This is a Guest Post by Ryan Rivera of www.CalmClinic.com
Stress is more than an emotion. Stress is a poison. Stress puts pressure on your organs that can cause irreparable harm or long term health consequences. Stress damages brain cells. Stress can lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. It is one of the single worst things you can do for your body.
Yet more and more people allow themselves to be subjected to persistent stress, primarily because more and more people allow themselves to get stressed at the workplace. With the economy struggling and employers overworking their staff, it's easy to get overwhelmed at work without the option of finding a great new job elsewhere.
Although you may have a good reason for experiencing this stress, it's imperative that you find a way to cope. The stress you experience at work may seem minor or temporary, but over time it can lead to very serious health problems, missed work, and a dramatically reduced quality of life.
How to Cope with Workplace Stress
Quitting your job may not be possible, and confronting your employer over the stress you experience may be a bit too risky at a time when the economy makes it harder to find a new career. You need to find a way to cope with stress at work that won't put your work in jeopardy. Here are some strategies to try:
- Stress Game – There's a theory in Japanese psychology that states if you know that you have stress you shouldn't try to fight it. Rather, you should embrace it like an old friend. While few people are going to go work feeling blessed that they experience stress, there are ways to do this that can be advantageous. For example, a stress game, where you make a bingo card with all of the causes of stress that you experience at work, and any time one of them is triggered you mark it off. If you get a Bingo, treat yourself to something worthwhile. This makes stress something that can make your day better in its own small way.
- Wait For It – Using that same theory, another strategy is to purposely do less work until the stress hits. Then, only when you're feeling stressed, work as hard as you possibly can as a result. This way stress becomes a fuel for becoming a better employee, rather than a deterrent that forces you to lose interest in your day.
- Workplace Exercise – Many companies have found that wellness programs are a key tool in improving the health of employees, and employees are finding that taking advantage of these programs is a great way to cut down on workplace stress. If your company has a wellness program, use it. If your company doesn't, see if they'll add one to the workplace. If they won't, find ways to exercise before, during, and after work. Biking to work or jogging on your lunch breaks are great ways to cut back on some of the stress of the day, and should help you be more relaxed when you're done with work later.
- Plan Post-Work Fun – Stress has a tendency to affect your home life as well, which is one of the reasons stress tends to build up over time. While part of this is the fatigue brought on by stress, another issue is that many people allow the stress to affect them too much – wanting to spend time at home relaxing rather than go out with their friends or play with their family. It's important not to let stress overwhelm you. You can solve this by forcing yourself to do fun things after work. Schedule them so that you feel like you have to go do them, so that even if you're feeling stressed you get yourself out there enjoying your free time. You'll be surprised what a difference this can make.
- Make Work Fun – Finally, if you can make work fun, you'll find work less stressful. How do you do this? There are a number of ways. One example would be to come into work with funny clothing underneath your work clothes giving you a humorous inside joke that others will not get to see. Decorating your desk with things that make you laugh or hiding funny things around the office for people to find are also ways that your work can become more fun. It's up to your own imagination how to do this, and as long as they won't get you mistreated or fired, they can have a powerful impact on your stress.
You only live one life, and it's crucial that you find a way to make that life as enjoyable as possible. Stressful workplaces interfere with that ability. But you can counter this by finding ways to reduce the stress and anxiety that work creates in your life, and if you do that you'll find that you experience less stress and your life overall becomes more enjoyable, despite the toxic work environment.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera's stress undoubtedly lead to his issues with anxiety. Now he contributes to a website on anxiety and stress reduction at www.calmclinic.com.
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