Stress at Work

Tips to Reduce and Manage Job and Workplace Stress

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While some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and impact your physical and emotional health. And your ability to deal with it can mean the difference between success or failure. You can't control everything in your work environment, but that doesn't mean you're powerless - even when you're stuck in a difficult situation. Finding ways to manage workplace stress isn't about making huge changes or rethinking career ambitions, but rather about focusing on the one thing that's always within your control: you.

Coping with work stress in today's uncertain climate

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For workers everywhere, the troubled economy may feel like an emotional roller coaster. "Layoffs" and "budget cuts" have become buzz words in the workplace, and the result is increased fear, uncertainty, and higher levels of stress. Since job and workplace stress increase in times of economic crisis, it's important to learn new and better ways of coping with the pressure.

Your emotions are contagious, and stress has an impact on the quality of your interactions with others. The better you are at managing your own stress, the more you'll positively affect those around you, and the less other people's stress will negatively affect you. You can learn how to manage job stress

There are a variety of steps you can take to reduce both your overall stress levels and the stress you find on the job and in the workplace. These include:

  • Taking responsibility for improving your physical and emotional well-being.
  • Avoiding pitfalls by identifying knee jerk habits and negative attitudes that add to the stress you experience at work.
  • Learning better communication skills to ease and improve your relationships with management and coworkers.

Tip 1: Recognize warning signs of excessive stress at work

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When you feel overwhelmed at work, you lose confidence and may become irritable or withdrawn. This can make you less productive and less effective in your job, and make the work seem less rewarding. If you ignore the warning signs of work stress, they can lead to bigger problems. Beyond interfering with job performance and satisfaction, chronic or intense stress can also lead to physical and emotional health problems.

Signs and symptoms of excessive job and workplace stress

  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Apathy, loss of interest in work
  • Problems sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope

Common causes of excessive workplace stress

  • Fear of being laid off
  • More overtime due to staff cutbacks
  • Pressure to perform to meet rising expectations but with no increase in job satisfaction
  • Pressure to work at optimum levels - all the time!
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2013

Patient Comments

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Job Stress - Coping Question: How do you cope with job stress?
Job Stress - Warning Signs Question: What warning signs or symptoms have you experienced with job stress?
Job Stress - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with job stress.
Job Stress - Taking Care of Yourself Question: What things do you do on a daily basis to take care of yourself to reduce job stress?
Job Stress - Bad Habits Question: Please describe how you have broken bad habits to reduce job stress.
Job Stress - Management Question: As a manger, what steps have you taken to decrease job stress for your employees?

11 Communication Tips for a Healthy Workplace

Misunderstandings and communication problems remain one of the most common sources of workplace strife, and interpersonal difficulties are magnified when conflicting work styles coexist in one setting.

While conflict is inevitable, it need not ruin your workday or cause unbearable stress. Try these conflict resolution tips to make your work environment a less stressful, more productive place:

  1. Be specific in formulating your complaints. "I'm never invited to meetings" is not as effective as "I believe I would have been able to contribute some ideas at last Thursday's marketing meeting."

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