Did you know that 75-90% of all doctor visits are stress-related?
According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress. Additionally, 42% say their co-workers need such help. The American Psychological Association states that 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate-high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.
Are you surprised? Maybe not, however what we often don’t realize is that although we sometimes think we can cover up the stress we’re experiencing, our voices typically give us away. The causes of stress are varied; let’s look at some of the culprits.
Can you relate to any of these stress-producing scenarios?
1. Public speaking of any sort
2. Loss of your job
3. Looking and applying for a new job
4. Interviewing for a job or for an internal promotion
5. Saying “yes” when you really want to say “no”
6. Drowning in your to-do list
7. Not feeling listened to by others
8. Inability to cope with change (e.g. moving, different or increased responsibilities, etc.)
9. Loss of a loved one
10. Fear or insecurity
The list could certainly go on and on but these are often among the common sources of stress that we encounter in our lives. While we generally pay a price for stress in the form of physical discomfort (e.g. headache, insomnia, overeating), too often we don’t realize that our voices are also affected. Let’s look more closely at this issue.
How is your communication affected by stress?
1. When we’re worried, it’s more difficult to concentrate and our thoughts may be disorganized.
2. When our thoughts and our communications are conflicted, we may say things that are not necessarily correct to rationalize what we’re thinking.
3. When we’re nervous, we may speed up our rate of speech and end up tripping over our words.
4. When we’re upset or anxious, our body tenses (including our vocal cords) and our voice may have a quiver or trembling quality.
5. When we’re distracted, we may gasp for air and feel like we can’t project our voices easily.
Once again the list could go on and on and you may have your own examples. In each of these instances, we feel betrayed since our voices are often too revealing. The best news is that you can learn techniques to counter these concerns and with a commitment to practice, you can improve how you sound. When I address this with my clients, I often focus on improved breath support, relaxation and visualization.
Why not add these techniques to your communication toolbox! Ask me how…can’t wait to hear from you.