Stress is a fact of life!
Regardless of your industry or profession, rest assured that stressful situations, individuals and environments will all be formidable forces which, unless handled with skill and awareness, will compromise your ability to achieve your goals and enjoy the lifestyle that you are seeking. Yet, much like the proverbial head in the sand syndrome, we ignore this fact and neglect investing in learning how to deal more effectively with the myriad of stresses which we must deal with daily.
These series of short articles will look at the phenomena of stress in our lives from different angles in order to understand how to become more effective in dealing with our workplace stresses.
Understanding the Stress Factor
Like waves upon an ocean, stress comes and goes of its own accord. It arises when we experience conflict and can occur at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels of our being. Generally, there are stresses over which we have no control, and those over which we do! Knowing the difference between the two is critical to our well being if we want to minimize ‘negative’ stress which results when we try to control the impossible, worry about the inevitable, and constantly argue with ‘that which is’.
In the workplace, this dynamic becomes more intense as we feel that we have to perform and always stay in charge as that is what we are getting paid to do. We often fear that our very existence and survival depends on our performance, and therefore, we must produce at all costs. And what are these costs? Typically, overtime we become compromised physically, mentally and emotionally, experiencing increasing frustration, anger, fatigue, burnout, to name a few! Statistically, stress leave is costing organizations millions, as more and more of us are becoming incapacitated by this most insidious and damaging foe!
Yet all is not lost. Realize that although our goals of being productive, effective and successful are desirable and valid, not knowing how to get to them without compromising our health and well being is what ultimately makes the exercise futile. In this 3 part series on Insights into workplace stress management, we will examine the Mental, Physical and Emotional Arenas in terms of how we can learn to better deal with workplace stress.
3 Key Mental Insights about Handing Stress in the Work Place
1. Attitude versus Aptitude – the most important realization you must have is that it is not the actual stressor which needs to be managed, but instead, how we choose to relate to the stressor! Note that I have stressed the word ‘choose’, because unless we understand that there is always a choice at hand, we will never feel capable of dealing with stress effectively. Often, we have the aptitude to perform well and be productive however, when faced with obstacles such as unrealistic workloads or timelines, we become lose perspective and beat ourselves up with thoughts of being ‘not good enough’ or ‘losing it’
2. Passion and Purpose– recognize that when we compromise and do a job that we don’t really want to, we end up pushing ourselves in a direction contrary to our hearts. This is not to say that at times, we must buckle down and perform tasks which are required of us despite our dislike of them. What it does mean is that in the big picture, we must align our work choices with what our hearts desire is. This is called our passion and all of us are born with it. We must take the time to explore within to draw out the passion and then investigate how we can tie it into our life’s work. This then gives all of our efforts a purpose and a meaning. And when both our purpose and passion are activated, we become empowered to handle tasks and responsibilities which in different circumstances, would have stressed us out.
3. Cutting the Clutter – know that clutter is a phenomenon of both your environment and your mind. During my 20 plus years of coaching on Workplace Stress Management, clutter tends to be in the top 3 for things which overwhelm and stress us. I can always determine the level of stress a person is having by observing the space which they work or live in. But in order to clear this clutter, along with the physical clearing, it is essential to address the clutter in the mind. I have observed that the two go hand in hand, and that for enduring results in managing the clutter which causes us stress, it must be addressed at the mental and emotional levels.In part 2 of this series, I we will look at 3 key nutritional insights at the physical level which address stress in the workplace.