What is stress?

An interview with our resilience expert Renate Freisler

Power struggle of bison, what is stress?

What is stress? Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: “Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions as part of our school project. Let’s get straight to the point: What is stress for you?”

Renate Freisler: "Very much, I have to thank you. The answer in one word is: One survival strategy. Stress is a physical and mental reaction to a situation that the person concerned perceives as (too) great challenge/excessive demands.”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What types of stress are there for you?"
Renate Freisler: “Eustress = positive stress; distress = negative stress”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What are the different meanings of stress?"
Renate Freisler: “Positive stress is experienced as stimulating and the challenge is perceived as pleasant or manageable. In addition to the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, endorphins such as dopamine are also released. This brings the body into positive emotional excitement and releases mental powers. This often leads to flow moments.
Negative stress is experienced as a burden. The available coping strategies do not match the given requirements. Feelings such as fear, anger, sadness arise and perception is narrowed. The body switches to attack or flight, when that is not possible it can become rigid or 'feign dead'.”

Stress as a feasible challenge

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "How do you personally deal with stress?"
Renate Freisler: "I see stressful situations as feasible challenges that I can use to grow. I am aware of my resources and successes, pay attention to constructive thoughts and live healthy. Lots of exercise, nutrition and relaxation are three important companions. For me it’s about seeing your own learning opportunities.”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What exactly is your job? What's the name of your job?"
Renate Freisler: “I am a 'business coach, trainer and author'

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Which people come to you? (age, gender...)”
Renate Freisler: "From companies, managers and employees, private individuals and the self-employed, male and female in roughly equal proportions, aged 30 - 60 years."

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What problems do your clients have in general?"
Renate Freisler: "High levels of workload and stress, one's own needs are neglected, growing into the new role as manager, many changes in the company, e.g. B. Agility, transformation, strengthening self-confidence, professional reorientation, strengthening resilience (mental resilience), burnout prevention or reintegration, work organization, since Corona, the topic of home office/mobile working/dissolution of boundaries has also become stronger.

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Clients neglect needs

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What problems do your clients have in relation to stress?"
Renate Freisler: "Many clients neglect their needs and over time mental and physical symptoms develop, e.g. B. can no longer switch off, tension in the back, headaches, stomach problems, sleep disorders. They feel overwhelmed, no longer able to cope with the demands, fear of failure, lack of balance in life, family or hobbies are neglected and they work more than is good for them.

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Do you give each client an individual consultation/treatment, or is there something you do with each one?"
Renate Freisler: “Basically, every client receives individual advice or a coaching process. What I do with everyone is: listen, empathize, appreciate, see people, strengthen resources, make destructive patterns aware, see the good in the bad, encourage a change of perspective - and above all ask good questions.

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "How does a meeting with you work?"
Renate Freisler: “Usually there is an introductory talk by phone or video.
Each session is very individual. At the beginning of a coaching session, I work out a goal with the client. The path is derived from this. In terms of methodology, I have a large toolbox, so I'm very flexible here. From cognitive work to emotional work, imagination, visualization and systemic work, everything is included.
Current topics of the client have priority, so that at the beginning of a session we discuss what is important today and the effect/change of the past session is also reflected.”

Offers against stress

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What different offers do you have?"
Renate Freisler: “Business coaching, personal coaching, personality analysis, training on the job, individual seminars”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Which offers are suitable for which types of problems?"
Renate Freisler:

  • "Business coaching: for topics from the corporate environment (leadership, transformations, professional stress, career coaching, conflicts...)
  • Personal coaching: for personal issues (crises, reorientation, overload, lack of self-confidence)
    Personality analysis: for all coaching sessions
  • Training on the job: When knowledge transfer (e.g. with a young manager or with work organization) is also required
  • Individual seminars: for groups in companies (self- and stress management, resilience, mindfulness, self-leadership)"

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: “Which of these offers is used most often?
Renate Freisler: “Business and personal coaching with personality analyses”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What is your favorite way to work? What are your favorite methods to work with?”
Renate Freisler: "With a mix of methods: imagination, visualization, systemic in space, mindfulness, positive psychology, change of perspective, timeline work"

There are solutions to burnout and depression

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Are there different institutions for different problems or different cases?"
Renate Freisler: “What is meant by 'facilities'? At Burn out or depression, there are psychosomatic clinics - inpatient or day clinics. As a coach, I work with healthy people.”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Can you control or prevent stress?"
Renate Freisler: "Become aware of your personal stress patterns, be aware of your resources, strengths and action strategies, lots of exercise, healthy nutrition, relaxation, e.g. B. Yoga, mindfulness, breathing exercises, develop constructive thought patterns, work through personal injuries and negative emotional experiences from the past.

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "How does stress affect everyday life/ professional life?"
Renate Freisler: “Positive stress and a certain amount of tension balanced with relaxation strengthens us. In this respect, stress is not inherently negative. In a healthy measure, it makes us efficient.
Negative stress over a long period of time reduces our performance, makes us ill in the long term and changes internal physical processes. The WHO has declared stress one of the greatest dangers of the 21st century.”

Stress is a natural response to danger

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Where is stress useful, where does it bother?"
Renate Freisler: "Useful: In case of acute danger. Stress is our natural response to danger and is our survival strategy. Energy is released in the body that allows us to flee or attack. Without this function we would no longer exist. Disruptive: When it becomes too much or not really dangerous and we need our prefrontal cortex (e.g. during an exam).”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What if your treatment doesn't work?"
Renate Freisler: “My work is not a treatment. Coaching is process-oriented support for people. As a coach, I am responsible for the process. The client is responsible for the content and implementation. He works out his solution – with my support for the process.”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Do some clients give you feedback later?"
Renate Freisler: "Yes, I get feedback more often, mostly in the form of emails."

be willing to change

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Who would you recommend to come to you?"
Renate Freisler: "People who take responsibility for themselves and their lives, are willing to change and want to develop personally."

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What would you change about society to avoid stress?"
Renate Freisler: “Teaching the topics of stress, resilience and mindfulness in schools.
Promote self-responsibility and autonomy in the company, more appreciation for employees and managers, strength-based distribution of tasks, draw attention to success and master challenges with strengthened resources, learn a healthy error culture, emphasize what connects and appreciate differences, cultivate appreciative relationships.

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "How is stress related to the psyche?"
Renate Freisler: “It is very closely connected. Body, mind and soul (=psyche) interact with each other. Therefore, stress affects all three areas.”

Several years of professional experience is essential

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "What do you have to do to be able to do your job? (Studies …)"
Renate Freisler: “It can be a degree in psychology or comprehensive training as a coach combined with several years of professional experience, preferably as a Executive. There are many private providers of coaching training.”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "How did your professional career go?"
Renate Freisler: "I completed a commercial apprenticeship and gained more than 25 years of professional experience (including almost 10 years as a Teamhead of auditing). Then I completed training as a yoga teacher, then coaching training and alternative practitioner psychotherapy, then trainer training, positive psychology consultant and many methodical further training courses with self-awareness. So I developed a large mix of methods and gained my own experience as a coachee. I have now been self-employed for over 11 years.”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "How did you get your job?"
Renate Freisler: “I resigned myself. It was a long process, after so many years, to give up what felt like a “secure” basis. It was the right decision."

Coaching is lifelong learning

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Who is suitable for this job?"
Renate Freisler: “People who are interested in other people, who are empathetic and who also work on their own personality. For me as a coach, coaching is lifelong learning and developing my own personality.”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Is it sometimes difficult for you to separate work and everyday life, or does your job affect your everyday life?"
Renate Freisler: “There is no clear separation between work and private life for me. A lot of things flow into each other because the professional topics also interest me privately. Sometimes I have to refrain from reading too many reference books on vacation ????”

Melisa Y. and Sophia B.: "Thank you very much for the interesting information and the insight into your vocation."
Renate Freisler: "With pleasure, it was a pleasure and an honor for me to be able to pass some of this on to you."

Also read our article about damage to image and Coaching for women.

What is stress and how does it arise?

Stress is the body's natural response to a challenge or threat. It is a normal body response to protect us in situations of danger or pressure. Stress occurs when the body releases the stress hormone cortisol so we can act quickly and effectively. However, if this condition lasts longer and cortisol is constantly released, this can have negative effects on health and well-being.

How can stress be avoided?

There are many ways to avoid or reduce stress. These include regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, regular breaks and rest, relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation, avoiding negative thought patterns, support from family and friends, and setting realistic goals and priorities.

How to deal with stress

There are many ways to deal with stress. These include relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. Having a positive attitude and practicing self-compassion can also help reduce stress. It is also important to have realistic expectations and set priorities to avoid undue pressure. Communicating openly with family and friends, and seeking professional help when needed, can also help manage stress.

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