A new hunter has come to your workplace. It’s lurking in the shadow, waiting for the right time. Smart it is, knows when to come. The dead shot is its nickname. It hunts your concentration, energy, and confidence. The killer is called “stress”.
Stress is a companion of today’s lifestyle. You might suffer from it and not know. The point is you can prevent it with your everyday choices. For instance, your fatigue could be due to acidic water. Tap water tends to be acidic. Alkaline water is a way to reduce acidity in your body. It gives you more energy. The stamina to do a workout reduces your stress level.
The article tries to explain what stress is at work, and how to deal with it. It introduces 7 techniques to reduce your stress. They are: finding the source, being better at multitasking, organizing work, drinking enough water, foods, the 20-20 rule, and exercise.
What is stress?
One of your body’s natural protection against danger is through stress. The body releases some hormones(Cortisol) to resist the threat. Stress works like an army to fight against the demons and devils.
Your body also reacts to dangers through:
- Increased blood pressure
- Heightened muscle
These responses improve your ability to face a challenging situation. Stress is not a bad thing, but too much of it, which most of us face, is dangerous. This is why you need to reduce stress.
What causes stress at work?
As explained, your body releases stress naturally. Yet, your lifestyle, work, and environment make it to create more stress. The common factors that make stress at work are as follows:
- Constantly being connected
- Trying to do much
- Job security
- Financial problems
- Being too busy
The above factors are stressful at work. Yet, there are other factors like emotional problems, pollution, lifestyle, etc.
Symptoms you need to reduce stress
The symptoms of stress are not the same for everyone. You may face various disorders. Yet, the common signs are as follows:
- Sleep disorders
- Heart disorders
- Becoming easily moody
- Feeling to lose control
- Cannot relax your mind
- Not enough energy
- Pains and aches
- Regular infection and cold
- Difficult swallowing
- Dry mouth
Negative effects of stress at work
You feel stressed during college with assignments and deadlines. That was temporary, and you knew one or two ways to reduce stress. After graduation, a new chapter will begin at work.
OSHA says that work-related stress is among the most threatening issues in workplace safety and health.
Stress will impact:
- Your health
- National economy
Studies by the American Institute of stress reveal tragic news over workplace stress. 80% of workers say they feel stress on the job.
Do you hear yelling in your office or from your neighboring office? 25% of employees in the survey said they feel shouting or screaming due to job stress.
If you faced your colleague with a black eye, ask him nothing. It might be due to stress at the workplace. The study revealed that 14% of staff feel like to strike their co-worker, but they didn’t. Be careful this time; you might not be lucky. I bet now you are considering to reduce stress more than ever.
The study found that Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.
The situation has made everyone find ways to reduce stress at work. The employers are also among them.
How bad is stress at work?
In her new book called “How To Be Happy At Work,” Annie McKee says:” We work longer than eight hours per day. If you are not happy with your work, you waste one-third of your life”. Annie states that “negative emotions, anger, and constant stress can kill you.”
Emma Seppala, a psychologist at Stanford, says:” Today, you feel the nonstop need to complete things and get to the next level as far as you can.” She continues,” our culture rewards work addiction. So you take it as a good thing despite its long-term negative impact on well-being.
McKee writes:” the three of the problems that can create steady stress at work are:
- Competitive colleagues
- Not enough time for what you should get done
- Poor leadership
The two authors state that having stress holds a few benefits. They call it “good stress.” It recognizes threats and makes you run away.
McKee and McKee state that “your number one enemy to success is chronic stress.” It causes some of the mentioned problems above.
However, you can reduce stress at work. As it’s being said, “prevention is better than cure.” The more you can reduce stress on its origin, the fewer side effects will be.
Reduce stress techniques at work
To reduce stress at work, you need to have the right knowledge and persistence to reduce it day by day.
The below techniques can help you as might have done to your successful colleague.
I say it from experience not to start all the tips or habits at once. Try to take one of them, the easiest one you think. When you master it and put it in your lifestyle, take a new one. They help you reduce stress as they helped me.
Yet, taking on new habits depends on your situation and character. The Atomic habits by James clear can also be very effective. Get better 1% every day.
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1. Water, enough water
Water is a stress reliever. Things will get complicated in your body when you don’t drink enough water at work.
Sounds too good to be true? About 60% of your body and your mind is made of water. Your body needs water to function properly. You are dehydrated, and your body doesn’t work well, then your stress level increases.
You forget to drink enough water due to your hectic schedule at work. During winter or rainy season, you don’t feel thirsty a lot. Where do you spend one-third of your day? Hard to believe, but at work. You don’t drink, how will you make up for this loss?
Too much water? Not a healthy idea. Water holds benefits, but too much will have a negative impact on your life. Water won’t remove all of your emotional problems, either. Yet, not drinking enough water causes stress.
Just don’t forget a few glasses of water during the day. Picture yourself with the bottle of water next to your computer screen. It sends the message you care about your health.
2. Find the source
Whenever your colleague “….” talks to you, you feel bad afterward. He/she nags and complains almost about everything. Doesn’t he/she ruin your day?
You get rid of the cause of the problem; it will get solved. It’s simple, find out what it is, then try to avoid it. For you, it might be too much work, a particular food or drink, not enough sleep, etc.
3. A better Multitasker
Part of today’s workplace demands you to multitask. You may not like it but often have to. But you can use some methods to be a productive multitasker.
In case you have to work on two projects, write the unfinished one. It lifts the weight from your mind and reduces your stress. Rolf Dobeli in “Art of thinking clearly” mentions this technique as a way to think clearly.
You can always use the project managing apps and online programs.
If you think of getting focused on one task,”Deep Work,” by Cal Newport can help you.
One part that was useful to me is the attention part.
Newport says: “when you switch from task A to task B, your attention doesn’t follow you directly”. Part of your attention stays on task A. The scientific name is “Attention Residue”.
To get rid of Attention Residue, set up a written plan on how to do the task. It makes you dynamic at your work.
4. Organize your work
Easier said than done. How to organize my work in such a mess? What do you know of my life?
Brain Tracy says, no one is that busy. It’s just what you put in the first order to do. What do you do first? Facebook or setting the most important projects?
Organizing work to reduce stress has become easier with apps and online programs.
Trello, Todolist, and workflow are a few examples. You can set daily tasks. When you complete one, put a cross on it and go to another one.
This way will help you stop the Zeigarnik effect. Bluma Zeigarnik, the Soviet scientist, found out incomplete tasks will bother your mind. To get rid of the damn bad feeling, just write it down with a plan to do it.
5. Stress-relieving foods
Don’t you want a burger, pizza, or ice cream when feeling down?
Stress forces the body to release a hormone called Cortisol. The hormone requires sweet, salty, and fattening food. Cortisol enjoys temporary pleasure. Yet, eating what it wants makes things worse.
The Cortisol thing well explains the importance of eating healthy food. You need food rich in beneficial nutrients. Try to add the below options to your diet at work:
- Fatty fish
- Dark Chocolate
- Whole Grains
6. The 20-20 rule for your eye strain
What do you do when you are sick of looking at your screen? Like me, checking Instagram or Facebook?
If so, you and I are doing the wrong thing. Not a healthy break to reduce stress.
I have to look at the monitor eight hours a day, so I found the 20-20 rule. It was beneficial for me; it might help you as well.
When you want to rest your eyes, close them for 20 seconds. Then open up and look at a long-distance for 20 seconds. The longer the distance, the better.
Experts recommend another rule called the 20-20-20 rule. Look at 20 feet away, every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds.
Find which one works better for you; choices yours.
When you rest your eyes, you prevent headaches. Headaches are also a major source of stress.
7. Office exercise
You and I are stuck in a chair 40 hours a week. The sedentary lifestyle with daily stress destroys your neck, back, and shoulders.
But simple exercise could prevent pain and reduce stress. You can do them while sitting on your chair. With a few clicks on your keyboard, you will find various techniques on youtube.
You can fall into another trap with this technique. It might bother you thinking about doing the exercise. The Zeigarnik effect might come to you again.
But you know how to overcome it. Stick a note to your screen with a plan to do such exercises. If you use Google Chrome, you can add extensions to remind you to do them. They even suggest various acts by your choice.
The final note to reduce stress
Your lifestyle and the work you do are stressful. We can not avoid it. The article mentioned the negative effects of stress from reliable sources. I bet now you have the determination to reduce stress.
We also provided some techniques to do so. The list is not complete and different ways are available. Take whatever you want from any source you find. But please reduce stress at your work. You get rid of stress, I will get benefits, It gets called system thinking.