to resolve the situation. Other coping mechanisms include smoking, illegal and prescription drugs.

 7. Unhealthy eating habits

behavioural symptoms of stress unhealthy eating

Comfort food is often sought as a solution to stressful situations. Indulging in convenience foods can make you feel better temporarily and saves time, however, these foods are rich in salt, sugar and fat which can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and heart related illnesses.

While we associate comfort eating with stress, some people have the opposite response to stressful situation i.e. they avoid eating. They may be experiencing a suppressed appetite, they may have developed a negative self image or they may have developed negative associations with food. Whatever the reason, the consequences of food avoidance can be every bit as devastating as the consequences of food indulgence.

 8. Risk-taking behaviour

behavioural symptoms of stress risk

A sudden development of risk taking behaviour can be a clear sign of stress. Individuals may be experiencing a low sense of self-worth or a lack of excitement in their lives.  They need a ‘buzz’ in their life and are willing to take bigger risks in order to get that buzz. Unfortunately, they level of risk they need to take to get the ‘buzz’ may increase steadily over time. They fail to see that as the risk gets bigger, so too do the potential consequences. Gambling is a common behavioural symptom of stress, which falls within this category.  Certain extreme sports and reckless driving are some of the other symptoms of stress which may fall under risk-taking behaviour.

 9. Accidents

behavioural symptoms of stress accident

Concentration tends to suffer greatly when one experiences stress.  In certain work places (generally more manual industries) this may result in a high number of accidents both fatal and non-fatal. Along with reduced concentration, the individual may also be overworked, poorly trained, displaying risk-taking behaviour or denied sufficient rest periods; all of which may be contributory factors in the stress.

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 10. High turnover in the workplace

behavioural symptoms of stress high turnover

Stressed employees are generally unhappy in their work situation. Sadly, many workplaces have not put the necessary training and procedures in place which would allow the employee to discuss their experience with their manager so that they may work together to find a solution. Rather than raise the issue, many stressed employees will choose to seek employment elsewhere.

 11. Suicidal talk or behaviour

behavioural symptoms of stress suicidal

Stress can diminish an individual’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth to the point where they feel that they cannot go on. In many such cases we do not get the opportunity to help the individual but in some cases they do drop subtle hints of their intentions. There are courses, such as ASIST, which can help to improve your chances of spotting these signs and intervening.

If you feel that you may be experiencing stress, check out Stress Free Living.

Many people feel too embarrassed or ashamed to openly discuss their experiences with stress. It is, therefore, essential that we familiarise ourselves with the behavioural symptoms of stress so that we may be able to identify what they are going through and remind them that the channels of communication are open and that we were willing to help them, or help them find more suitable help. You may in fact be experiencing stress yourself. It may be helpful to regularly remind yourself of the behavioural symptoms of stress so that you can identify it early and take appropriate action.

The 80/20 Principle…

I am a firm believer in the 80/20 principle.

It tells us that approx. 80% of our results come from approx. 20% of our actions.

The percentages are not always such but they are always heavily skewed in a manner which tells that very few of our actions produce most of our outcomes.

This tells us two things:

  1. We need to dedicate more time, energy and attention to the people and actions which produce the best outcomes for us.
  2. Most of our actions, and the people in our lives add very little, if any value to our lives.

If you think about the second point, you could cut out most of the actions and people from your life and your life would improve.

Less is more when the less is the stuff that really matters.

If you are like the average person, the following is probably true for you:

  • You spend too much time doing things which don’t need to be done
  • You spend too much time doing things which others should be doing
  • You spend too much time doing things because others want you to do them
  • You don’t spend enough time on the things which bring you the best results and most joy and happiness
  • You give too much time and attention to people who don’t add real value to your life
  • You don’t give enough time to the people who add the most value to your life

How much better would your life be if you sorted all that out?

There are 2 key steps to doing so and; you can make a start on both simultaneously.

  1. Identify the actions and people which bring the most joy and happiness into your life and dedicate more time to them.
  2. Make that time available by decluttering your life and removing the actions and people which add little or no joy and happiness to your life.

People forget about the importance of decluttering but the 80/20 principle also tells us that 5% of the people in your life will contribute about 50% of the people-related problems.

The same is likely true for actions and possessions.

So, start decluttering your life today and reap the rewards.

If you need help decluttering, this great resource will help.

Characteristics of a Bad Leader

Characteristics of a Bad Leader

We have all been on the receiving end of bad leadership and that in itself is not a bad thing because we can learn from it. What is most important is to understand the underlying forces at work in bad senior leaders.

Much has been written to tell us about the “top traits of a bad boss” or “how to deal with an awful boss.” There is some great information here that should not be ignored and the ideas presented in them help us understand the “bad boss.” But they are generally focused on failing junior and middle-level leaders and managers.

Senior leaders who are bad at leading, bring a significant dimension of trouble in an organization. While this may be obvious on the surface of the statement, what leads to it may not seem so clear.

There are three crucial factors that are at play with understanding the success or failure of a senior leader: 1) Senior Leader Character, 2) Leadership Style, and 3) their Followers.

Senior Leader Character: Many senior leaders fail because they do not have a calling to leadership. This is a lack of passion. They also rely on their own skills to do everything and are generally blind to their inadequacies and drive. Frequently they see their position in terms of privilege and power (although they don’t admit it), and will ignore the advice of others. They are essentially unprepared for leadership and are unwilling to be held accountable for their conduct.

Leadership Style: Bad senior leaders also fail to have the proper vision or any vision at all for their organization. Vision must be methodically established and pursued on behalf of the organization … not as a response to competitors, organization problems, or personal factors. The strategic vision also helps to determine leadership style because it must be pursued vigorously. Those senior leaders who pursue a vision for the wrong reasons (e.g., personal gain) will be more inclined to value employee obedience over creativity.

Their Followers: Leadership involves the interplay between the skills of the leader, the needs of the organization, and the demands of the business. Employees/followers will act according to these factors by accepting or rejecting a leader and following the senior leader willfully or mechanically. People look for leadership and guidance, and when not provided, will react to reject those in leadership positions.

There have been a number of 360-degree feedback surveys in Fortune 500 companies and the results published. The results are helpful and are indicative of the issues discussed. Here are just a few examples of bad leaders:

  • Lack of direction (improper or no vision)
  • Lack of energy and enthusiasm (no passion)
  • Have poor judgement (poor decision-making processes)
  • Don’t collaborate (sees no need to enlist the assistance of others)
  • Resist new ideas (obedience is valued over creativity and hard work)
  • Lack interpersonal skills (also unwilling to improve social skills)
  • Don’t develop others (interested for themselves, not others)

Recognizing that the characteristics of a bad senior leader as the product of all three factors (Senior Leader Character, Leadership Style, and Followers), helps us understand better how to put solutions in place. Leaders must be aware of this to begin putting the organization on the right track for future survival.

 

THE BRAND NEW YOU KICKSTARTER

The Brand New You Kickstarter

Happiness and true success in life comes from being true to who you are.

It is difficult to believe that when advertising keeps telling us that we are insufficient and thus, we need whatever product it is they are selling us.

But you really can live your life from the inside out.

Identify your purpose and be determined to pursue it.

Live true to your values so that whatever the outcomes you experience, you can be confident and comfortable that you made the right decisions.

Build your self-esteem to the point where you love and respect yourself; even when things are not going your way.

And, have the confidence to pursue any goal or objective, knowing in your heart and soul that you really can achieve it.

This isn’t just a pipe dream.

You will be at your happiest and most successful when you choose to live your life from the inside out.

You can start to take charge of your life and live from the inside out with the Brand New You Kickstarter.

But you need to take advantage of this offer before time runs out:

The Brand New You Kickstarter

TACTICAL DISPOSITIONS

To secure ourselves against defeats lies in our own hands but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself…. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat…
 
Security Against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive….. He who cannot conquer takes the defensive…
💪💪💪💪💪
 
STOP BEING DEFENSIVE, MANEUVER DIRECT AND INDIRECT TO WITHSTAND THE BRUNT OF THE ENEMY’S ATTACK AND REMAIN UNSHAKEN…
 
GOOD NIGHT GOOD PEOPLE…🤔🤔

PATH TO SUCCESS

Your path to success is something which you must create for yourself. Nobody else can really tell you what will make you happy and; nobody can tell you the best way for you to go about creating the life you really want.

You must decide your own destination and create your own path for getting there i.e. your path to success. You path to success should be narrow and direct; requiring as few actions as possible while eliminating a great deal of the stress, frustration and conflict which comes with performing tasks which add no real value to your life.

IF ONLY….

If Only…
A prayer was held in our nation,
Beauty was seen in more ways than one,
Children who are lost could find their salvation,
Death was slain and torture was done.

If Only…
Earth was awakened after years of endurance,
Forgotten feelings were rekindled anew,
God was man’s only path and assurance,
Hope was the foundation of the world we knew.

If Only…
I knew more stories than those that were told,
Joy was a plague, and peace a disease,
Knowledge was worth more than silver and gold,
Love was sacred and endless as the seas.

If Only…
Miracles were seen more than daylight,
Never was replaced with forever,
Our eyes could see through the dark of the night,
Passion lived in us more than ever.

If Only…
Questions were answered, and answers were questioned,
Roses were pure and without thorns,
Sadness received only love and affection,
The empty knew why it was they were born.

If Only…
Us as a nation would join hands in song,
Victory was a gift to the humble,
When tears were shed, the earth felt strong,
Exalted men would fall and crumble.

If Only…
You and I would last forever.

If Only…

KHAT-MIRAA/MUGUKA (FINAL PART)

Khat and the law
On 24 June 2014 khat becomes a Class C drug which means it is illegal to have or to supply khat.
It is also be an offense to bring khat into the country, so if you’ve been abroad to a country where khat is legal you cannot bring it back to the UK with you.

Khat fact sheets are available in Amharic, Arabic, English, Somali and Swahili for information on the reasons for the ban, penalties for possession, and where to go for advice and support.  They can be used  by individuals and local, voluntary or other organizations working in health, prevention, social care and law enforcement. 

What if you’re caught?

If the Police catch you with khat, they’ll always take some action. This could include a penalty notice, a formal caution, or arrest and possible conviction.
If you are caught with khat (called possession) you could be arrested and face up to two years in prison and/or get an unlimited fine. If you are caught dealing or supplying (and that could just mean giving some to your mates) you could get up to 14 years in jail and/or get an unlimited fine. 

A conviction for a drug-related offense could have a serious impact. It could make it harder, even impossible, to visit certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

Similar Synthetic Drugs

The two intoxicants in the plant are cathinone and cathine. They are similar to but milder than amphetamine. In the last several years, synthetic forms of this drug have become popular and dangerous. Synthetic cathinones are very often the types of drugs found in “bath salts.” They are far stronger in their synthetic forms. Mephedrone, methylone, methcathinone and MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone) are all illicit synthetic drugs in this class.

Addiction Doesn’t Always Involve an Illegal Drug

There are plenty of people who are addicted to substances that can be purchased legally. Alcohol, for example, is legal for an adult to purchase. A person abusing inhalants can become addicted to common household chemicals. And in other cases, it takes time for a drug to be outlawed in a state or country, once its dangerous properties are recognized. Therefore, khat use 

Did you know?

  • Like drinking and driving, driving while under the influence of drugs is illegal – with some drugs you can still be unfit to drive the day after using. You can get a heavy fine, be disqualified from driving or even go to prison.
  • Allowing other people to supply drugs in your house or any other premises is illegal. If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a club they can potentially  prosecute the landlord, club owner or any person concerned in the management of the premises.

Discussion

Our qualitative study identified that khat is commonly used by members of the Australian Somali community, particularly men, and that participants’ views about the links between khat use and personal health varied regarding its benefits and harms. Use is linked to community networks and cultural traditions, and may also be associated with existing high levels of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder) among displaced refugee communities.

Large quantities of khat need to be consumed in order to achieve a “high”. The fresh leaves preferred by khat users contain a higher ratio of cathinone to the less psychoactive cathine, and are usually sourced from local trees. Dried khat is usually imported into Australia from Kenya or Ethiopia. The effects that were seen as positive (increased energy, elevated mood, reduced appetite) and the adverse effects (sleep and mood disorders, poor appetite, constipation) commonly reported by participants were consistent with the weak psychostimulant properties of the active components of khat. Some participants also identified a negative impact on psychosocial functioning and relationships, although more severe drug-induced psychosis or violence were reported to be uncommon. Participants suggested that when it occurs it is not a direct effect of the drug; we suggest that such behaviour may be due to the effects (or discontinuation effects) of khat.

The concurrent consumption of large volumes of sugary drinks and sweets to counteract the bitter taste of khat, coupled with reduced appetite and poor nutrition, is likely to contribute to poor oral health.

Overwhelmingly, participants in this study incorrectly believed that khat was harmless or possibly beneficial for a range of medical complaints. There were a number of instances where perceived effects contradicted the evidence — for example, reports that khat was useful in treating diabetes. Such reports may arise from the appetite suppressant effects of khat, yet are in contrast to the limited evidence suggesting that khat may increase blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The concurrent consumption of sweet food and drink may also contribute to the development of diabetes. Further, the belief that khat use increases libido and fertility contradicts the limited evidence that long-term use of khat may reduce sperm count, volume and motility.

Difficulties in detecting and responding to health problems associated with khat use may be compounded by poor health literacy and poor utilisation of health services by people who use khat, different cultural understandings of the role of khat as a drug, stigma regarding disclosure of khat use to health care providers, and low awareness among health practitioners of khat use, its effects, and the health issues affecting refugees.

Those experiencing adverse effects are most likely to access general health services complaining of specific symptoms (eg, sleep or mood problems, constipation) and may not report their khat use because of concerns regarding stigma, illegality or genuine belief that khat use is not linked to any health problems. Khat users may also present (or be referred) to drug and alcohol treatment services with dependence issues, although there are no specific services available for khat users in Australia. Multicultural drug and alcohol health services are available in some states and may be able to offer more culturally specific assistance to patients.

Health professionals have a role to play in educating users about potential harms arising from khat use, promoting responsible use of the drug in order to minimise the negative health effects for the individual and for the community, and informing community members who experience problems about the services available to them. Health information resources regarding khat use are available through websites, such as the Australian Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo site (http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/). Importantly, many users reported not disclosing their khat use to health professionals, and we therefore recommend that health professionals should routinely enquire about khat use and related health problems with patients of Somalian or other East African background, incorporated into enquiries regarding lifestyle factors such as use of tobacco, alcohol and other substances.

STAY DRUG FREE……….

KHAT-Miraa/Muguka (Part ONE)

KHAT (Miraa/Muguka)

Other Names:

Abyssinian Tea, Arabian-Tea, Catha edulis, Celastrus edulis, Chaat, Gat, Kat, Kathine, Kus es Salahin, Miraa, Qat, Qut, Tchaad, Thé Abyssin, Thé Arabe, Thé Somalien, Tohai, Tohat, Tschut.

What is khat? 

Khat is a leafy green plant containing two main stimulant drugs which speed up your mind and body. Their main effects are similar to, but less powerful than, amphetamine (Speed).  Khat is used mostly in North East Africa, and the Arabian Peninsual and by expatriate communities from these regions

Khat is a plant that grows and mostly used in Yemen, Ethiopia and Somalia — the “Horn of Africa.” It can also be found in South Africa, Sudan, Kenya, Afghanistan and Madagascar. Khat is also used mostly in North East Africa, and the Arabian Peninsual and by expatriate communities from these regions Just a few years ago, the only people in the Western Hemisphere who had heard of khat were some immigrants from Eastern Africa. A major reason for this limited distribution is that khat loses some of its potency within 48 hours.

But in the last few years, transportation methods have improved in the source countries, and shippers package the plant material carefully to keep it moist, reducing some of the loss of potency. It has since become available to more locations and now is much better known around the world.imagesd

Shipments of khat often leave Eastern Africa and arrive in the UK, with a portion of the shipment destined for North America. Seizures have sometimes been made of crates of khat on their way to large North American cities with substantial Eastern Africa immigrant populations, such as Toronto, Washington DC and San Diego.

In source countries Ethiopia and Somalia and neighboring country Djibouti, the drug is legal and in accepted use in social situations. These populations tend to bring the use of the drug with them when they emigrate to countries where it is not legal or where it becomes illegal after increasing amounts of the drug are sold and consumed. Khat is illegal in the US and most of Europe.

Khat was only made illegal in the UK in July 2013. When it became illegal, there were 3,000 tons of the drug passing through the country’s airports each year.

Khat is a plant. The leaf and stem are used as a recreational drug and as medicine.

As a recreational drug, the leaves and stem are chewed by people in East Africa and the Arabian countries to elevate mood (as a euphoriant).

As a medicine, khat leaf is used for depression, fatigue, obesity, stomach ulcers, and male infertility. It is also used to lower the need for food and sleep, decrease sexual desires, and increase aggression.

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists khat asimagesf a drug that creates “dependence” in people, meaning it produces a continuing desire to keep using it. In Somalia, civilian and military use of khat has been blamed for fueling civil war, draining the nation’s economy, and undermining international relief efforts.

TO BE CONTINUED…………..

 

 

 

Not A father…. A DADDY!!!

Not a Father…. A DADDY!!!!

No matter what anybody says, it’s not easy raising children. Whether you have one child or ten, it’s going to be tough. Add to this the fact that you are a single parent, and your life is now ten times harder. In today’s world it’s not at all uncommon to see single moms raising their children, but when you are a single father…

I have had custody of my Sons. These have been some of the best months in my life, the tough times and all. But during this time I have seen and heard more sexist comments about single fathers than I ever thought possible.

To begin with, the social system is mostly setup to help the single mother. It seems that none of the workers expect to deal with a single father. Here are some of the other situations I come up against these days:

I received a letter from the Child protection office . They said they would help me get child support from the father. At first I didn’t think anything of it until I began reading the forms they wanted me to fill out. All the information they put on the form about me was in the mother’s section. The remaining section asked about a hundred questions about the father. I later called and was told to scratch out where it asked about the father and put mother.

On another occasion, I took my son to the doctor his mother had chosen for him. After sitting there for over an hour the doctor came in and asked who I was. After telling him everything that had happened and that I had custody; he turned to me, looked me in the eyes, and said, “You can’t do this!” When asked what he was talking about he replied “You’re male! You can’t raise a child by yourself. She has to have her mother, not you.” I looked him in the eye and told him that my son did not need a sexist fool as her doctor, and that we would never darken his office door again.

I was given WIC aid (women, infants, and children). Things were going well until I went to a local grocery store to pick up some. I got to the checkout line, and when I handed the male cashier my WIC card he asked me where I got the card. He stated that such cards are not issued to men and said, “I know this isn’t yours.” My first reaction was to yank him across the counter, but I didn’t. Biting my tongue and reaching for my WIC ID, I was saved further argument by the manager stepping forward and checking me out rapidly. I could give you more examples of the discrimination that I have had to put up with, but it would take pages to do so.

I’m sure the majority of men are not prepared to handle raising a child on their own, and do not want to be. But there are also many of us who have the ability and desire to do so, especially when it means that our own offspring is loved and nourished by a parent rather than being abandoned to other people.

Women have fought for equal rights in the workplace, which they greatly deserve. Now what do we, as single fathers, have to do to receive equal rights as a parent? Are we going to have to fight for years to get beyond this? I agree that all children need a mother and father; unfortunately this is not always possible. I also believe that a single father can do just as good of a job raising his children as a single mother can. My sons 10 and 4 yrs are handsome, healthy, strong and growing up responsible men day by day.

So to everyone who says a single father cannot raise a baby–I’ll see you in eighteen years at graduation!