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How to reduce stress in workplace and life

Updated on September 19, 2014
C.V.Rajan profile image

C.V.Rajan is a retired Engineer and a spiritual seeker.With inquisitive observation of life, he writes on several human relationship issues.

Are you haunted by excessive work pressure?
Are you haunted by excessive work pressure? | Source

What is stress? Stress, according to definition in physics, is load per unit area. The stress becomes more either if the load is more or if the load bearing area is less. Stress in life can also be fitted to this definition. If the load a person takes -- be it work in the profession or the responsibilities carried in life -- increases and his “bearing area”, namely, mental capacity to take up the “load” is limited, he gets more stressed!

So, to reduce stress, either work load must be reduced or mental capacity or resilience to bear the load has to be increased. Here are seven ways to reduce stress based on the above simple generic idea:

Tone Down Ambitions

Wants create desires; desire, when fueled with more and more wants, grows into ambition and then to greed. Western concept of growth measures success by external (materialistic) achievements and it encourages ambition as a desirable quality; on the other hand, eastern concept of growth encompasses spiritual growth which measures success by peace, contentedness and tranquility.

Ambition is the mother of stress. The more ambitious you are, the more you load yourself with work, responsibilities and challenges. If you want to cut out stress, you must tone down your ambitions; reduce your goals. If you are all along running and consequently panting, switch over to walking!

Don’t be a Perfectionist

Doing something to the best of your ability is different from being a perfectionist. Doing something to 99% perfection will be most acceptable in many cases in comparison with 100% perfection as per your own standards.

Perfectionists become insatiable; they lose time in perfecting something and in this process, fall behind committed schedules; falling behind time schedules puts the perfectionist under more pressure and consequently more stress.

Perfectionists find delegation too difficult. When things are done by someone else who does not live up to the standards, he gets upset, irritated and worked up - he gets stressed.

The way out is to tone down standards from “impeccable” to “tolerable”; accepting and digesting some amount of imperfection from yourself and also from others can pave the way for a drastic reduction in stress.


Delegate More

Very knowledgeable and efficient people get stressed too much because they think only they know the nitty-gritty of doing the task. Delegation requires recruiting the right people to work for them; training them up well to handle the task; giving them enough power and freedom to act; having a trust in their capacity of output; providing quality checks; and above all tolerating some amount of imperfection, as already said earlier.

If you are stressed and you are not in a position to delegate simply because you can’t afford to (due to financial or other constraints), then you should not bite off more than you can chew. You must take up only that much of work which you can do well within the committed time. YOu should never undertake fresh work where there is excessive pressure already on timely delivery, quality or quantity in your previously committed workload.

Avoid Comparisons

Your life, living standards, goals and ambitions, tastes, luxuries, likes and dislikes - are yours. Your neighbor or colleague need not be a bench mark for you to compare or compete with. His financial status, social status or spending pattern need not be yours. If you have to compare at all, you should rather compare yourself with those who are less privileged than you, with those whose lives are more peaceful and less complicated than yours.

Acknowledge and accept your limitations
Acknowledge and accept your limitations | Source

Know Personal Limitations

Whatever be your area of competence and excellence might be, there will unfortunately be the play of egotism in you which may prompt you to imagine yourself to be greater than what you truly are. For every truly number-one position of tennis players, there will be at least be several tens of players far below in the rank who strongly believe that they deserve the number one slot. But their true capabilities and merits cannot really take them there, however hard they may try.

In the scheme of nature, all are not endowed with same set of skills and resources. If you are capable of judging yourself correctly, you will not fritter away your time and energy in pursuing something beyond your reach. You will be freed from the stress of chasing the unachievable in your life.

The above idea is again quite contrary to what “great positive thinkers” popularly advise. Pragmatic thinking rather than positive thinking can contribute immensely in cutting out stress.

Be Moderate in All Activities

Be it eating, drinking, sex, profession, money, fame or recognition, moderation is the key to stress-free life. Eat moderately; sleep moderately; work moderately; have sex moderately. Avoid unnecessary travel. Remember that incessant traveling taxes physical health by upsetting body rhythms, which in turn causes stress.

Spend moderately. Never run behind unwanted materialistic accumulation. This is a time-tested age-old wisdom which is unfortunately forgotten in today's Credit Card culture. By disciplining your lifestyle to ensure spending only within earning, you may lose short-term pleasures, but you will enjoy a stress-free life in the long run.

Have faith in God's hand coming to your help
Have faith in God's hand coming to your help | Source

Have Faith in Divine Dispensation:

Those who have strong faith in God - a higher power governing all, can grasp better than non-believers that the divine scheme of things is mostly beyond human comprehension. There is quite some truth in the saying “Man proposes, and God disposes”.

Surrender to that force. This surrender helps you to accept and be content about the cards you have received and you can play to the best of your ability the cards available in your hands. A true believer can accept with humility the outcome of the game. This surrender and dependence on God can immensely help in taking the stress off. Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi used to say “When you are traveling in a train, will you still carry your luggage on your shoulders?


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    • profile image

      johnnyjkj 3 months ago

      Hi Sir,

      This is John, age 35. I'm working in IT environment. Here it full of heavy work load and stress. I can't able to stay calm even during weekends due to calls and work even in the weekend.I'm not married yet, and marriage proposals are not fruitful and this also adds up to the pressure. I have High BP and on medication 'Alopathy'. I like to switch on to Ayurvedic medicine because of the some side effects in Alopathy. I heard in Kerala, Ayurvedic treatment are good. In cities, they are cheating like anything.

      Please suggest list some good treatment centre.

    • OTEE profile image

      OTEE 5 years ago from India


      I know that I've been contradictory.

      ... surrender to what? ... perhaps my wife? :) I'd willingly surrender, if only she's willing to carry me / my burden.

      Actually I believe that man created God (The Divine) so that he could surrender.

    • C.V.Rajan profile image

      Disillusioned 5 years ago from Kerala, India

      Thanks Otee.

      Your last line was intriguing!

      Suppose I say, 'though I don't think there is no such thing existing as darkness, I do however believe in absence of light', it amounts to same thing!

      If there is no divine entity, where can I surrender? To my wife, perhaps!



    • OTEE profile image

      OTEE 5 years ago from India

      One of your most useful hubs Mr Rajan. I found myself nodding my head to every point that you made - even the point on "Have Faith in Divine Dispensation". Though I do not think that there is a Divine entity, I do believe in surrendering...

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Stress is so destroying and destructive and as you pointed out it could be avoided.

    • C.V.Rajan profile image

      Disillusioned 7 years ago from Kerala, India

      Thank you Nazir!

    • NNazir profile image

      Nauman Nazir 7 years ago from Pakistan

      I believe You have pointed out some very important factors which cause stress. very beneficial article.