Tip : Break Bad Habits That Contribute To Workplace Stress
Many of us make job stress worse with negative thoughts and behavior. If you can turn these self-defeating habits around, youll find employer-imposed stress easier to handle.
Resist perfectionism. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself, youre setting yourself up to fall short. Aim to do your best no one can ask for more than that.
Flip your negative thinking. If you focus on the downside of every situation and interaction, youll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid negative co-workers, and pat yourself on the back about small accomplishments, even if no one else does.
Dont try to control the uncontrollable. Many things at work are beyond our control, particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control, such as the way you choose to react to problems.
Look for humor in the situation. When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress in the workplace. When you or those around you start taking work too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or funny story.
Clean up your act. If your desk or work space is a mess, file and throw away the clutter just knowing where everything is can save time and cut stress.
Try To Find Humor In The Situation
Stress isnât funny, but some situations that cause stress can be seen as humorous if you make the effort.
A good laugh is a good thing. Research has shown that laughter reduces stress and has other positive benefits. Not only does it relieve the stress response, but it brings more oxygen into your body, activates your body, and soothes tension.
Being angry or worrying, on the other hand, is extremely unhealthy, harming your heart, your immune system, and even increasing your risk for stroke.
Finding humor in a situation means:
- You never laugh AT a person. No one person is the target of the humor.
- You laugh about the ridiculousness of the situation.
- You compare a situation to a funny metaphor.
- You laugh about a similar situation in the past and try to show the current situation as a temporary problem.
Youâve probably been in that moment where it feels as if a situation could get very ugly very easily, and then someone cracks a joke and the tension seems to immediately leave. Thatâs what youâre aiming for.
Common Sources Of Work Stress
Certain factors tend to go hand-in-hand with work-related stress. Some common workplace stressors are:
- Low salaries
- Few opportunities for growth or advancement
- Work that isnt engaging or challenging
- Lack of social support
- Not having enough control over job-related decisions
- Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations
Also Check: How You Manage Stress At Work
How To Handle Stress At Work
- Luana Marques, PhD, Contributor
If youre currently working, you probably know what it feels like to be stressed on the job. A must-do project arrives without warning. Three emails stack up for each one you delete. Phones ring, meetings are scheduled, a coworker drops the ball on a shared assignment.
Making Work Less Stressful And More Engaging For Your Employees
Today, the ideal job candidate is an innovative, forward-thinking worker who can do more in less time . But, eventually, this kind of culture leads to serious productivity loss and burnout. To battle burnout and successfully lead teams, managers need to rethink their approach. First, they need to focus on reducing stress in the workplace by increasing psychological safety, setting boundaries around time outside of work, and looking into flexible work policies. Next, they need to build employee engagement by making sure people are in the right roles, giving their teams autonomy, and creating a culture of recognition.
We all know that excessive stress is a health hazard. What is less talked about are the effects of burnout on business performance. Stress makes people nearly three times as likely to leave their jobs, temporarily impairs strategic thinking, and dulls creative abilities. Burnout, then, is a threat to your bottom line, one that costs the U.S. more than $300 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, and medical, legal, and insurance costs.
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When To Get Help
Although employees can manage work stress and anxiety through stress-coping techniques and by creating a healthy work-life balance, sometimes stress becomes too overwhelming and difficult to manage alone. If stress and anxiety become too much to handle, it is important not to ignore symptoms and reach out for help. When symptoms go unaddressed, they can lead to burnout, depression or reduced physical health.
Employees and management should never feel ashamed or embarrassed to reach out to others. Its time for an employee to seek support if they are:
- Experiencing panic attacks at work
- Self-medicating with drugs, alcohol or food
- Not having success with coping skills
- Having suicidal thoughts
- Experiencing stress or anxiety that is significantly impacting their life and relationships
- Being told by friends, family or coworkers they should get help
Helpful resources include:
- Mental health counselors
- Family and friends
An employee may need medication or therapy to help overcome anxiety and stress and to learn stress-management techniques that work for them.
Employees Need Support In A Team Atmosphere To Better Manage Stress
People who have a support network are much more secure in their ability to cope with stress. This support is especially important at work. Stress is magnified if employees have to deal with problems without support of any kind.
Do This: Arrange for small group interactions where employees can get to know each other on an individual level. This is most effective when combined with training and team building activities. Constructive interaction helps cultivate meaningful relationships.
You can also provide opportunities for social interaction outside of work. Meeting in a less official manner may give people a chance to laugh together. Humor is a great way to cope with stress. A good laugh can do wonders for your employees.
Your company may even want to create a team approach to some assignments which can help prevent isolation. When people know they are part of a team, it is easier for them to function at work.
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Five Ways To Reduce Stress
- Take time away. If the stress at work increases, try to take a short break and get away from the stressful situation. If possible, take a walk outside the workplace or spend a few minutes meditating in the break room. Physical exercise or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly relieve stress.
- Talk it over with someone. In some situations, it can help relieve stress by simply sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. Talking about a problem with someone who is both supportive and empathetic can be a great way to let off steam and relieve stress.
- Connect with others in the workplace. Developing friendships with some of your colleagues can help you protect yourself from the negative effects of stress. Remember to listen to them and offer support when they are also in need.
- Look for humor in this situation. If used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress at work. If you or those around you start to take things too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or a funny story.
Employees Need Sufficient Physical Space To Do Their Jobs
Employees working in a comfortable space feel more in control of their situation, thus reducing work related stress. It is important that they have enough space to easily complete their assignments, especially in times of high stress.
Do This: Make it possible for each employee to have a space of their own that is adequate for them to do their work. Allow them to make the space their own so they feel comfortable there.
Also Check: How To Make Someone Less Stressed
Tip : Reduce Stress At Work By Breaking Bad Habits
As you learn to manage your stress at work and improve your work relationships, you will have more control over your ability to think clearly and act appropriately. You will be able to break habits that increase your stress at work – and you will even be able to change negative mindsets about things that only increase your stress.
Encourage Employees To Take Breaks
As Jason Schreier wrote in The New York Times, workplace cultures that encourage non-stop work have damaging effects on their employees. He outlined a phenomenon called crunching, where video game developers work as many as 20 hours a day for days or weeks on end.
The designer Clint Hocking described suffering memory loss as a result of the stress and anxiety of crunching on a game. Brett Douville, a veteran game programmer, said he once worked so long and for so hard that he found himself temporarily unable to step out of his car.
If your employees are overloaded and continually sacrificing their leisure time to get stuff out the door, it might be time to reconsider their workload such as hiring more employees, or changing expectations.
And by encouraging them to take breaks throughout the day, employees will come back to the office less stressed and more productive.
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Coping With Stress At Work
Working hard should not be confused with overworking at the expense of relationships and physical health.
Coping with stress at work.
Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short-term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelmingand harmful to both physical and emotional health.
Unfortunately, such long-term stress is all too common. In fact, has consistently found that work is cited as a significant source of stress by a majority of Americans. You cant always avoid the tensions that occur on the job. Yet you can take steps to manage work-related stress.
Helpful Ways To Deal With Stress At Work
40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful. Thatâs a problem.
Regardless of what kind of work you do, the reality is that workplace stress is detrimental for employers and employees. Read on to find the causes of job stress, why itâs so harmful, and helpful tips to cope with workplace stress.
Also Check: Who To Talk To About Stress
Creating A Work Environment Which Decreases Overall Stress
Unreasonable deadlines, unclear expectations and lack of communication heighten workplace stress.
Psychological safety can be built by managers giving clarity as to what is expected by employees by establishing SMART goals, and making sure their voices are heard by allowing them to speak up in meetings and brainstorming sessions.
The human mind can focus around 90-120 minutes before it needs rest, therefore it is important to make sure employees take a break every couple of hours to ensure theyre in the right mental space to perform well in their tasks. Allowing for flexible work hours based on individual schedules can help employees better balance their work life schedules and reduce overall stress in the workplace.
How Employees Can Deal With Stress At Work
Some symptoms that will tell if you are going through anxiety at workplace are physical and include pains, head and stomach aches, fatigue, eating and sleeping disorders. Other signs are cognitive and include for example, a difficulty to concentrate or make decisions, think or remember things. Finally, you may suffer from emotional symptoms such as feeling sad, tense or angry.
If you have detected some of the mentioned signs you may be suffering from work stress. Luckily, there are techniques and actions you can take to reduce it. The American Psychological Association proposes some:
Track your stressors: Keep a diary where you can identify what situations causing you stress, what you feel and how you react to them. This can help you find patterns in the causes and your reactions.
Develop healthy responses: Try to make healthy choices when you feel the tension grows. Some options are physical activity, time to hobbies, reading, going to concerts or playing with your family. Achieving good sleep quality also helps manage stress try to limit caffeine and minimize stimulating activities at night.
Establish boundaries: Set schedules to carry out work tasks at home, such as limiting time for emails or moments to answer the phone.
Time to disconnect: To avoid burnout, it is important that you take rest and relaxation times to return to your pre-stress functioning levels.
Relax: Apply relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing or mindfulness.
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How Meditation Can Reduce Work
If your job is stressing you out, meditation can help.
Stress is all around us. Whether its caused by money, work, relationships, the political climate, or personal health and safety issues, stress is like an unwelcome visitor who just wont leave.
According to the American Institute of Stress, workplace stress is the biggest culprit of them all, and its only getting worse. Per the organizations recent survey, 80 percent of people feel stress at work. 40 percent reported that their job was very or extremely stressful.
Specific stressors range from job insecurity to being overworked. They also include personal issues with bosses and peers. Leave it unchecked, and stress can sabotage your career, disrupt your sleep, and have serious health consequences.
The American Psychological Association says that job strain, defined as coupling high demands with low decision-making latitude, is associated with increased risk of coronary disease. Thats not good, but, fortunately, you can fight back.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and, per the American Council on Exercise, it can improve mood and decrease anxiety.
So, to reap the benefits of exercise, go for a walk, hit the yoga mat, lift some weights, or fire up your Aaptiv app for a custom workout. But, if youre looking for an extra edge to decrease the stress in your life, try pairing that exercise with regular meditation.
Stay Out Of The Office Gossip Mill
Workplace conflict can take a major toll on your emotional well-being. Try to avoid participating in gossipy situations.
If you know that one of your colleagues is especially prone to gossip, find a way to spend less time with them or steer the conversation to safer topics.
Some other strategies for staying out of the fray include:
- emphasizing the positive
- ignoring the conversation and changing the subject to something unrelated
- walking away
If you need to get that presentation just right or find yourself working extra hours perfecting a report you finished days ago, it may be time to take a step back and reflect.
While perfectionism has some positive benefits, it can also be highly stressful and lead to burnout.
Try to keep your high standards in check by focusing on the effort you put into a project and not personalizing failure when you make a mistake.
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Simple Ways To Deal With Stress At Work
Research has indicated that the percentage of Americans who are stressed at work is highand its only getting higher. According to a survey of more than 2,000 full-time U.S. employees, ages 18-79, more than half of employees find themselves stressed during at least 60 percent of the workweek.
Work stress has significant health consequences that range from relatively benign to potentially serious .
While stress at work is common, finding a low-stress job is hard . A more realistic approach is to adopt effective coping strategies to reduce stress at your current job. Here are some stress management techniques you can try if you are finding it hard to cope with work stress
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.
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How To Cope With Stress At Work
You don’t need to cope with stress at work alone. Here are some general ideas you can try to help you manage:
- Understand more about stress. Recognising the signs of stress and learning about the causes of stress is good place to start.
- Figure out what you find stressful and helpful. You could make a Wellness Action Plan to map out what causes you stress and what keeps you well. Once you know what’s best, talk to your employer. They may be able to make some changes to help you.
- Learn different coping techniques. Everyone deals with stress differently, so take time to find methods that work for you. Use them as soon as you start to feel pressure building. Check out the guides from the Stress Management Society for ideas.
- Try practising mindfulness. This practice is about focusing on the here and now. It might help you to find calmness and clarity to respond to stressful situations. See our pages on mindfulness to learn more.
- Look after your physical health. Eat well and try a gentle activity like going for a walk or doing a chair-based exercise. Our pages on physical activity and food and mood have more details on how this can help your mental health.
“I try to keep each task short and clear, take breaks when getting tired and be polite, honest and empathic with the people I work with.”