5 Tips for Limiting Stress in Your Work Environment
Workplace stress is a rampant problem in the American workforce. Left untouched, it can fester and turn into a serious problem for employees and employers alike. The question is, what can you do to reduce stress and improve performance?
The Problem of Stress in the Workplace
Stress is a natural response within the body, but it’s not designed to be chronic. Stress should come and go in situations where we need to make a quick and/or important decision. If your entire career is defined by stress, you’re in trouble.
Physically, stress leads to fatigue, headaches, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues, muscular tension, and difficulties sleeping. Psychologically, it can cause anxiety, depression, irritability, pessimism, and an inability to focus or concentrate. Behaviorally, chronic and heightened stress leads to a drop in work performance, sudden mood swings, irritability, and disengagement.
The longer you sit with stress, the more it comes a natural part of your job. Do something now to proactively head it off before it’s too late.
Practical Ways to Reduce Your Workplace Stress
There will always be moments of stress in your job, but you can limit the scenarios in which this stress occurs by proactively fighting back. Here are some specific action steps you can take to reduce stress and reclaim the freedom of being confident and fully engaged:
1. Invest in Proper Training
In many jobs, stress is the direct byproduct of feeling ill-prepared for what’s expected of you. If you feel like you haven’t been properly equipped, you spend more time worrying about whether you’re doing it right and not enough time focusing on the execution of it.
Proper training can help reduce stress that stems from a lack of preparedness. This is why residents in hospitals and other healthcare facilities leverage simulation technology and training. AED training, for example, helps inexperienced healthcare professionals acquire the skills they need to give life-saving treatment when someone is experiencing cardiac arrest.
The same is true for pilots, who use flight simulations to practice flying without having to worry about crashing a plan and putting people in danger.
But you don’t have to be in a life or death industry to utilize training. Even if you’re an accountant in a back office of a small business, training can help you gain the confidence you need to be successful.
2. Improve Communication
Many of your problems could be solved simply by enhancing the level of communication that occurs between you, your superiors, and your subordinates. You can never over-communicate. Greater clarity leads to greater confidence, which ultimately reduces stress and enhances your peace of mind.
3. Optimize Your Workspace
Your physical and digital work spaces have a direct impact on your stress levels. Not only do you need to optimize for comfort (meaning choosing the right chair, desk, etc.), but you also need to stay organized.
“Even if you’re a naturally disorganized person, planning ahead to stay organized can greatly decrease stress at work,” writes Elizabeth Scott, MS. “Being organized with your time means less rushing in the morning to avoid being late and rushing to get out at the end of the day. Keeping yourself organized means avoiding the negative effects of clutter, and being more efficient with your work.”
4. Lobby for Greater Autonomy
You might think more money will make all of your problems go away, but this is a shortsighted view of the problem. While going from a $30,000 annual salary to a salary of $80,000 would probably eliminate much of your stress, there’s a cap on this correlation. Some of the most stressed out professionals are the highest paid. (Lawyers, doctors, business executives, etc.) What you really crave is greater autonomy.
Have conversations with your boss about how you can obtain a higher degree of freedom in your day-to-day work. Whether it’s choosing your hours, getting to select which projects you work on, or spending more time utilizing your particular skillset, autonomy will make you happier in your work.
5. Use TouchPoints for Calm
TouchPoints’ proprietary neuroscience BLAST technology uses gentle micro-vibrations to calm your mind within minutes. Simply place TouchPoints on your wrist, in your socks, or in your pockets. Any time you feel overwhelmed or stressed, push the button and you’ll feel a sense of calm rush over your body and brain.
Don’t Let Stress Hold You Back
Stress can help you increase focus and performance in very isolated moments of time, but it’s not something that should characterize your day-to-day existence. By proactively mitigating stress today, you can pave the way for improved performance tomorrow.
*This is a guest blog post written by Alex Sanders