- Mental Health
Develop a Low-Stress Workstyle
Evaluate yourself to determine just how much stress you are under.
If you have any of the following signs of stress on a regular basis, then you need to de-stress. If you’re not sure about your answers, ask a trusted coworker to take a few minutes to assess honestly if they’ve observed any signs that you are suffering from job stress.
How you see yourself
- You have trouble sleeping at night because you’re worried about work.
- You feel anxious about not having time to get all your work done.
- You feel competitive with your co-workers.
- You feel like you don’t have enough time to relax.
- You skip meals, breaks, or vacation time because you have too much work to do.
- You think what you’ll say next while someone else is speaking.
How many of the above reactions have you noticed you exhibit at work?
How a friend sees you
- It seems like you’re pre-occupied whenever people talk to you.
- During conversations, you usually do most of the talking.
- You’re often impatient or irritable over delays that are unavoidable.
- You frequently show a lot of frustration and impatience.
- You seem to get angry easily, even over small problems.
- You often look very tired, with dark circles under your eyes.
How many of the above reactions did your friend observe?
How Do You React
How you react to stress is an essential component to maintaining self-control in all your relationships, including relationships with coworkers!
People who practice a low-stress work style do not feel rushed, impatient, or angry due to delays or stressful situations which are not in their realm of control. They still work hard and get a lot done because they prioritize their work and communicate well with others.
Because they can prioritize and get a lot of work done without creating stress, they still have enough time for family, friends, and leisurely activities. People who practice a high-stress work style tend to feel rushed, irritable, angry, impatient, and unhappy.
The high-stress work style they practice makes them think they are getting ahead, but in the long run it leads to feeling unhappy, overwhelmed, isolated, and being less productive. It may even cause health problems if it goes on long enough.
Attitude really is everything! If you have developed a high-stress work style you can change it with some simple strategies. F or example, someone is supposed to meet you but they are late and don’t call, how you handle it depends on how you view the situation.
It is a reflection on that person, not you. You can become stressed and respond to it as a crisis, blaming that person for “ruining your day,” OR you can “go with the flow” and use the few extra minutes to make a few notes, grab a cup of coffee before the meeting, or make copies of documents you may need in the meeting.
When stress is completely out of control, the stressed person may be explosively irritable, unusually frazzled or have an unkempt appearance, miss a lot of work, exhibit appetite changes, or begin using alcohol and/or drugs.
If you feel like you are experiencing stress and don’t know how to deal with it, please contact your family physician or a mental health professional to help you learn how to de-stress and cope. If you are successful at changing your work style, you will be less tired after work, have more friends, feel more relaxed, and be happier in general.
The First Step
Once you’re aware of the damage a high-stress work-style can do, you can begin to develop a low-stress attitude for those high-stress situations. Unfortunately, developing a low-stress attitude won’t happen overnight—plan on several weeks, to several months to even a year, before your low-stress attitude is fully developed and you are able to generate it automatically. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll realize benefits, so lets begin, and soon you will feel more relaxed, be more creative, be happier, and get more done.
Begin with the first step, and move on to each additional step after the previous one becomes part of your automatic reaction to stressful situations. Take it one-step-at-a-time with less stress.
Techniques & Observations
1. Build your self-confidence. It is the key to success in every area of your life! Begin by taking an inventory of your strengths and accomplishments.
Write down your strengths, reviewing them to see how you contribute to your company’s mission, your neighborhood activities, your community events, your city, and your world.
2. Ask yourself if your reaction will help. When you start feeling yourself beginning to have a high-stress reaction, stop and ask yourself these questions:
- Is it worth the loss of my peace of mind?
- Will it improve my relationship with this person?
- Is it worth losing my self confidence?
- Will it make me more productive?
- Will it matter a month from now?
- Is it worth the potential damage to my health?
3. Figure out what causes you high-stress. Take a step back to see which events trigger your high-stress reactions. Once you identify these events you can begin to spot the potentially stressful events and avoid a high-stress reaction to them.
You can then choose how you will respond, such as deciding not to raise your voice at someone who is angry with you or leaving the room for a few minutes, taking a walk, or meditating to calm down before confronting the high-stress situation.
What do people do that make you react with high-stress?
4. Change how you see things. This is the hardest task to master when adopting a low-stress work style. You must keep the “big picture” in mind without letting daily events trigger a high-stress response.
Looking at the “big picture” allows you to take a step back and make the choice to adopt a low-stress work style instead of being angry and highly stressed.
A little bonus, you get more work done with less stress. Strategies for a Low-Stress Lifestyle.