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How to handle stress at work

Updated on September 14, 2014

Handling stress at work

Its very unlikely that there is anyone out there who hasn't had to deal with at least some level of stress in their lives. Being stressed is one thing, having to work once your in that state of mind is yet another.

If stress at work is something that you just cant seem to get away from, probably now is a good time to take some action. Waiting to solve this problem can go as far as causing you health problems with your heart and affecting your immune system.
Below are some actions that you can take immediately to help make reduce the stress your feeling:


1. Find out what it is that is causing you stress : the stress you feel could be a result of a multitude of things that affect your during your work day. This could be because you have way too much to handle on any given day. This could be because your constantly in the spotlight and need to consistently perform at a very high standard or level of quality often under the watchful gaze of a supervisor or clients. Your first step is to determine what it is that causes you to feel stressed.


2. Once you've determined what the root cause of your stress is then its time to handle these one by one, one on one. If you've already done the exercise of trying to determine what it is that is causing you stress, you may have noticed all the various causes of stress often are a manifestation of one or more underlying issues. For example, the reason you feel stressed is because you always have too much on your plate and this might be because you find it difficult to say no to your boss, because you in turn, feel that he may think of you as being not so productive. Similarly when you are often in the spotlight to perform, maybe in front of an audience/clients, the stress is because your afraid you may not do a good enough job and hence the fear of not being liked/accepted by the audience. In the end, the only thing you really need to work on is your fear of not being liked, and that should help reduce the stress you feel and empower you to productively reduce your workload by discussing priorities with you boss.

3. Breathing exercises work. Yoga is great but just for starters you might want to consider doing nothing else but just sitting in a chair and breathing in deep, holding your breath for 5 seconds and then letting it out. As silly as it may sound, this has the ability to really calm your nerves. Try it. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, hold it for about 5 seconds, and then release.

4. Did you know that all that caffeine you take in not only helps you stay awake to work longer but can also increase your stress. Go easy on the caffeine. Work as much as you can naturally. Your body will tell you when it needs a break and it would be best to listen to it. If you really need to drink something to keep going, why not try water. Once you get the hang of constantly drinking water in small quantities throughout the day, you will find it difficult to stop the habit.

5. Regular exercise. There is nothing to replace regular exercise. Go to the gym, attend yoga classes, or just go for a walk everyday for at least 30 minutes. It will do wonders to your mood and mindset. If possible try to workout in the morning, no matter what your mode of workout. These have shown to also have the best benefits throughout the day. As you've already heard plenty of times, exercise releases endorphins, pumps blood to your brain, brings in oxygen to help stay calm and just plain happy.

6. In today's work we all seem to work as hard as we can. And that's a good thing. Working hard and to the best of our ability will really make sure you lead and happy and fulfilling life. But always remember that your body knows when it needs a break. Your mind knows when it needs to relax. Pay attention to these alerts. Give yourself the break you need. Pamper yourself.

7. Feel free to ask for help. If you think you cant handle a specific set of tasks, always be willing and unafraid to ask for help. This may be from your co workers, your boss or even your clients. Contrary to what most people generally think, asking for help does not necessarily make you seem weak, but opens up the possibility to create a relationship where your giving someone else the opportunity to be of value. Always be willing to return the gift of help to people who come by in your life asking for help as well.

8. Whats the worst that could happen. I know this might not always work for everyone since each person has their own specific circumstances. But very often, the worst that can happen isn't that bad after all. For example, if your worried the work you did on a presentation isn't good enough even though you gave it your all, and your worried your boss may not like it, whats the worst that could happen? Your boss may reprimand you and ask you to work on it again. Your boss may hand over the presentation to someone else in which case you look for the next opportunity to do an even better job now that you have learnt from this experience. At worst, you could lose your job(and that is really pushing it to the heights of imagination at the back of one "not so great" presentation), you will find a way to get ahead be it by finding another job, starting a home based business, or even starting a network marketing business at extremely low cost but tonnes of determination.

9. Always remember that all stress is not bad. Stress that is a result of the fear you feel of failure or embarrassment is definitely not something you want. But there is that feeling of excitement, that thrill you feel when you know you have a challenging project and you know you are going to knock it out of the park. That kind of good stress can really help you perform better keeping you keen and your senses alert.

10. Have you tried talking to someone about the difficulties you face and the stress you feel. Talking to someone in a non judgmental environment can do loads to help you de-stress

11. Try to stop worrying about your day, and whether you will be able to meet the challenge of all that comes through to you. Something that helps reduce the worry is spending about an hour the previous night prioritizing your tasks for the next day.

12. Eat an elephant piece by piece. Doing a large task is always daunting for anyone. Look to try to break out the task to smaller tasks with specific timelines and checkpoints at which you can reward yourself on completion.

13. Sometimes its just one single task in the day that is cause for all the stress. Why not try to complete that one task the first thing in the morning. Even better, if you can work from home, try to complete the task, or at least parts of it before you head of the work. This does wonders in relieving tension.

In the end, your life is more than just your job. Stress and anxiety in your job can rob your life of all the joy and beauty you could experience from family, friends, emotionally and spiritually. Remember, its your job. The job does not own you.

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