Posted on May 22nd, 2006

Stress in the workplace has taken off as a main complaint around the world. There are many different reasons for this. Because of its importance in the context of stress generally, I have decided to write this article to help you deal with stress at work. I have a particular interest in it anyway, because of my work in coaching business people.

Let me say from the outset that it is impossible to teach people to overcome stress completely in a single article. However, it is helpful in itself for people to be aware of the dangers of stress and to take minor steps to reduce its impact. On the other hand, it will not help you at all if you fail to take it on board and make the advice it contains part of your life. I urge you to take this article seriously.

  1. Clarify your role: This may sound obvious, but a great deal of unnecessary stress is caused to people at work because they have not taken the time to find out how best to do their jobs. Stress in the workplace has taken off as a main complaint around the world. There are many different reasons for this. Because of its importance in the context of stress generally, I have decided to write this article to help you deal with stress at work. I have a particular interest in it anyway, because of my work in coaching business people.

    Make sure you know the purpose of what you do, in relation to other processes in your place of work. Know where you fit in the grand scheme of things. Then check with your boss or line manager that your thinking is right. Note if he or she says something different. Use the opportunity to ask what your priority tasks should be in cases where you have too little time to deal with every outstanding matter.

  2. Make lists: Help yourself to do a better job by preparing a list of things to do in the course of each day. Make preparing it your first job, or the last of the previous day. Then make a note of the priority of each task on the list. A good plan is to find the most important and put a figure “1” by it. Then look for the next most important and mark it “2”, and so on.

    If you run out of time and have some items left on your list at the end of the day, simply carry them forward to the next day’s list.

  3. Take a break: When I worked as a lawyer, I recall abandoning the time that was taken by everyone in the office for a mid-morning break. It was a very bad move on my part. Just as we need time to recover physically from physical work, so we need time to recover from mental work.

  4. Eat away from your desk or work bench: Make a point of taking your lunch away from where you work. A change of scenery (however uninspiring it may be) will enhance the benefit of the break that lunch involves. Whatever happens, never eat while you are still working.

  5. Resist offers of tea or coffee: Tea, coffee and Coke drinks contain caffeine, and should be avoided at work, unless you so enjoy your work that stress is not an issue. (In that case, why are you reading this article?) Avoid drinking soft drinks containing sugar or artificial sweeteners too. Plain water, preferably warmed, is best for you if you suffer from stress.

  6. Turn off the music: Provided you are not going to cause a riot from other workers, turn off any music occasionally. Restful music can be relaxing, but a good deal of music is far from relaxing. Moreover, small loudspeakers and low quality reproduction equipment can distort sound so much that it becomes stressful. Learn to appreciate the peace that relative silence brings when music is turned off.

  7. Communicate: It is good to talk to others when you are feeling under pressure, but try not to speak in negative terms to them. Make a joke of things and keep the conversation light.

  8. Achieve Balance: Learn to say no to offers of overtime, if it will interfere with quality time with your family. For the same reason, resist the temptation to work at weekends if you can. Balance your priorities. Earning enough to pay the bills is important, but not as important as investing time in your family.

  9. Meditate: When things get too much for you, try to take yourself to somewhere quiet and do some meditation. This may save you a migraine headache later. In any case, it is good proactive practice to aim to do some meditation (5 to 20 minutes) each day, probably at home. This will provide you with a kind of protective cushion during the next 24 hours.

    There are many ways to meditate, but here is a very easy way to do it, and this one is just like worrying, but without the worry. You know how, when you worry, you tend to keep saying or thinking the same thing to yourself over and over again? Well that is exactly what you do in this meditation.

    Practise it once or twice a day. Good times are before breakfast and before dinner.

    a. Sit quietly in a comfortable position. It is best to put your feet flat on the floor and have your hands resting on your lap, palms upwards.

    b. Shut your eyes.

    c. Relax your muscles progressively starting with your head and face and moving down to your feet, finally tensing the whole of your body and then relaxing everything at once.

    d. Ensure that you are breathing slowly and evenly.

    e. Begin saying the word, “one” to yourself silently every time you breathe out.

    f. Consciously exclude all thoughts. If an idea begins to intrude into your mind, chase if off gently and dismiss it. Concentrate on your breathing and on the word, “one”.

    g. Do this for up to 20 minutes. Time will seem to pass quickly once you are meditating properly so it is best to set an alarm to warn you when time is up.

    h. When the time is up, continue sitting, eyes closed, for a minute or two, allowing your thoughts to return in their own time. Then open your eyes and remain seated for another minute before rising.

  10. Keep a Stress Diary: It is both useful for future prevention of stress, and therapeutic in itself, to maintain a diary of stressful events at work. You should aim to make an entry every hour or so, and whenever something happens to stress you seriously. Record how you feel at the time of the entry, the time of the entry, what has happened to upset you and how you dealt with it.

Although this article has copyright, you are more than welcome to put it in a newsletter or ezine, or to post in on a website, provided you include the resource box below and make no change to the text.

Copyright: StressKill 2005

Stuart E. Nelson (http://www.LifeCoaching4You.com) specialises in teaching business owners and their staff how to make more money yet have more time, and in helping people to find balance in their lives. He does this by concentrating on the elimination of stress, and the building of supportive environments. Let the author of “Potential for Harm” and the founder of “Success Story”, the FREE newsletter, help you to find better balance in your life, happiness and fulfilment and to grow the profitability of your business. Request your copy of “Success Story” today!

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