Flow Over Fear Nina Nesdoly

How to Manage Stress and Achieve Greater Balance with Neuroscience Expert Nina Nesdoly

Do you continue to experience workplace stress? For a lot of us, it is a big deal. In this episode, Adam Hill talks to stress researcher and speaker Nina Nesdoly about workplace burnout. Nina shares insights from her background in management and neuroscience on what causes burnout and how chronic stress affects our bodies. She explains the difference between stress and burnout, and provides tips for how leaders can support their teams’ well-being. Nina also discusses the importance of work-life balance and recovery. Listen in to learn practical strategies for overcoming burnout and managing stress both personally and professionally through establishing boundaries and prioritizing self-care. 

Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation:

  • What is workplace burnout?
  • How to respond to conflict
  • Ways to reduce stress and burnout
  • The difference between psychology and neuroscience
  • The neuroscience behind stress
  • Challenge stressors vs. hindrance stressors at work
  • How stress leads to burnout

Episode Highlights:

[02:57] What is Workplace Burnout?

Workplace burnout can be best defined as an occupational phenomenon that arises from prolonged work stress that has not been effectively managed. It is important to note that burnout and stress are distinct entities. Burnout occurs when individuals experience a sustained accumulation of chronic stress. This condition manifests in three primary dimensions:

  1. Exhaustion: Individuals feel persistently tired, drained, and depleted, both physically and emotionally.
  2. Cynicism: A sense of pessimism and distrust towards work and colleagues develops, leading to detachment and a lack of engagement.
  3. Reduced professional efficacy: Individuals experience a decline in their belief and confidence in their ability to accomplish tasks and succeed in their job, resulting in feelings of inadequacy and failure.

Recognizing these dimensions is crucial in identifying and addressing burnout, as it affects individuals’ well-being, job satisfaction, and overall productivity. Seeking appropriate support and implementing strategies to manage stress and promote work-life balance are essential in preventing and overcoming workplace burnout.

[07:20] How to Respond to Conflict

Conflict is a natural part of human interaction, although it can be stressful. Our brains are wired to be cautious of conflict due to our ancestral need for group acceptance and survival. It’s normal to feel tension and not always respond perfectly. Taking a break, seeking separate perspectives, and involving leadership can help manage conflicts effectively. Acknowledging that it’s okay for people to feel upset during conflicts is crucial for resolving them with empathy and understanding.

[24:50] Neuroscience vs. Psychology

Neuroscience studies the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and body, to understand the biological basis of behavior and cognition. Psychology, on the other hand, focuses on human behavior, thoughts, and emotions, emphasizing subjective experiences rather than biological processes. Stress can manifest as physical symptoms like headaches, tension, mental fog, and fatigue, affecting the entire body due to the interconnectedness of the nervous system with other physiological systems.

[44:38] How Stress Leads to Burnout

Stress is the body’s response to stimuli, whether they originate from within or outside. It can arise from physical sensations or thoughts, such as repetitive worries about work conflicts. Stress is a natural reaction that prompts the body to mobilize resources to address the situation. However, burnout occurs when the body’s systems, designed to cope with stress, become exhausted from prolonged exposure to stressors.

Resources Mentioned:

Nina’s TEDTalk: How to Relieve Stress When You’re Overwhelmed


Instagram: @ninanesdoly 

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