Today we know much about stress. It’s waiting for us everywhere – on the street, in transportation and, of course, at work. Is the world that hostile? Or do we misunderstand what stress is?
Stress at work is a familiar thing, even if you enjoy working. Sometimes it is even useful because stress mobilizes workers and increases their efficiency. But with strong or chronic stress, the consequences are not very favourable. How to recognize them and how to cope with them? In this article, we’ll tell you how to distinguish real stress at work from imaginary stress and to cope with it.
THREE SIGNS THAT YOU ARE STRESSED AT WORK
Stress at work has been experienced at least once, everyone. And everyone knows that this condition affects not only the level of his or her productivity but also on physical and emotional health. That is why it is important to learn how to manage stress at work. You can learn about the fact that you are close to stress at work in advance.
YOU TRY TO MANAGE STRESS
It may seem strange, but in science, there is no single and generally accepted definition of stress. It is often said that stress is the body’s reaction to irritating stimuli, and in a broader sense, it is a reaction to novelty in general.
At the same time, some level of stress is necessary for the body to maintain a comfortable psychological state. This can be seen in the so-called stress curve – it shows where the well-known “comfort zone” begins and ends. If the stress level is too high, the body has to overcome it, whether it is a human or a grape snail. For example, gambling addiction can be a way of overcoming it. Of course, reasonable gambling is normal, just try National Casino.
However, it is important to distinguish two forms of stress management. The first is increasing predictability by changing your environment. If the level of stress in any situation is off the scale, it is natural to want to get away from this situation. For example, lock yourself in a room and do not come out until Monday. If you experience this desire every weekend, it is a clear indication that you spend the rest of the week away from the psychological norm.
These reactions are inherited from our evolutionary ancestors. They weren’t stressed by working with a broken printer, but rather by encountering something like a leopard on the next branch. So, the reaction of walking away from stress is not a sign of weakness, but rather an indication that the situation is already putting you under too much stress – and you don’t have the mental strength to deal with it. Perhaps you should walk away not from the stressful situation, but from the cause that regularly causes it.
YOU PERFORM AIMLESS REPETITIVE ACTIONS
You can increase predictability not only by passive withdrawal but also by influencing the situation itself – it’s called a struggle for control. Not only do you increase predictability, but you also profit from the situation by forcing circumstances to act in ways that align with your will. The successful struggle for control leads to a higher social status not only in humans but also in animals.
The problem is that the workplace is full of situations where increasing control is impossible for objective reasons. What does our cunning brain suggest in this case? Increase control in a situation that has nothing to do with stress! If your work is accompanied by constantly pushing a button on your fountain pen, tossing a pencil or, even worse, nonstop walking around your office, you should wonder if you’re comfortable enough with it.
TERRIBLE BOREDOM IS ALSO STRESSFUL
The state when novelty and stimuli are completely absent is also stressful. It is called “hypostress,” as opposed to “distress,” which occurs when too much stimulus is present. In the picture, this condition is at the other end of the curve – the optimum is just as far from there as the “classic” stress.
It is impossible to die from hypostress, but it is possible to develop psychological and even physiological problems. Depression, lethargy, frustration, bad moods – all these can accompany hypostress. Some people think that a dream job is one where you can sit and do nothing all day. This is a straight road to hypostress.
HOW TO COPE WITH STRESS
And yet the enemy has broken through our barriers and confidently goes on the attack: the stress is already here. What to do in such a case?
The most important fact is that you need a distraction, a change of scenery. The next step is to stop staying at work longer than usual. Try to organize your workday so that there is enough time for everything. Today, you should deal only with those things that need to be completed on time. In the rest of the cases, you can either not start or limit yourself to mapping out a plan of further action.
And after work, it is better not to go home immediately, but to diversify your evening: a meeting with a friend, going to the movies, to a cafe … At the weekend it is better to spend out of town, or in the city, but not as you used to, to switch.
Try to figure out the reason why you are in such a bad situation. These reasons are usually several, and they are all related to your work. It is very unnerving to be afraid of losing it. Most often, such feelings arise because of your age or because of dissatisfaction with the management. Often the cause of stress is the monotony of work and the inability to change anything. Many cannot properly combine work and personal life, giving themselves completely to only one thing, often the first.
An unusual, but very effective way to relieve stress is to tap your palm or foot on the floor (table). In order not to be heard, you just need to take off your shoes or beat them with the edge of your palm. This allows you to concentrate better, to vent the negativity. Then calmly return to the working atmosphere.