Anyone who has or had a job, have experienced work stress at some point or the other. The American Psychological Association (APA) estimated that 66% of the working population undergo work stress and only 36% of them choose to seek help. According to Scott Fantucchio, LMHC, “Giving in to our negative thoughts and behaviors and repeating them over and over.”
From immediate to long standing, job stress can affect our body and psyche to huge extent.
How job stress can affect the mind and body
|1. Increased anxiety
3. Poor self confidence
4. Reduced productivity at work
|1. Poor immune system functions
2. Migraines and headaches
Common Job Stressors
There are several factors that go hand-in-hand for contributing to work stress. Some of them are listed below.
- Dissatisfaction with the pay
- Long working hours
- Conflict with superiors or co-workers
- Discrimination or bullying
- Dull and unengaging work
- Little scope for growth
How to Handle Work Stress
It is quite difficult to give our best when we are already under too much pressure at the workplace. Take not the only one is finding it hard to balance everything. According to Ari Tuckman, PsyD, “The hardest part of making time for both professional and personal pursuits is “The feeling that there are always unfulfilled demands on both sides, no matter what I do.”
What most of us at work would do when faced with a stressful situation is to try and drastically alter the way we work. However, that may not always be a good idea. Here are six effective ways to manage your work stress:
- Track the stressors: It is always good to have a self record of the factors that you feel are causing you stress. Write them down on a daily / weekly basis. This will help you identify them and accordingly endure them at work.
- Manage your responses: There can be tempting situations that can get you on the verge of erupting. Try to channelize your frustration in a way that would not affect you. For example, you can : i) delay responding to heated arguments ii) instead of physically or verbally confronting a dispute, try communicating through emails. It reduces the chances of getting into an interpersonal dispute
- Take some “me-time”: A great way to regulate stress hormones at work is to take short gaps from work schedules. You can go out for coffee or listen to music, doodle or do any other non-interfering filler task. It refreshes the mind and helps promote work focus. Many have found fidget spinners and cubes to be useful. Embrace good distractions, But make sure to make the breaks small, not more than 10 minutes. According to Sandra Lewis, PsyD “In the same way we charge our cellphones, we need to charge ourselves.”
- Get a support system: It is always good to have some people you trust, friends, family, spouse or even colleagues. Talking with them can greatly help in reducing daily stress and putting things in perspective. It helps to get an objective idea of your problem and ways in managing it.
- Relaxation and exercise: Perhaps a pertinent solution to any stress one faces is to have a daily exercise routine. Take out some time everyday to practice relaxation – breathing exercises are extremely beneficial. It may not reduce your stress directly but it relaxes the mind and gives it the power to deal with it everyday.
- Keep your boundaries: Keep your work-life boundaries well defined at all times. With cloud computing and digital work methods in this 24/7 connected age, it is very easy to feel the work pressure over you at all times, even when you are outside the work zone. Separate your work and leisure deliberately and that can have good effects on your stress level too.
Managing stress at work is a lot about channeling your natural responses and reactions in a better way. If you can apply the techniques above, it would certainly be easy to escape the burning effects of stress at work and increase work productivity.
So take the step and be your own guide in managing work stress. Joseph Rock, PsyD said “When stress starts to grow beyond work – it begins to affect our overall health, both mentally and physically.”