You can't eliminate stress completely. Nor would you want to. Instead, consider that most stress comes from a sense of powerlessness, and that it can be managed by building up your abilities and competence.
Whether you love your job or are just glad to have a job, you will experience stress from time to time. It is inevitable.
But before you get all stressed out about it, keep in mind that there’s good stress and there’s bad stress.
Recent studies have shown that temporary, short-term stress can actually boost cognitive function and goose your immune system — i.e., make you smarter and healthier.
Chronic, long-term stress, on the other hand, is bad. It can lead to high blood pressure, fatigue, depression and problems of all kinds … not to mention more stress.
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You can’t eliminate stress completely. Nor would you want to. Instead, consider that most stress comes from a sense of powerlessness, and that it can be managed by building up your abilities and competence.
Here are 25 ideas for successful stress management in the workplace:
1. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
2. Resist perfectionism.
3. Stop trying to multitask.
4. Make sure you know what is expected of you (you may need to talk with your boss).
5. Improve your skills (i.e., become faster and better at what you do).
6. Resist the urge to micromanage (yourself and others).
7. Cultivate a sense of humor.
8. Get enough sleep.
9. Try getting to work five or 10 minutes early.
10. Don’t overdo the caffeine.
11. Don’t skip breakfast or lunch.
12. Move your body (get up and stretch, or take a walk at lunch).
13. Take breaks, both physical and mental.
14. Vary your routine, if you can.
15. Make friends/allies at work.
16. Talk about your stress to somebody.
17. Find a way to harmlessly vent (e.g., exercise).
18. Post family photos or other happy images in your workspace.
19. Remind yourself of what’s really important in life (see #18).
20. Take some alone time.
21. Practice looking at situations from various points of view.
22. Resist letting your emotions control you.
23. Learn to recognize symptoms of stress (headache, anger) so you can deal with them right away.
24. Slow down and deepen your breathing.
25. Focus on the now (i.e., don’t agonize over the past, don’t fret over the future).
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.