Prevention Of Workplace Stress
The prevention of workplace stress is most successful when a combination of both organizational change and individual stress management is used. That is, like any healthy relationship, both parties the employee and the employer make an effort.
What can the company do to manage stress?
- Promote leave, rest and breaks
- Encourage exercise and meditation, both within and outside of work hours
- Ensure the workload is in line with workers abilities and resources
- Provide stimulation and opportunities for workers to use skills
- Boost workplace morale by creating opportunities for social interactions
- Clearly set out workers roles and responsibilities
- Encourage participation in decision making that affects individuals roles
- Encourage open communication
- Establish no tolerance policy for workplace discrimination
- Engage an external consultant to suggest a fresh approach to any existing issues
- Create family-friendly policies to encourage work-life balance
- and provide training for workplace stress management.
The figure below summarizes the benefits of workplaces that promote healthy and low-stress environments.
What if you do not have a healthy workplace, and that isnt likely to change any time soon? Luckily, there are ways for individuals to manage their own stress.
Personal strategies for stress management are to:
Tips To Manage Stress
We all have stress at work, at home, and on the road. Sometimes we can feel especially stressed because of a bad interaction with someone, too much work, or everyday hassles like getting stuck in traffic.
Negative stress can keep you from feeling and performing your best mentally, physically and emotionally. But no ones life is completely stress-free. Its important to know how to manage the stress in your life. Try these three simple techniques for dealing with it.
1. Positive Self-Talk
Negative to Positive
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To really make it work, practice positive self-talk every day in the car, at your desk, before you go to bed or whenever you notice negative thoughts. Its a great practice to teach kids, too!
2. Top 10 Emergency Stress-Stoppers
Emergency stress stoppers are actions to help you defuse stress in the moment. You may need different stress stoppers for different situations, and sometimes it helps to combine them. Here are some ideas:
Ways To Manage Stress
Because reacting in the moment can often create more stress, its important to pause and take a minute to engage in gentle self care and take the space you need to gain better understanding and perspective before taking action. Taking the space and time you need to understand what is happening makes it more likely that you will find healthy solutions and also helps you understand yourself and your patterns better both of which will help the next time! So while the following list includes some effective techniques, its important to find those that work best for you and your unique situation. And of course, if you find that your stress levels are accelerating or out of control, we recommend you get help immediately.
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Effects Of Uncontrolled Stress
Work-related stress doesnt just disappear when you head home for the day. When stress persists, it can take a toll on your health and well-being.
A stressful work environment can contribute to problems such as headache, stomachache, sleep disturbances, short temper, and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. It can also contribute to health conditions such as depression, obesity, and heart disease. Compounding the problem, people who experience excessive stress often deal with it in unhealthy ways, such as overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, or abusing drugs and alcohol.
Social And Job Issues That Can Cause Stress
- Your surroundings. Living in an area where overcrowding, crime, pollution, or noise is a problem can create chronic stress.
- Your social situation. Not having enough money to cover your expenses, feeling lonely, or facing discrimination based on your race, gender, age, or sexual orientation can add stress to your life.
- Your job. Being unhappy with your work or finding your job too demanding can lead to chronic stress. Learn how to manage job stress.
- Unemployment. Losing your job or not being able to find work can also add to your stress level.
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Not Sure What To Do Next
If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues, try healthdirects Symptom Checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
Embrace The Adrenaline And Treat It As Positive
Fortunately, there is evidence that some level of stress is actually helpful, and can improve performanceprovided you believe that this is the case.
Elite athletes, for example, often believe that adrenaline, one of the main stress hormones, is helpful in improving performance. It is, after all, the flight or fight hormone, so you can harness it to help you to fight. Changing your mindset to embrace adrenaline can be a good start to changing how you view stress, especially if you have taken steps to reduce and avoid it more generally.
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What Are The Signs Of Stress
You can learn to notice the signs in your body that indicate stress is becoming a problem. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy methods such as drinking or smoking.
Signs that you may be stressed include:
- muscle tension and headaches
- poor sleep or sleeping too much
- being irritable or moody
- not being able to concentrate
- relying on alcohol or drugs to cope
- feeling overwhelmed or anxious or like you can’t cope
Tip : Identify The Sources Of Stress In Your Life
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isnt as straightforward as it sounds. While its easy to identify major stressors such as changing jobs, moving, or going through a divorce, pinpointing the sources of chronic stress can be more complicated. Its all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels.
Sure, you may know that youre constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe its your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
- Do you explain away stress as temporary even though you cant remember the last time you took a breather?
- Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life or as a part of your personality ?
- Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
Start a stress journal
A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal or use a stress tracker on your phone. Keeping a daily log will enable you to see patterns and common themes. Write down:
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Implement Healthy Stress Management Strategies
Its good to be mindful of any current unhealthy coping behaviors so you can switch them out for a healthy option. For example, if overeating is your current go to, you could practice meditation instead, or make a decision to phone a friend to chat through your situation. The American Psychological Association suggest that switching out one behavior at a time is most effective in creating positive change.
Spend Time With Friends And Family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.
Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.
One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called tend and befriend, and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response .
Keep in mind that both men and women benefit from friendship.
Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety .
Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.
Its hard to feel anxious when youre laughing. Its good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted (
Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.
One way to do this may be to say no more often.
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Get A Hug From A Loved One
Physical touch can do a lot to relieve your stress. Hugging a loved one can be especially beneficial.
When you hug someone, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is associated with higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress.
Oxytocin also causes a reduction in blood pressure. It reduces the stress hormone norepinephrine and can produce a sense of relaxation.
So don’t be afraid to ask a loved one for a hug if you need it. It’s good for both of you and it can be one of the simplest forms of stress relief available.
Try To Get Some Regular Exercise Every Day
Exercise is one of the best methods for managing stress because it can relieve both the physical and emotional effects of stress. Consider fitness choices that also deliver specific stress-reducing effects like yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or one of the martial arts, all great ways to get rid of pent-up stress and negativity. “Exercise can help regulate and dissipate in a productive way those ‘fight or flight’ stress chemicals in the brain,” says Kubiak.
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Review The Tasks You Must Complete Weekly
Set a day of the week when you plot how youre going to spend the next seven days. Recruitment agencies for example use software to help you track time and implement rules the employees must follow when working. This kind of software does more than track your time it also enables you to track your expenses, book, approve, and manage your teams time off, and automate billing. You can follow their example and use the software to schedule both business and personal activities. Its easier to meet deadlines and make room for obligations and meetings when you can use a tool to break them into time intervals and figure out how much each of them takes. The key to starting a productive day is to schedule a productive week.
The planning session doesnt take long, especially when you use the software. Ten minutes on a night can save you hours during the following week.
Build Strong Positive Relationships With People Who Make You Feel Goodand Avoid Those Who Dont
Research suggests that stress builds up over time, through multiple small interactions with others. By themselves, few single incidents are intrinsically stressful. However, put them together, and the story is very different.
It is hard to avoid these micro-stressors, because they are too frequent and too pervasive. However, there are ways to address them, and the most important is to focus on your relationships with others. Research suggests that the two most important things you can do are to build strong relationships and connections with people who make you feel good, and avoid those who dont.
There is more about this in our page on Micro-Stressors.
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Ways To Relax Your Mind
- Write. It may help to write about things that are bothering you. Write for 10 to 15 minutes a day about stressful events and how they made you feel. Or think about tracking your stress. This helps you find out what is causing your stress and how much stress you feel. After you know, you can find better ways to cope.
- Let your feelings out. Talk, laugh, cry, and express anger when you need to. Talking with friends, family, a counselor, or a member of the clergy about your feelings is a healthy way to relieve stress.
- Do something you enjoy. You may feel that you’re too busy to do these things. But making time to do something you enjoy can help you relax. It might also help you get more done in other areas of your life. Try:
- A hobby, such as gardening.
- A creative activity, such as writing, crafts, or art.
- Playing with and caring for pets.
- Volunteer work.
In addition to practicing these skills, you might also try some other techniques to reduce stress, such as massage or music therapy.
Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle
- Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.
- Get enough sleep.
- Take a break.
- Ask for help.
- Try Deep Breathing – sit tall and comfortably, breath in slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth while counting to yourself.
- Reframe problems – pause, regroup and look at the situation from a positive angle. For example, if you are stuck in traffic, enjoy the alone time.
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Tips For Managing Stress
Im just so stressed! How many times do we say or hear this on a daily basis? Talking about our stress is like asking about the weathereveryone has it or has something to say about it. Stress is a part of life for nearly everyone. It can motivate us to act when needed, prompt a needed change, or call our attention to something that needs deeper attention. But, stress can also be a red flag for something more problematic and, if left unaddressed, emotionally damaging.
What is stress and what causes it? The short answer is that stress is a feeling of unpleasant tension and can be experienced physically, emotionally, or as a diffuse sense of alertness or irritability. Some tension is a natural and even healthy part of the situation like getting ready to run a race, take a test, or have an emotionally charged conversation. In other situations, feeling tense can signal stress that needs more mindful attention. How your body reacts and responds to stress can be positive when its short-term but lingering stress can take a toll on your body and mind.
While we cant always control the stress that comes into our lives, we can control how we manage and react to it. In fact, understanding these stressors in order to best respond to them in a healthy way is a key component of mental health.
Feeling overwhelmed? Get help now. Text START to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK
Grow Your Support Network
Cast a wide net. When it comes to your social supports, one size doesn’t fit all. You may not have someone you can confide in about everything and thats okay. Maybe you have a colleague you can talk to about problems at work, and a neighbor who lends an ear when you have difficulties with your kids. Look to different relationships for different kinds of support. But remember to look to people you can trust and count on, to avoid disappointing, negative interactions that can make you feel worse.
Be proactive. Often people expect others to reach out to them, and then feel rejected when people dont go out of their way to do so. To get the most out of your social relationships, you have to make an effort. Make time for friends and family. Reach out to lend a hand or just say hello. If youre there for others, theyll be more likely to be there for you. And in fact, when it comes to longevity, research suggests that providing social support to friends and family may be even more important than receiving it.4
Take advantage of technology. Its nice to sit down with a friend face-to-face, but it isn’t always possible. Luckily, technology makes it easier than ever before to stay connected with loved ones far away. Write an email, send a text message or make a date for a video chat. Dont rely too heavily on digital connections, however. Some research suggests that face-to-face interactions are most beneficial.
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