Change Results In Stress
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Stay Employed In A Down Economy - By Roger Ingbretsen
The stress faced by workers is substantial. For many workers, it is intrinsic to the job itself, where competing demands and pressures cannot be escaped. The sheer volume of work can also be overwhelming at times, whether one is a social worker, teacher, doctor, sales person, factory worker, supervisor or manager. Anyone in this kind of job knows, either from their own direct experience or from observing colleagues, that stress can have very serious consequences. It can develop into a living nightmare of running faster and faster to stay in the same place, feeling undervalued, feeling unable to say no to any demand but not working productively on anything.
The signs of stress can include sleeplessness, aches and pains and sometimes physical symptoms of anxiety about going to work. What is more, people who are chronically stressed are no fun to work with. They may be irritable, miserable, lacking in energy and commitment and self-absorbed. They may find it hard to concentrate on any one task and cannot be relied on to do their share.
Some people seem to have the ability to stay in control of their workload and to handle job frustrations without becoming worn out, irritable or depressed. These people are able to handle stress, having ways of taking the rough with the smooth, keeping a sense of humor and renewing their energy and resources so that working life continues to bring pleasure and reward.
A useful definition for stress is: a demand made upon the adaptive capacities of the mind and body.
If these capacities can handle the demand and enjoy the stimulation involved, then stress is welcome and helpful. If they cant and find the demand debilitating, then stress is unwelcome and unhelpful. This definition is useful in three ways; (1) stress can be both good and bad, (2) it isn't so much that events determine whether we're stressed or not, it is our reactions to them, and (3) the definition tells us that stress is a demand made upon the body's capacities. If our capacities are good enough, we respond well. If they aren't, we give way.
Stress is the wear and tear our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment; it has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings.
As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action; it can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. With the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, a job promotion, or a new relationship, we experience stress as we readjust our lives. In so adjusting to different circumstances, stress will help or hinder us depending on how we react to it.
Any change in the routine of our lives - even welcome ones - can be stressful, both in terms of the way in which we perceive them and in terms of the increased incidence of physical illness. The fact remains You can not eliminate stress in your life!
Causes of stress in the workplace:
General causes of stress at work
Long or unsociable hours
Poor status, pay and promotion prospects
Unnecessary rituals and procedures
Uncertainty and insecurity
Specific causes of stress at work
Unclear role specifications
Unrealistically high self-expectations (perfectionism)
Inability to influence decision making (powerlessness)
Frequent clashes with superiors
Isolation from colleagues' support
Lack of variety
Conflicts with colleagues
Inability to finish a job
Fighting unnecessary battles
Task related causes of stress at work
Difficult clients or subordinates
Emotional involvement with clients or subordinates
The responsibilities of the task/job
Inability to help or act effectively
As a manager what items in the above list can you change or influence to help take stress out of the workplace? What other change or influence can you add to the above list that is affecting your present work environment?
Seven effective ways to reduce and or manage stress:
1. Become aware of your stressors and your emotional/physical reactions
Notice your distress. Don't ignore it. Don't gloss over your problems.
Determine what events distress you. What are you telling yourself about meaning of these events?
Determine how your body responds to the stress. Do you become nervous or physically upset? If you become upset, in what specific ways does this happen?
2. Recognize what you can change
Can you change your stressors by avoiding or eliminating them completely?
Can you reduce their intensity? (Manage them over a period of time instead of on a daily or weekly basis)
Can you shorten your exposure to stress? (Take a break, leave the physical premises)
Can you devote the time and energy necessary to making a change? (Goal setting, time management techniques)
3. Reduce the intensity of your emotional reactions
Are you expecting to please everyone?
Are you overreacting and viewing things as absolutely critical and urgent?
Do you feel you must always prevail in every situation?
4. Learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress
Slow, deep breathing will bring your heart rate and respiration back to normal.
Relaxation techniques can reduce muscle tension.
Medications, when prescribed by a physician, can help in the short term in moderating your physical reactions.
5. Build your physical reserves
Exercise for cardiovascular fitness three to four times a week
Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
Maintain your ideal weight.
Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine, and other stimulants.
Mix leisure with work. Take breaks and get away when you can.
Get enough sleep. Be as consistent with your sleep schedule as possible.
6. Maintain your emotional reserves
Develop some mutually supportive friendships/relationships.
Pursue realistic goals which are meaningful to you.
Expect some frustrations, failures, and sorrows.
Always be kind and gentle with yourself - be a friend to yourself.
7. Accept reality
Finally, be able to roll with the punches, as they say. No matter how well you do as an employee, a manager, or as the boss, you are unlikely to succeed at everything to which you set your hand. Acceptance of reality will help you avoid overreacting when things dont work out, and instead of railing against fate, you can pick yourself up and start over.
You can not eliminate stress in your life!
You can learn how to manage it!!!
You MAY reprint the information contained in this article as long as no portion of the contents are modified and it used exclusively within your organization. You must also give credit to information by including the tag line...Roger M. Ingbretsen, Author, Speaker, Leadership Coach, Organizational and Career Developer.
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Stay Employed In A Down Economy - By Roger Ingbretsen
About the Author: Roger Ingbretsen
RSS for Roger's articles - Visit Roger's website
Roger has a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership, from Gonzaga University, a dual undergraduate degree in Economics & Business Administration, from Park University, an AA degree in Business, as well as 1,500 certified hours of training in technical disciplines. He’s had over forty articles, numerous white papers and two books and two eBooks published.
Roger is a member of the International Coaching Federation. Additionally, he has completed many professional training programs attaining numerous certifications, a few of which include: The Harvard Law School “win-win” negotiation process, the Center for Creative Leadership “360-Degree Feedback” evaluation process and “Coach the Coach” program, the Zenger Miller “Team Training Certification Seminar” and “Executive Coaching” practices from the Professional School of Psychology, California. He is also a qualified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory.
Click here to visit Roger's website.
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