Manage Stress in Workplace and Life
According to Sydney J. Harris, the best time to relax is when you do not have time for it. This is a very suitable definition of stress which can further be explained as the physical, mental or emotional strain experienced by a person due to certain external, internal or self-made factors.
There are several causes of stress which include: -
· Work stress (for example heavy workload, long working hours, dissatisfaction with the job etc.)
· Life stress (events like marriage, divorce, death of a loved one or birth of a baby have big impact on life)
· Self-created stress (fear, imagination, expectations which are products of a person’s behaviour also causes a significant amount of stress)
David Allen once remarked in a lecture that most of the stress that people feel are not because they have a lot to do, rather it is because they do not finish what they have started. Stress is a part of everyone’s life and work. Some stress can be motivational and productive (eustress) and some can be harmful for health, heart and brain (distress).
Distress may have minor to severe impacts on your body and brain. Physical signs such as headache, fatigue, sleeping disorders, indigestion etc. are often associated with short-term exposure to stress. Depression, high blood pressure, weight gain or loss, fertility issues, heart disease and possibilities or heart attacks are all caused as well as triggered by long-term exposure to stress.
It is often said by the researchers that our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over other. Hence it is very important to know how can we have better control over our stress.
It is very necessary to identify the sources of the stress in your life. It may not be always very easy to identify the stressors in your life but with close look at your habits, attitudes and thoughts you can identify your true sources of stress easily. When the source of the stress is identified one should deal with it directly. The CEO of Amazon pointed out in one of the interviews with Academy of Achievement that stress primarily dominates those people who are not taking action over something they can have control over.
The best way of gaining a control over stress is by replacing unhealthy strategies with healthy one. Often people adopt smoking, drinking, taking pills, sleeping too much to cope up with stress which is very unhealthy for a person’s daily life. This should be replaced by healthy habits like taking a break, or sweating the stress away through proper exercise, getting adequate sleep, socializing and talking to your family members. Meditation is considered as one of the greatest cure for stress. Indiegogo founder Slava Rubin said that countering stress with spirituality means more than just engaging in meditation. He told the Observer, speaking about how his Jewish faith shapes his daily life that the entrepreneurial life is very hectic. And he thinks it’s helpful to find some grounding which come from the meditation.
Although some stressors are not recognisable but some are predictable and can be handled with the rule of the 4 A’s – Avoid, alter, accept and adapt. We should learn to avoid certain unnecessary stresses and alter then accordingly so that they can be transformed from distress to eustress. The unavoidable stresses should be accepted and we should train ourselves to deal with them and adapt ourselves accordingly.
The best way to handle stress is by keeping yourself engaged in something you love to do and connecting with others. Eckhart Tolle rightly pointed that stress is caused by being “here” but when you want to be “there. Therefore, it is very necessary to take time out for yourselves in your busy schedule to lessen the burden of your personal or work life.
Stress and work always go hand in hand and there is a point in most human being’s life when stress become detrimental to one’s health. A recent study by the British Heart Foundation shows that every two out of five employees say that their health and their habits are affected by the stress at work.
Therefore, every organization should realize that putting excessive stress on their employees by making them work long hours or putting excessive workload will after all lessen the productivity of the company. NIOSH recognises job stress as the physical or emotional responses that takes place in a person’s life when the demands from the job does not match the capabilities, resources and the needs of the worker.
Workplace pressure is often unavoidable due to the changing contemporary work environment. Pressure on one hand can keep the employees motivated and give then a focus and direction to work. But on the other hand, when a person cannot take this pressure it converts to stress which can damage employee’s health and the business performance. This narrow line between eustress and distress in work depends upon an individual’s capability to handle stress, his personal characteristics and health conditions.
The managers or the employers can follow these five simple rules so that their employees are not overburdened with work pressure: -
1. Give them a clear vision- Maintaining transparency about the goals and the work of the organization and how the roles assigned to an individual may help the company gives the employees a peace of mind as they know where they need to focus.
2. Employees should be offered flexible work environments where everyone is allowed to speak and listen to one another’s ideas and experiment with their creativity and skills. Interaction is the best way to reduce stress.
3. Multitasking makes it difficult for the brain to focus and should be strictly discouraged by the employers. It is proven that short breaks between works help the brain to recharge and regain focus on the work.
4. The employers should encourage the employees to do regular exercise and meditation to lessen the stress factor in their lives and to make then stay focussed.
5. Team leaders should encourage team bonding so that work can be equally divided between the members. This will cause less pressure and would reduce the workload on individual members.
Stress is right now an integral part of life and according to a report by Make It Cheaper, 47% of the people around you are feeling stressed right now. The most successful people find effective ways to cope up with the pressure and lead normal lives.