Look critically at the way you approach your work. Common causes because of which people come under job stress are:
- Over committing: In order to climb the ladder faster you may be biting more than you can chew. This approach often backfires, because too much on your plate makes you stressed and affects the quality of your work, which in turn can draw criticism and cause more stress.
- Not delegating: Trying to do it all by yourself may be an important reason why you are always overworked. Give your teammates the maximum possible opportunity to do a task even if they are not as perfect as you are.
- Multitasking too much: Multitasking ability is often seen as a highly desirable skill. However, if you frequently find yourself loaded with half-done jobs maybe you are multitasking too much.
- Perfectionism: It's great to give your best, but it's important to realize that you may not be able to do so all the time. Learn to accept "good" instead of "perfect" once in a while.
- Lack of discipline: If you chat when you should be working, you may find yourself working when you should be resting. If you postpone everything for tomorrow, naturally tomorrow is going to be a difficult day. You can hardly afford to not plan your day or not stick to your plan if you want to keep stress at bay.
The Way You Communicate
Much stress and confusion is caused because people fail to, or do not have the opportunity to communicate clearly with their managers, teams, and clients. Some common communication pitfalls are:
- Lack of clarity about your role: Before you plunge into a job, make sure that you know what is expected from you. You may be working very hard at something that is not what your manager or client has in mind. It surely is a definite recipe for stress for both parties.
- Not communicating your expectations: If you have certain expectations from you manager, communicate them as far as possible. Assert yourself beforehand rather than feeling dejected when your expectations are not met.
The Way you Think
Changing the way you think about a certain situation can greatly reduce the amount of stress that it is causing. By this we do not mean that stress is all in your head, but, yes what's going on in your head can affect the degree of stress that you are experiencing.
- Put it in the right perspective: Most of us work for very clear reasons, the most common and important of which is to earn a living. If you always stay aware of the reason why you are working, you will be able to look at your workplace problems more objectively. Many times accepting that there are certain things that you cannot change immediately can help you feel much less frustrated about them.
- Stay Positive: Become aware of the thoughts that are making you feel bad about yourself. It will turn out that they are only a part of the whole picture. When what's going wrong makes you feel terrible, list down all that is going right in your life which you may be taking for granted.
Your Physical Environment
When you are flooded with work it helps to have the right working environment. Uncomfortable working conditions worsen the physical symptoms of stress such as headache and muscle pain. Fixing these seemingly small issues can help much more than you think. Some of the things that you must avoid are:
- Wrong chair: Your chair should provide the right kind of back support and be at the right height. Your eyes should be at the right level with the computer screen.
- Too much noise or light: Noise can remarkably reduce efficiency by not letting you focus. Glare on your desk can cause eye strain.
- Poorly functioning work equipment: A printer that doesn't work can substantially add to frustration and irritability. These seemingly trivial issues must be solved to keep unnecessary stress away.
- Too much clutter: A clean environment has an instantly calming effect. Removing junk from your work environment will make you feel more organized and in control.
The food-mind connection is a scientifically proven phenomenon. What you eat does influence the way you think and how you react to situations.
- Stress Reducing Food: Some nutrients such as Vitamin C, lycopene, omega-3 fatty acids and CoQ10 have been reported to help people stay calmer in stressful situations. You can find a good dose of these in citrus fruits, tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, nuts and fish. Or you can ask your family doctor to recommend a dietary supplement containing the right amount of these nutrients. Bananas are also known to have a stress busting effect by providing a shot of potassium and promoting serotonin release in brain. Try having them for breakfast or as a snack during the day when work makes you burst with stress.
- Don't Eat Junk to De-stress: A large number of people indulge in feel-good eating to bring down their stress level. Sadly, if this de-stress method becomes a habit, it can cause more distress in the long run. Unhealthy eating pulls down your energy level, causes gastrointestinal problems, irritability, mood swings and leaves you ill-equipped to deal with stress. Not to mention the long term ill effects on health and the added stress caused by an expanding waistline. So when you reach for desserts to feel better, remind yourself Desserts is just Stressed spelt backwards!
Deep breathing can instantly soothe frayed nerves. Mastering the art of breathing right can keep you calm by stopping you from taking rapid, shallow breaths that make your heart beat faster.
Oils of chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rose, and thyme are all soothing and are known to produce a calming effect. Keep a vial in your desk or put some in your handkerchief. Take a whiff when you feel stressed.
It has been proven beyond doubt that regular exercise makes you psychologically and physically better equipped to deal with stressful situations. A short brisk walk or even just getting up from your chair to stretch your muscles can dissipate a lot of stress.
Acupressure is the technique of stimulating some pressure points with fingers in order to heal certain conditions. You can try using acupressure to relieve stress by pressing on the following three points. Apply firm, steady pressure just enough to cause a mild ache but not pain. Press on each point for two to three minutes.
- Between your eyebrows, in the indentation where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead.
- On the back of the neck slightly below the base of the skull, about half an inch to the left or right of the spine.
- Half an inch below the top of each shoulder, midway between the base of the neck and the outside of the shoulder blade.
Don't Quit in a Hurry
It's okay to quit an overwhelmingly stressful job, but it should be a carefully thought out step rather than a reaction to stress. There is often little guarantee that your next job will be any less stressful and unemployment can be far more stressful than the most stressful of jobs.
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