7 Steps To Shake Off Work Stress

Do you suffer from work stress? Take these steps to make today and the rest of the week even better.

Work stress can be a drag. Especially when it continues day-in, day-out, right?

We’re not alone in thinking so either.

In a recent Gallup poll, 80% of those polled reported some form of workplace stress. 80%!

Before too long, just the thought of wading into another day tension can be enough to make you consider a sick day.

But you don’t want burn those sick days without actually being sick, do you?

I guess you could call it a wellness day… scratch that, I refuse to be your bad influence.

Instead, follow these 7 steps to help you understand how stressed you are, where your work stress is coming from, and what you to do about it.

Step 1. Identify Your Symptoms Of Stress

Lack of enthusiasm, daily frustration, moodiness, negativity, feeling depleted, difficulty concentrating, general dissatisfaction, being disinterested in sex (nooo!), regular junk food snacking, drinking more coffee or sodas, and numbing out with alcohol or drugs might be pointing to your elevated stress levels.

Step 2. Identify The Sources Of Your Work Stress

Certain areas of your work day may be causing these symptoms.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you feel like you have no control over what happens?
  • Do you regularly feel like you don’t have the necessary information to perform certain duties?
  • Does daily conflict with your coworkers or your boss weigh you down?
  • How are your career prospects? Are you at a dead end?
  • Do you feel alienated by the organization, your work, your coworkers?
  • Are you overloaded? Can’t say no?
  • Or maybe you have too little to do — bored!

Step 3. Identify How You Respond To Stressors

When the stress comes, what happens? How does it feel? What thoughts arise out of these feelings?

From these thoughts, what actions are you taking, consciously or unconsciously?

Do you tense up? Resist instructions? Make mistakes in your work?

Just notice.

Step 4. Set Goals To Respond More Effectively

Once you’ve identified your patterns of stress, it’s time to craft an approach for those instances that you can predict. You can set a goal to change any of these areas:

  • External stressor: quit the job, assertively tell the boss not to overload you, take regular breaks, reorganize your time
  • Thoughts: turn off the job when you go home (meditate!), alter your perfectionist attitude, stop assuming you are responsible for others’ problems
  • Physical body: relax (meditate!), exercise, eat properly, get sufficient sleep

Make your goals specific, observable and achievable within a certain amount of time. Then celebrate!

Say, for instance, you notice that you eat when you’re bored or frustrated, and it’s caused you to put on a few unneeded pounds.

To change this behavior, you might establish a contract with yourself to take regular breaks once an hour where you relax or get up and walk around instead of eating.

Step 5. Motivate Yourself

Create specific rewards for every goal you establish. In the example above, after a week of doing taking this new action daily, take yourself to the beach or do something that you really enjoy to reward yourself.

Step 6. Change Your Thinking

Job stress occurs because your thoughts trigger a painful emotional reaction. Three generic lines of thinking bring the majority of the pain:

  1. I’ve got to do _________ (a certain task) _________ (perfectly)(on time)(to please my boss) or _________ (something painful) will happen.
  2. They’re doing this to me and it’s not fair.
  3. I’m trapped here.

Thought 1 makes you anxious, thought 2 triggers anger, and thought 3 generates depression.

Instead of letting these thoughts run away with us, we can make an honest appraisal of each situation, short-circuiting the grip that thoughts such as these have.

Step 7. Pace And Balance Yourself

Changing the way you relate to your job and the stress that is created by this relationship is a marathon, not a sprint. We must be kind to ourselves, get ample rest, take our breaks, and do whatever we can to tap into the reservoir of joy that we carry with us every day.

The above are 7 bold steps in the direction of less job stress.

When you see what’s going on, well then, it’s much easier to do something about it.

Awareness is a great place to start. Once you’re aware of what needs to change, setting achievable goals in the direction of this change keeps the motivation stoked.

And if you’d like some more help, my book, “Stress is Optional! How to Kick the Habit”, is full of powerful activities and exercises aimed at living a life outside of the daily grind.

Out in paperback and for Kindle – click the link on the right side of this article to get your copy.

Stress Release Tip

A healthy body responds better to the inevitable stresses of life, and good nutrition is a building block of good health. Eating well helps prevent or control high blood pressure, heart disease, indigestion, constipation, hypoglycemia, diabetes and obesity, which all put undue stress on the body. A stressed body is a stressed mind. So this week, choose healthy eats low in fat and low in refined sugar. Stay away from processed foods – go fresh! Eat green leafy veggies, and a wide variety of good food. With proper nutrition, we become more resilient to stress, and better able to thrive.

Mindful Homework

Don’t start the day right off with email. Take a moment to reflect. How would you like the day to go? Breathe in. Breathe out. Go.

Quote From Adam

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”
– Jim Rohn

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