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We often read articles about the different ways to unwind and relax after a stressful day, which I always find useful, but for me, the most important advice would be to get to the source of the problem, and cut stress out before it even happen.
Stress is a response to challenges in life, and a life without challenges is too tedious to contemplate. However, I do believe that most of the stress in our lives is unnecessary and that it can be eliminated by taking some simple steps. It can’t be accomplished overnight.
One of the biggest threats to productivity is stress. It saps your creativity, tires you out, and just generally sours your mood. Along with the personal problems that are involved with stress, there is a bevy of professional ones as well.
Excessive stress can lead to absences in the workplace, poor performance on the job, and even a dismissal. In fact, a survey of some of the largest employers concluded that stress is the number one reason that people quit their jobs.
There is no denying that it’s become increasingly common for employers to require their staff to stay later while not being compensated for their time. For instance, in Australia, there has been reported that three in five workers work more hours than they are actually paid for. This is what you might think of as a compounded stress, too, when you consider the fact that the person is not being paid for their time and will miss out on precious time with their family.
With all of this being said, there are ways of dealing with stress that you can employ in your daily life.
Here are 6 things you can do to bust your stress and boost your performance:
1. Focus on your attitude
When you’re looking at how to deal with stress, it’s quite common that you might look to things like changing your environment. While this is definitely important for figuring out how to deal with stress, it’s perhaps even more important that you maintain the proper attitude.
We can’t always affect what happens in our lives, but we most certainly have a say in how we choose to think about it. Reacting in a negative way to stress tends to make it worse and can lead to a domino effect where the stress only gets worse and worse.
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard
2. Become aware of the physical signs of stress
One of the ways that you can start to get a handle on your stress levels is to figure out what triggers your stress. You can make a list of these things and then assess how they physically make you feel.
Our body’s fight or flight response tends to activate in times of great stress, and that can result in symptoms like shortness of breath, a pounding heartbeat, panic symptoms, and even being irritable or angry.
Unfortunately, it’s common that employees will attribute some of these symptoms to illnesses in their body. While there are illnesses that manifest some of these symptoms, it’s just as common for anxiety and fear to bring them on.
3. Know what works for you
Try to think about what it is in your life that makes you happy and quickly decreases your stress level. Of course, this is going to be different for everyone, but it could include things like going for a good run, reading a good book, or maybe even meditating. Whatever it is, it’s a good idea to prioritize this thing and make it a daily part of your life.
4. Open up
The more stressed we are, the harder it tends to be for us to open up to others. Being able to reach out and get the help you need from someone you trust is crucial, though. Think of your stress as a boiler with a valve. It’s crucial to open that valve every now and then so the whole thing doesn’t blow.
5. Take responsibility
While blame is toxic and just tends to get you spinning your tires in place, taking responsibility for your actions and then moving on is the best and only way to ensure that you achieve positive results in the future.
There’s a very good chance that someone else contributed to whatever situation you find yourself in, but it’s important to acknowledge your role in whatever it is that happened. This is an important method of stress reduction because it allows you to put aside past results and work towards more positive future ones.
6. Exercise is important
It’s been well-documented just how important exercise is for our physical health, but it’s just as necessary towards our mental health as well. It’s best to make a regular routine of exercise as opposed to doing it every once in awhile. Habits and routines are important when it comes to decreasing your stress.
“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.”
– David Allen
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it should definitely get you well on your way toward finding what works best for you. Considering just how insidious and dangerous stress can be when it comes to the workplace, it’s that much more important that employees protect themselves against its negative effects.
Keeping busy is very important in this ever-changing, interconnected world, but it’s also just as important for people to get themselves as healthy as they can possibly be.
What has helped you manage your stress? Please leave your thoughts below!
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