Dealing with Workplace Stress
There’s not doubt that the workplace today is a stressful one; employers are requiring their workers to perform and produce at higher rates than before. A recent survey cited in my local paper found that 67 percent of workers reported having a high degree of stress, 24 percent reported medium stress and only 11 percent said they had low stress. Sixty four percent is a high number of people who are feeling intense pressure to perform; I would imagine that they also are experiencing emotional and physical symptoms that detract from their ability to work at their level of performance.
It’s not just the work that causes stress as the work environment can be a contributing factor. This can include not having the right resources for the job, lack of communication on expectations, lack of rewards or incentives, or difficult coworkers. One, or all, of these can be a source of frustration dependent upon your personality, work ethic or work-style. For example, if you have the belief that work should be focused and ‘nose to the grindstone’, then you will be frustrated by workers who want to talk or take their time getting work done. For whatever the contributing factors are, it is imperative that you learn how to deal with your stress so you can feel happier and healthier; the long-term effects of stress affect not only your physical and emotional well-being, but can affect the gray matter in your brain which can result in dementia later in life.
Here are some ways to help you deal with workplace stress; practice them and make them a daily part of your life:
1. Deep breathe – taking deep breaths, which mean taking a breath in through your nose and pushing out strongly through your belly will help to get oxygen into your red blood cells which expands, or relaxes them; this will calm your brain and your body so you can think clearly
2. Meditate – calming the body and the mind is a necessity when dealing with emotional situations; find a quiet space to sit and to go inward; you may want to say a chant or a word to help you focus. This can take practice to block out ‘the noise’ but the results are worth it
3. Exercise – physical exertion is a great way to release stress and the benefits of the endorphins is energizing and relaxing; do some type of activity you enjoy to keep the motivation going, such as walking, running, gardening, roller-blading, swimming, dancing, Zumba, or the like
4. Journal – writing out our thoughts and emotions is a healthy and safe way to release negative emotions, as you can “say” what you are thinking without anyone getting offended; writing also has a way of giving us a new perspective so you may uncover traits or habits that may lead to your stress, such as taking on other’s work to be ‘helpful.’ You can also capture all of the good work that you do and express gratitude, both of which help to lift the mood
5. Separate – reflect on the sources of your perceived stress to determine if your reactions are warranted; are there other factors that are not work-related that are causing stress, such as issues with your spouse or kids, or financial pressures all of which can compromise our ability to cope and taxes our system
6. Talk to Someone – it is helpful to find someone to talk to you in order to release feelings; you might turn to a family member, a friend, or you may want to seek out a professional, such as a counselor or a coach. You could find one through the Employee Assistance Program at work, which is confidential and free.
Learning to deal with stress at work will help you to tap into your strengths and increase your coping skills so you can feel refreshed and ready to face demands handed to you. Knowing the sources of stress will help you to deal with them and lead to a calm and happy life.