How to Manage Workplace Stress

How to Manage Workplace Stress

SmartCounseling2020-01-14T06:49:29+00:00January 2nd, 2020|Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Workplace Mental Health|
If you suspect that your stressful job is negatively affecting your physical and emotional health, research shows you are probably right. Workplace stress is linked to poor eating and sleeping habits, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and job burnout [1, 2]. Alarmingly, an Indiana University Kelley School of Business study found that workers who have high-stress jobs and little control over their work have an increased risk of premature death [3].

If you are experiencing workplace stress, there are concrete things you can do to cope. Experiment with different strategies since the right ones for you may take some effort to find. Here are some suggestions:

Be self-aware.

Know yourself and try to choose a career that matches your personality. The American Institute of Stress says that for many police officers, completing paperwork is more stressful than chasing criminals [4]. Your stress level will be less if your job fits your brain’s natural preferences.

Job craft.

Even if you stay in the same job, use”job crafting” to shape the job in a direction that is a better fit for you. Do this by paying attention to what your employer needs in areas that are aligned with your favorite parts of your job. Offer to do more of those things in exchange for reducing the tasks that you enjoy the least.

Move.

If you have a desk job, get up and move around for 5 minutes every hour. A study at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus suggests this can increase your self-perceived energy and vigor and decrease fatigue and food cravings [5].

Take a mini-break.

Calm your brain by learning visualization, meditation, or mindfulness techniques. Even a short mini break during a work day can boost your immune system and protect you from the worst effects of workplace stress [6].

Write.

Try expressive writing or journaling to process negative feelings. Don’t worry about sentence structure, punctuation, spelling or grammar. Just write about your situation, your challenges, and your feelings. People who use expressive writing often report that writing improves their mood and increases insight about how to handle or change their work situation.

If your work environment is truly toxic, consider a job or career change, but any time spent learning and practicing workplace stress management is never wasted since all jobs involve some stress.

Talking with a traditional counselor or an online therapist at SmartCounseling.com can help you learn and practice more ways to manage your stress. Your health is worth the effort.

Sources
[1] The workplace and health
https://harvardgazette.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/npr-rwjf-harvard-workplace-and-health-poll-report.pdf
[2] Stress at work
http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/job-stress.aspx
[3] Worked to death? IU study says lack of control over high-stress jobs can lead to early grave
http://archive.news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2016/10/worked-to-death-job-control-mortality.shtml
[4] Workplace stress
https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/
[5] Effect of frequent interruptions of prolonged sitting on self-perceived levels of energy, mood, food cravings and cognitive function
https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-016-0437-z
[6] Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response