You have a critical presentation to give in about 15 minutes, and you find your heart racing and your blood pressure increasing along with it, as you break in to a nervous sweat.
Whether you are a car salesman, a board member at an MNC, or part of an advertising team pitching for a new project, workplace stress is something you consider as ‘part of the job’. Because no matter what line of work you are in, on most days it feels like everything is on the line, and stress is the accelerant that keeps you on your toes.
I have been doing a series of articles on Stress, and I found out that workplace stress has become more of a ‘Fact of Life’ we all tend to accept, without really questioning it. According to statistical data published in American Psychological Association 2009, 69% employees report that work is a significant source of stress and 41% say they typically feel tense or stressed out during every single workday. The story gets a lot worse, as more and more number of cases diagnosed with Hypertension are being linked to work related stress every year.
So, what are we doing about it? Are we really trying to learn ways to manage workplace stress better consciously, or not?
Can you really ignore work related stress?
Today we all find ourselves pushing a little harder at work because competition grows fiercer every single day. Everyone wants to do their best to impress their boss, and as a result, they are constantly under pressure to perform better than the next person.
In fact, research (link to http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/research.htm) has shown that one of the major causes of work related stress is the impact of managers and their skills to manage staff and stress in the work place.
“As a team lead, I constantly find that people welcome workplace stress, because they feel that they perform better under pressure. However, I also see what impact it has on their physical, emotional and social health, which is why I personally believe that work related stress has to be minimized in order to make people more productive”, says Kunal Behl, a Senior Manager working at an MNC. “In reality, people tend to work better when they are relaxed and happy. It is important to understand that it is our behaviour as team managers that comes in to play whether you talk about resolving stress or promoting stress within the team”, he adds.
5 Tips To Stress Less At Work
The key to better work performance lies in feeling confident and happy. And while being organized and goal oriented will definitely do that for you, trying to prime your nervous system for peak performance could elevate your stress levels.
So, here are 5 tips that will make you feel more in control and less stressed out at work.
1. Personalize your work space –
Experts suggest that personalizing your work station creates a ‘safe and secure’ zone for you at work. Whether you want to add family photos, or create a collage of places you want to visit, having a space where you feel more at home will reset your nervous system even in a tense situation and have a calming effect.
2. Try desk yoga –
We all know Yoga is good for stress relief, and desk yoga is fast picking up as a great way to beat stress at work, without having to move from your seat at all! What makes desk yoga wonderful is that it relives the pressure that builds up in the spine, shoulders and neck region and also stretches out the muscles around the lungs for enhanced breathing. As a result, you have improved blood circulation that will alleviate stress and boost productivity by improving focus and concentration both.
3. Keep a squeeze ball handy –
Have a meeting in a few minutes and you feel tense and nervous? A squeeze ball comes in handy to help you get over the stress and feel more ‘in control’. This is because as you squeeze – tensing the muscles in your palm and let go, your heart rate drops down. It lets you focus all that pent up energy in to controlling basic fine motor movements rather than worrying, and that is why it is great as a last minute resort to fight stress induced nervousness.
4. Eat healthier –
Some foods have been associated with lowering levels of stress. Any stressful event at work results in increased levels of Cortisol, which increases craving for sweets and carbs, according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center. However, while you think that indulging in something sinfully unhealthy will make you feel better, in reality stress eating junk foods only further worsens the situation. Healthy fruits and vegetables like asparagus, avocados and berries, along with nuts and dark chocolates (only in moderation) can help alleviate stress. A cup of soothing and calming chamomile tea works like the icing on the cake, so keep a box handy in your desk drawer, and brew a cup when you feel a panic attack looming overhead.
5. Learn the right way to breathe –
Most of us do not know how to breathe right. Believe it or not, deep abdominal breathing inhibits the functioning of adrenaline, which is the trigger pulling on that ‘fight or flight’ switch in your head. Make sure that you take deep breaths – picture your lungs expanding and your stomach rising. Believe us; the impact a few minutes of deep breathing will have on your performance will be worth sparing a few minutes of your precious time.
Summing It Up
Yes, it isn’t rocket science to eliminate stress from the workplace, but it can surely feel like it sometimes.
It helps to always remember that ‘Tomorrow is another day’, and jeopardizing your health because you feel like the weight of the world lies on your shoulders alone isn’t the smartest move to make.
Relax – your job may be a HUGE part of your life, but it isn’t ALL there is to life now, is it?
You may also like to read: Desk Yoga – A Must Try For Workaholics