Tips For Managing Stress At Work

What happens when you over speed for a long time? The engine heats up and turns off. If you do a lot of multi-tasking on your computer, it hangs and eventually crashes. Similarly, there is a force which encapsulates you when you perform lot of things at the same time: stress! Research suggests that stress is like a silent killer which stalks you, consciously and unconsciously, and can have traumatizing effects on you.

Analysis of the data collected by various organisations shows around three quarter of global population suffer from symptoms related to stress, whether physical or psychological. Most of them find it hard to make their ends meet, and the enormous amount of work: which adds to their stress. Countries and organization, which invest a lot in health care program, spend nearly 300 billion annually on stress related health issues and employee time off work.

A Hungarian endocrinologist, Hans Selye, developed a theoretical model to explain the different stages in stress or how we respond to stress. He named this General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), which breaks the whole process in to three stages; alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

  • The first stage, alarm (also known as fight or flight response), where you become aware of the trouble coming your way. Your brain sends signal (alarm) to the whole body to stand guard. Two obvious response would be to prepare to fight or to stay low.
  • The next stage, resistance (or denial), where one tends to remain in a prolonged state of aggression or defence: protesting the fact that the he is the one in a really bad situation. “Is it really happening?” you wonder. “Why is this happening with you?” yells your voice inside.  Eventually, you are exhausted and you give up: the third and final stage.
  • The last stage usually involves learning to deal with stress or getting a nervous breakdown: either a reboot or crashing.

So how can you deal with it?

A bulk of your problems start when you fuddle your brain with information which you can easily capture on paper or on digital notepads and to-do lists. Apparently, listing your tasks down will help you to evaluate and prioritise your work. An archer can’t hit two or more arrows in the middle if he nocks all of them at the same time; he does it by taking one shot at a time. Leave the multi-tasking for computer systems and not for yourself. Like your tasks list, you can decide to prioritise or eliminate disruptions. Every phone call, chat ping, query, or email is an interruption and you have to realise that you are in control of it. It may sound hard initially, but you can set boundaries to everything you do. You are a human being and not a fictional super hero, so don’t shy away from seeking help or delegating. This will not make you less competitive, rather help you connect with others.

Whether an associate or a manager, the only way to connect more and create less trouble is by being sensible, yet practical: in short be respectful. What goes around, comes around. Think twice before you speak, if you spread good feelings those will be reciprocated. On the other hand, if you criticise or share bad emotions then you will get those back. Cultivate good relations all around: helps you stay positive and make your surroundings conducive to work better. You live to work or work to live: don’t forget to eat healthy (which rejuvenates your body) and sleep well (which relaxes your mind). Last but not the least, share time with loved ones and make time for your hobbies, perhaps over the weekend.

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” ~ Sydney J. Harris


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