According to survey, workplace stress costs companies around $300 billion each year, and that in the United States alone. The problem with stress is that it doesn’t just sap your energy, but it also hampers your productivity. Studies say that the most common cause of stress among employees is the one coming from the pressure of performing in order to keep their jobs. Stress is part of life and is something that we cannot avoid at work. The good news is that we can manage it so that its effects are minimized. Here are five proven methods to reduce stress in the workplace:
Mind Your Posture
There are several articles that have been circulating the web talking about how sitting for extended periods could kill you. That may sound over exaggerated, but sitting for hours straight without taking breaks is actually unhealthy and may lead to life-threatening conditions. One effect of bad posture in the workplace we would focus on, though, is its influence on our behavior. The way you sit on your swivel chair in the office actually has an effect on your mood. When you’re sitting in contracted positions, you will feel more stressed and less in control. Check your workstation right now and see if you could move freely from your position. If it’s a bit cramped, try moving things around and have yourself a bigger breathing space. Make it a habit of taking a break every thirty minutes as well. Take this opportunity to stretch a bit and give your brain some rest.
Nothing causes stress faster than a disorganized desktop. Seeing the clutter alone is enough to send stress signals to your brain, so even if the nature of your work isn’t really that stressful, you are more likely to be stressed when your workstation is messy. The solution is to declutter. This would practically mean eliminating unnecessary objects from your desktop to give way to what is important. See that pile of papers that’s been sitting there for a week now? The fact that you haven’t touched them for that long time only means you don’t really need them, so you might as well get rid of them or give them to someone who could actually work on them as soon as possible. The less clutter you have on your office table, the fewer items your eyes would see and the fewer items your mind would have to worry about.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting goals is crucial, but your goals can only help you in the workplace if they are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Realistic, and Timely. Take note of the word ‘Realistic’ because that is one quality your goals should have. It’s okay to be ambitious, but if you have a tendency of setting goals for yourself that are too high, you might suffer from constant work-related stress. Aiming high is good, but see to it that you also know your limits. If you are not confident about achieving your goals in a timely manner and within your capacity, abandon them and set new goals that are realistic and are within your ability to accomplish.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
This time management hack developed by Francesco Cirillo may not be applicable to everybody, but if the nature of your work requires you to focus on certain tasks for a period of time, you will find this really helpful. One way this technique can help you manage stress is that it allows you to focus on a task for 25 minutes without interruption and lets you take a break for five to ten minutes before proceeding to another task. While the increase in focus helps you become more productive (which lessens your stress in itself), the five to ten minute break allows your brain to rest and not cause it to overwork.
Accept The Fact that Stress is Inevitable
If you can’t beat it, embrace it. Researches from Yale University found that individuals who accepted the idea that stress can be beneficial, too, have improved work performance. On the other hand, subjects who were presented with the idea that stress is bad performed not as good. It seemed that people who have a positive outlook about stress are more likely to overcome stressful situations. Yes, stress is dangerous and is considered by many doctors as the number one cause of many serious medical conditions, but one way you can manage stress is by understanding and accepting the fact that it is inescapable.
These are just some of the many ways we can manage stress in the workplace and become more productive and happy individuals. If you have more advice on how to deal with stress at work that you would like to share with us, don’t hesitate to drop them at the comments section.