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4 Steps to Resolve Stress in the Workplace

4 Steps to Resolve Stress in the Workplace

It is nearly impossible to avoid worry in the workplace. And we shouldn’t—a certain amount of anxiety only fuels performance. But what happens when worry escalates to negative stress?  The key is knowing the difference between positive stress and negative stress. Today I am going to dive into stress management to show you that difference and will also provide you 4 Steps to resolve stress in the workplace.

“Sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it’s the time when they most need to think” – William J. Clinton

Has your stress level ever crossed a line? Usually, when it happens we notice how our performance suffers.

The Two Types of Stress

We all at times experience stress in the workplace. I am not surprised because it becomes “normal” considering amount of things we have to take care of daily. It’s fair to say though that some anxiety is natural, and moreover, it’s necessary – it’s an integral part of work that drives our performance. Too much stress, however, can be debilitating.

So, let’s try to understand the difference between positive and negative stresses:

Positive Stress

Positive stress is a healthy worry in the right amount and at the right time; it is a combination of feelings of pressure that motivate you and drive you to excel. Positive stress results from worrying the right amount at the right time. Worry is our natural defense to a threatening situation. It helps us react quickly and effectively.

Healthy levels of stress can stimulate clear-headed anticipation, making you productive and creative. Healthy stress can give us the motivation and adrenaline we need to focus, plan, and perform better.

Positive stress helps to:

  • Start a new job
  • Meet critical deadlines
  • Solve difficult problems
  • Contribute to a team effort
  • Learn new skills
  • Deal with a crisis

Negative Stress

Negative stress, on the other hand, is destructive anxiety that overwhelms us and damages our productivity. Unhealthy amounts of stress leave us unable to think clearly and constructively.

Unattended negative stress can:

  • Damage our productivity. Highly stressed people make mistakes, which directly affects the productivity of others.
  • Affect health and lead to physical illness. Bodies react to stress as they would to any dangerous physical situation – blood pressure rises and senses are alerted. Continuous negative stress leaves us weak and restless. Since it thickens your nerves, we may become more aggressive or “touchy”.
  • Deplete energy levels, which causes problems in people’s abilities to concentrate, respond effectively, and judge situations appropriately.
  • Damage relationships

 

Signs of Negative Stress

Physical Emotional  Behavioral

Mental

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability and impatience
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Envy
  • Lack of interest in your job
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Teeth grinding
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Restlessness
  • Increased smoking
  • Racing thoughts
  • Indecisiveness
  • Resistance to change
  • Declining productivity
  • Diminished sense of humor

Ask yourself the following questions to assess your condition:

  • Am I having trouble concentrating? Am I having difficulty maintaining the focus and energy I applied to my work a half-hour ago?
  • Did my mood change? Am I less optimistic about the outcome of my project than I was in the beginning?
  • How is my energy level? Do I feel tired or run down? Pumped up?
  • Does my body hurt? Do I suddenly have heartburn? A headache? Is my heart racing?
  • Does my work environment promote energy and excitement? Or does it produce tension and irritability in me, my colleagues, and my team?

Do you recognize any of these signs? Here are four steps to resolve stress.

If so, you’re stressed out – there’s no question about it. These 4 Steps to resolve stress in the workplace are going to help you out!

Step 1: Identify and Evaluate

Instead of overthinking something, identify the problem because by identifying the specific problem, you eliminate all other possibilities, making it more concrete and manageable. Think about it constructively.

  • Name the problem. Simply giving the problem a name can begin the process of resolution.
  • Examine your automatic thoughts. “Automatic thoughts” are the things you say to yourself without realizing it, the noise your hear in your head. When automatic thoughts are constructive, you cope well. However, when stress levels are high, we go absolutely nuts and way outside of the reality of the situation. These thoughts keep adding value to our stress.

Here’s a trick: Test your assumptions by tuning into your automatic thoughts. What words pop into your mind? Write them down and look at it objectively. Most of the time you are gonna see that they’re exaggerated;

  • Correct errors in logic and revise your assumptions. Instead of calling yourself a failure and assuming that a disaster will certainly occur, be objective and correct the logic in your automatic thoughts by thinking constructively.
  • Develop alternative hypotheses. And please try to think objectively while doing it.
  • As a final point of the first step, give yourself a reality check. The problem may not be as bad as it seems and easier to solve than you initially thought. Look at a situation from as many different viewpoints as possible – what might initially seem horrendous could offer exciting new opportunities instead.

Step 2: Collect Information

Now, when you have already identified the problem, don’t let your worry consume you—get the facts. Gather all information you need from people you can trust to help you uncover the root of the problem. Remember that Knowledge is power, so figure out who has the knowledge to help you better understand the situation.

Step 3: Plan for Resolution

Once you’ve identified the problem and gained clarity on the issue, make a plan to resolve your stress. Resolving highly stressful circumstances can take you some time. You don’t have to solve the whole problem at once. In fact, attempting such an overwhelming task may work against you.
It won’t necessarily be solved at once. In fact, attempting such an overwhelming task may work against you.
Break the stressor down into smaller tasks that you can accomplish one at a time. Decide what you want or need to accomplish in the coming week. Setting goals will make the problem seem more manageable and you’ll be able to address the issue step by step.

When creating stress-resolving goals, don’t forget to:

  • Choose meaningful goals
  • Set reasonable time frames for accomplishing your goals
  • Set achievable goals and make them visible
  • Be tactical

Step 4: Go and Do It!

The most powerful antidote to the paralysis of stress is to take an action in remedying the issue.

 

Remember to reward yourself for each achievement and be kind to yourself.

I will see you next week,

~NJ

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