3 ways to feel calmer in the face of work stress
Via Net Doctor : 64% of people admit to feeling constantly stressed on the job
Levels of workplace strain have never been higher, with an estimated 64% of UK residents admitting to being constantly stressed whilst on the job. As deadlines approach and tensions run high towards the end of the year, it can sometimes be difficult to keep rising tempers and ongoing irritations at bay.
Here, Niklas Forser, business coach and co-founder at personal development and mental wellbeing app Remente, offers his tips on keeping calm when it all feels too much:
Why do we get stressed at work?
Stress is a combination of two things: emotional pressure and physical symptoms. Whenever you feel stressed, your body begins to produce the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
A little bit of stress isn’t always a bad thing but if you are feeling stressed over a prolonged period of time it can have a negative effect on both your physical and mental wellbeing.
“Stress in the workplace is primarily due to feeling out of control. For example, stress can occur when you feel that you are working exceptionally hard, but not seeing an end goal – a full mailbox is a good example; you might feel like you are handling the situation and filtering them away, but they just keep coming, or if you do not understand where the company or department is heading. When we are not seeing what our efforts are leading to, we stop believing that it matters what we do, as the effect seems to be the same in the end. It is therefore of great importance that the management team is clear about the company vision and the specific and individual goals. It is only with the goal in place that we can think of ways of achieving it and knowing that our actions are having an effect. With this in place, work stress will be released and you will feel happier in the workplace.”
1. Assess the problem
When you come across a work issue, the first thing to do is to assess whether ‘the issue’ is really a problem and, if so, whether it is something that only you are experiencing. If that is the case, then ask yourself why you are treating the situation as an issue and if you would see it differently from someone else’s point of view.
“Most issues at work stem from the lack of good communication and as communication means sharing, it is likely that at least two parties are experiencing the same problems. By first trying to understand the other person’s point of view and then conveying yours, you will increase the chances of resolving the problem at hand much quicker.”
However, if you find that even after speaking with your colleague your issues are still unresolved, you should speak to someone more senior.
“In situations where a colleague has bullied, intimidated or discriminated against you, you should always take the issue further as that behaviour is not tolerated in the work place. Another good indicator that you should take action is if you know that your work will suffer because of an existing conflict, but if possible, try and resolve issues internally, in a calm manner.”
2. Step back
Get perspective – take a step back and look at the whole picture. If you are feeling stressed because, say, you don’t have enough time to do all your tasks, you could try writing all of them down, separating them into categories, prioritising tasks within each category and then scheduling when you should do what. Once you have the list in order, work through it step by step and your stress levels should abate.
“A great way to stay calm and not lose your head in a frustrating work situation is to always focus on solutions. A lot of the time, work stress can make us feel as if there is no possible solution and that we are trapped in a situation. Always thinking about possible solutions will not only keep you calm and rational, but will also help you solve the problem at hand.”
It’s also important to learn the art of letting go. Often, when we lose control in a stressful situation, it isn’t just the immediate issue, but an accumulation of little stresses and thoughts that crowd our head, which eventually break free and make us lose control. Be sure that every time you experience a stressful situation, even if it relatively small, that you learn to stop fixating on it: take a few deep breaths and imagine the stress physically leaving your body.
“Couple this with self-awareness. A lot of the time the things that cause us stress are reoccurring situations or certain behaviours from people around us. Once you identify what these are, you can raise your self-awareness, providing yourself with a list of behaviours to choose from – listening, breathing deeply, taking time before coming to a decision or drinking a glass of water. Over time, these will become your natural responses and you won’t feel like you are about to lose your calm.”
3. Take a break
If you are constantly stressed, it is important to do something about it outside of a working environment. Exercising the body can help you change your mental state, but if you find it hard to sleep or are constantly exhausted and on edge – even before you get into work – then you should think about taking some time off.
“If you lose focus, not just in your work but also in your personal life, it is definitely time to take a break. You might find that the stresses you are experiencing are so all-encompassing, that you can’t focus on what your partner tells you, or you forget significant dates in your family. Losing focus can lead to not only making mistakes at work, but also causes strain between you and your loved ones.”
If you are worried about your stress levels, or feel that your mental health is suffering as a result of your work, visit your GP.
Remente is a free-to-use personal development platform for individuals and businesses. The app combines psychology with brain and mental training to help users reach their full potential, complete personal goals, and lead a healthier lifestyle.
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