“Work Place Stress and How to Cope With It”

man stressed at work

        Work place stress is a very common occurrence today that can take its toll in lost productivity, money, and health if measures are not taken by individuals to cope with it effectively.  More than one-third of working Americans experience chronic work stress with many organizations they work for not being able to provide adequate help for them in the form of employee assistance programs and the like.

Common Causes of Work Place Stress

Below are some common factors that can contribute to work place stress.

  • Low pay
  • Conflict with co-workers
  • Little opportunity for advancement
  • Little control over job decisions
  • Feeling your work doesn’t matter

These stressors can take a toll on the mind and body and cause a number of different health problems including:

  • Sleep difficulties
  • Changes in eating habits (i.e. eating too much or too little)
  • Headaches
  • Stomach issues
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Short Temper
  • Lowered immune system
  • Obesity

How to Manage Your Stress

Taking a dual approach to managing your stress at work can do wonders in keeping negative stress at bay.  First, recognize that stress begins in the mind and it’s our perception of events that causes the stress in the first place. Avoid “catastrophizing” or “awfulizing” petty situations. For example, thinking a small argument with a coworker is the end of the world and that forgiveness is not possible is one scenario that comes to mind. 

It’s very easy to feel like you’re getting to a breaking point when small stressors like this continually chip away at your peace and serenity.  It’s usually these “mental traps” that compound over time and small instances like this can add up to and cause the above-mentioned physical problems and bigger health challenges down the road.  Changing your perception of stressful events can nullify these little episodes of stress or at least make them insignificant enough not to cause undue stress.

Secondly, be proactive in your approach to work stress.  Getting into a meditation group or scheduling a weekly massage can do wonders in bringing down your stress level. Other techniques such as self-hypnotizing and visualization for relaxation can have a carry-over effect for keeping you more calm throughout the day.  Neuro-linguistic programming can also help cut down on stress.  This is an entire field in itself and uses “patterns” of visualization to change your perception of stressful events, in addition to other uses of the technology.  You can get information on all these techniques at your local library or a book store to learn how to do these techniques correctly.  It’s also important to practice these exercises on a regular basis to get the full benefit.  Twenty minutes a day alone in a room is sufficient to get the full stress-reducing benefit. 

The key here is to do something every day to combat the negative stress in your job.  I’ve heard it said that if you’re not satisfied with or simply don’t like your job, you’ve got two choices: either quit your job or change the way you feel about it.  In most cases, quitting is not an option, so the above tips can help in making it more bearable and/or peaceful without ruining your health. 

        If you need help coping with work-related stress please reach out and call my office at (310) 879-5630 or email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com.