Get a Handle on Work-Related Stress

Research at the Florida State University School of Business confirms what we already know: stress in the workplace is on the rise. More than 70 percent of survey respondents confirmed that the recession has significantly increased the stress levels of employees in their workplaces.

Work-related stress
And why is that? In addition to general job insecurity, over half of respondents reported that management has grown increasingly demanding; incivility among co-workers is increasing; and fully 80 percent of employees reported being nervous about their long-term financial well-being. It’s enough to send anyone over the edge.

Step one in managing stress is recognizing it as a problem that can and MUST be managed. Sounds obvious, right? But too often we tuck our heads to our chests and are so busy fighting the wind that we don’t even THINK to look for shelter.

A few ways to reduce stress once it’s recognized:

  1. Shift gears. Be sure to allow time for activities entirely unlike your work activities. If you spend all day at the computer, playing computer games may not be the way to unwind. Put your brain in a new gear by finding that contrast.
  2. Get some sleep. It’s one of the golden answers to so many personal issues—nature’s way of resetting the dial. Make it a priority.
  3. Spend time in comfortable company. You know who I mean. It’s that couple who leave you smiling for ten minutes after they’ve gone, or the friend you can say anything to. Invite them for dinner and watch your stress ebb away.
  4. Get perspective. In the moment, problems loom large. Time almost always diminishes their significance. Project yourself forward a week, a month, a year. Look at the images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Watch Casablanca to remember that our problems often don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.
  5. Decide. That’s right. Just decide not to be stressed. Stress is not what happens to you—it is how you react. Decide to enjoy the wild ride!

Of course if you can locate the actual cause of your stress and it’s within your control, confront it! Solve it! Fix it! But if not, know that there’s more you can do than simply bowing your head to that wind.

Leave a Reply