Did you know that a shocking 77% of US adults regularly experience physical symptoms of stress? That's an awfully high percentage and while the sources of stress are different for every person, work-related issues are often a common factor.
Workplace stress can damage employees and employers alike. In fact, US businesses lose more than $300 billion a year due to lower productivity, absenteeism, and medical and legal costs. This is why managing stress at work is so important.
Here's a closer look at how to manage stress using stress management techniques and stress management tips.
Stress Management Techniques
If you are looking to conquer stress management in the workplace, follow these essential tips.
- Exercise regularly
Regular exercise can help to manage the stress in your life and improve your overall mental health. Studies have shown that exercise can eliminate tension throughout your body while improving the quality of your sleep and raising your self-esteem.
Exercise also leads to the release of endorphins. These are the natural "feel-good" hormones in your body and they can really lift your mood. Those endorphins give you the power to approach stressful situations with a more positive mindset.
- Watch what you eat
The food that you eat can have a very significant impact on your mood and the way that you feel. If you eat a diet that is full of sugar and artificial sweeteners, your cortisol levels will be elevated. This hormone can lead to a host of issues like sleep issues and headaches that affect your mood.
You should try to cut out foods with added sugars. This will put your body in the best possible position to combat stress.
- Try to keep a positive attitude
Our thoughts often move in cycles and without us realizing, we can quickly get caught in destructive thought patterns. You should try to remain conscious of your thoughts and identify any negative cycles.
This can help you to try and adjust your thoughts to put an end to those cycles. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a powerful way to change your patterns of thinking and behavior.
- Avoid time management issues
There are few things more stressful than working to tight deadlines. This can cause you to feel like the world is closing in around you and that can trigger your fight or flight response.
If you can, you should try to identify and preempt any time management issues. Make sure that you give yourself adequate amounts of time to complete your tasks at work.
- Set aside time for your hobbies
Life is a delicate balancing act. You've got to make sure that work doesn't consume your entire life, so it's very important that you dedicate appropriate amounts of time to your hobbies. This can help you to take a break from work and break the cycle of stress.
You should make sure that you don't neglect your hobbies and passions. Don't ever put them aside or you might find that you lose an important sense of perspective.
- Manage your sleep hygiene
Countless people in the US struggle with sleep issues. Many of those issues have their roots in poor sleep hygiene. This refers to effectively establishing a predictable and organized bedtime routine.
You should make sure that you develop good habits around sleep. This means creating a comfortable and relaxing environment, avoiding stimulation before bedtime, and turning out the lights at the right time - no telephones in your room!
- Don't turn toward unhealthy solutions to stress
If you can feel stress bubbling beneath the surface, it will inevitably find an outlet. You've got to capitalize on stress and make sure that you find a productive way to handle it.
You should avoid being guided to unhealthy or unproductive solutions to your stress. Many people mismanage their stress and turn to other vices like overeating, escapism, alcohol, or destructive thought patterns.
- Unwind with friends and family
We are social creatures and relationships are perhaps the most important thing in our lives. You should turn to your friends and family to establish mutually-supportive relationships that give you an outlet.
You should learn to communicate and confide with your loved ones without sharing your stress and becoming a burden. A great conversation can really help you to feel much better.
- Know when to seek professional help
If you suffer from chronic stress, you need to know when it's the right time to pursue professional help. There's no shame in speaking with your HR department or a medical professional - stress is all too common and you need to nip it in the bud right away.
Stress can make you feel hopeless, but you should always try to remember that there is a support network there waiting for you.
- Try meditation
Meditation helps many people to manage the stress in their lives and put it into perspective. There are more ways than ever before to meditate and learn from wise people who share their knowledge.
You should find guided meditations in your preferred medium. There are lots of books, videos, audiobooks, and more out there.
- Understand the difference between being assertive and aggressive
Stress can often lead people to be short with others. This can create resentment and generate even more stress due to the resulting unpleasantness.
Even while you are stressed, you should think about how you are interacting with others and having an impact on their life. Always try to be assertive rather than aggressive, and you can avoid creating more stress for everyone.
- Find and establish your limits
Everybody is different when it comes to their ability to manage stress. Some people work well under pressure and find that they are impervious to stress and strain. Other people have a lower threshold and struggle in stressful environments.
There's no shame in struggling with stressful situations. You should identify your own limits and while it's good to push yourself, you shouldn't constantly place yourself into stressful situations if you know poor consequences will follow.
How to Practice Mindfulness at Work
Stress management in the workplace itself is often difficult. Many employees find the environment itself to be a source of stress and this can lead to feelings of being trapped.
This is why it is so important to practice mindfulness at work. You should try to capitalize on the following opportunities to practice mindfulness and feel less stressed at work:
- Try to set aside time for short meditation sessions
- Do your best to focus on your actions and the present
- Accept that you can't change some things
- Stop splitting your attention between multiple tasks
- Try to grow constantly
- Get up and walk around regularly
- Practice gratitude and appreciate the team around you
Lifestyle Impact on Stress
The lifestyle that you lead will determine the sources and volume of stress in your life. It's important that you realize stress is a fact of life - it's up to you to determine how you manage it and use it as a motivator to improve and learn more about yourself.
Try to focus on your the key areas of your life, including:
- Your financial life
- Your intellectual state
- Your emotional landscape
- Your spiritual relationships
- Your physical performance
- Your professional life
Try to regularly examine these various areas of your life regularly. This can help you to live the most fulfilling and stress-free life possible.