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Managing Job Stress

Updated on July 20, 2010

Place Pictures of Peaceful Scenes in Work Space

Job stress is a frequent topic today in all work environments. Constant changes in work place technology, long commutes, and short deadlines for completing complex job tasks are just some of the reasons contributing to job stress. Job stress may not be immediately obvious but it is a slow process that erodes enthusiasm for the job as well as physical and mental health. Here are some ways to manage job stress and balance your daily life.

  1. Enjoy your smallest achievements. Some persons believe that only large successes are worth noting; however, large successes are built on an accumulation of small achievements over time. At the end of each day, think of the positive things that occurred. Did you handle your routine well today? Are your co-workers and supervisor listening more to your ideas? Develop the habit of not leaving your job until you have thought of one positive thing that happened to you that day, even if it was arriving at work without sitting in a traffic backup. Use a diary to record these thoughts.
  2. Participate in leisure activities that are different from those activities you perform on the job. If your work time is spent interacting with people constantly, then enjoy leisure activities that are more solitary.
  3. Laugh. There are few things that happen that do not have a humorous side. Laughing takes the gravity out of difficult situations. If you do not have a spontaneous sense of humor, find a friend whose good-natured humor you can share.
  4. Develop a wide network of friends and colleagues who can provide support and assistance to you. If your network is large, you will not always be requesting assistance from the same person.
  5. Keep your job in perspective. Your job is only part of who you are or what you do. You are more complex than your job. How important will your current job problems appear in the entire scheme of your life ten years from now? What other goals do you have for yourself? Are you developing other skills, leisure pursuits, or becoming active in your community? Can your network of friends and colleagues help you find another job or other activities?
  6. If your deadlines are short, find out what it will take to complete the job(s) and, then, request assistance with completing the job or recommend another deadline when you will definitely have the job completed. Control your deadlines as much as possible.
  7. Practice mindfulness based relaxation exercises that include guided imagery, meditation, yoga, or other techniques. These can be learned in workshops or from available tapes. These exercises can be practiced for 10 to 15 minutes each day before, during, or after work. These exercises not only relax you but, practiced over a period of time, give you a feeling of connection to your environment and everyone around you. This feeling of connection counteracts the feeling of isolation that can come from regular job stress. Obtain a free step-by-step meditation course by clicking on Obtain information about yoga on
  8. Surrender those things you cannot attain with good faith and effort on the job. If certain ideas you have are not accepted by your supervisor or co-workers or you cannot attain the promotion you want, there may be a waiting period. You may find yourself in time attaining what you want. You are not giving up. You are just going with the flow. You have faith that the right time will come for you to be recognized.
  9. If you are not busy or feel "stuck", volunteer to do additional job tasks so that you can change your daily routine, learn new skills, and increase your enthusiasm for your job. If you cannot find other job tasks, even making small changes in your routine can help increase job satisfaction.
  10. Redefine "job stress". Difficulties on a job can be seen as challenges. Challenges help you to learn and grow. Challenges can even make your life more interesting and provide new opportunities for you. Leave work saying "I have had my challenges for the day, but I will find ways to handle them tomorrow".
  11. Make your work space feel like a safe, calm haven by placing pictures of peaceful scenes, a favorite vacation spot, or a favorite pet or other subject near your desk.
  12. Take regular walks on nature trails and notice the natural settings around you. Paying attention to plants, trees, streams, and birds can make you feel relaxed and calm. Even walking around your neighborhood for 15 minutes each day and concentrating on wooded or landscaped areas can be refreshing.
  13. Help your co-workers to problem solve on their jobs. You will forget your job stressors while you are being helpful.

Even if you are encountering a great deal of stress on your current job and have decided to seek another job, these stress management techniques can help you tolerate your current work environment while you are seeking other employment.

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    • profile image

      jolie 8 years ago

      good stuff. i will try to remember these ideas the next time i am employed.

    • profile image

      barbara powell 8 years ago

      good job

    • profile image

      Karen Rose, LICSW 8 years ago

      Extremely useful and well written article . I like the fact that it gives people practical advice on how best to cope with job stress. I would recommend it to my clients who are struggling with work related issues.

    • profile image

      Fran Corn MSW, LCSW 8 years ago

      wonderful article on creative ideas for the workplace that is both readable and informative. I would highly recommend it to my mental health clients who have work reated problems.

    • CrystalStarWoman profile image

      CrystalStarWoman 8 years ago from Pevensey Bay, East Sussex, England

      Nice hub :)