Stress and change are a given in today’s workplace. In fact, employees are experiencing on-going change. They’re asked to take on new responsibilities, learn new skills, and do more with less. Many workers today have bigger workloads requiring more and more hours.
Highly resilient workers have stress-resistant personalities. They are able to manage the day-to-day stressors, and also cope well with high levels of on-going, disruptive change.
How stress-hardy are you? Here are five attitudes of resilient people. Review these characteristics to see how stress-hardy you are.
A strong sense of purpose. Resilient people have a strong sense of purpose and meaning for why they are doing what they’re doing. They are guided by a vision that gives meaning to their work and lives.
A healthy sense of control. The emphasis is on “personal control”. Stress-hardy people focus their energy on those events that they have influence over, rather than situations beyond their control. They accept circumstances that cannot be changed. Entrepreneur, Tim Baumgartner, an independent sales rep who sold electronics to Circuit City, was blind-sided when the company filed for bankruptcy. Within months, however, he launched an online consumer electronics store. “Whining and complaining about how you find yourself here doesn’t help,” Baumgartner says. “I’ve refocused my energy on the start-up.”
See change as a challenge or opportunity. Resilient people tend to see change as a challenge to confront and overcome, rather than an unbearable problem or a stress to avoid. They also see change as an opportunity for self-reflection, learning and growth.
Optimistic. Maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things to happen. People with an optimistic outlook do better at managing stress and chaos. When you catch yourself thinking negatively, challenge yourself to reframe the situation more positively.
Have a good sense of humor. Research shows that humor can lessen the impact of stress. Stress-hardy people are playful and curious. They find the humor in rough situations, and can laugh at themselves.
By developing these attitudes you can become more stress-hardy, which will not only help you survive, but thrive, in today’s workplace.
To learn more about managing stress, listen to Managing Workplace Stress CD.
Do you feel stressed out on the job? If so, you’re not alone. In a recent Gallup poll, 80% of people felt stress on the job, and nearly 40% said they needed help managing stress. Stress in the workplace has become a serious issue. The American Institute of Stress claims that stress is America’s No. 1 health problem, and “job stress is the major culprit”.
Here are other statistics that support this view:
- Nearly 50% of all U.S. workers feel overwhelmed by a growing number of job tasks and longer working hours (Families and Work Institute).
- According to an Integra survey, U.S. workers complain of the following maladies due to work-related stress:
- 62% of workers routinely end the day with work-related neck pain
- 44% report strained eyes
- 38% complain of hand pain
- 34% report difficulty in sleeping
So what are the specific causes of work-related stress?
According to a 2006 StressPulse survey by ComPsych, the main causes of stress are attributed to the following factors:
- 46% due to workload
- 28% due to personal issues
- 20% due to juggling work and personal lives
- 6% due to lack of job security
I’m guessing the last factor, job security, has become an even greater stressor in the last couple years.
What would you say are the main causes of your work-related stress? Please share with other readers.
To learn how to deal with work-related stress, attend my FREE teleseminar on “Managing Workplace Stress” on October 21st at 12:00 p.m. Pacific time. Click here for more information.
Have you ever had one of those days? You’re working against a deadline on an important project and the system crashes. An irate customer chews you out because he received the wrong order. How do you react to such situations? Do you get stressed out? Do you snap at your assistant and then go home and kick the dog? Or… do you take a deep breath, center yourself, and look on the positive side? How can you get back on track and continue to be productive throughout the day? Here are a few stress-busters to help you have a good day!
- Remain calm. Don’t over-react. Pause and assess the situation.
- Breathe deeply. After an especially stressful situation, take a few minutes to breathe deeply. Inhale and count to five and then exhale slowly. As you exhale imagine all your tension leaving your body.
- Tense and relax your muscles. Most people carry their tension in their neck and shoulders. Tense up those muscles, and then relax them. Repeat this a few times.
- Take a short walk. Get outside to get some fresh air or just walk the halls to stretch your legs. The exercise, however short, will do you good.
- Use positive self-talk. Look at stress as a challenge rather than a problem. Use self-talk to help maintain a positive attitude toward stress. For example, tell yourself, “I know I can overcome this challenge.” Focus on what you can learn from the experience rather than how difficult it is.
- Keep things in perspective. Although your current stressor can be frustrating, rather than focus on it, keep the big picture in mind. For example, if you turn in your project late, your boss won’t like it, but you won’t be fired. Ask yourself, “How important will this be ten years from now?” It will likely be inconsequential.
- Talk to a colleague or friend. It helps to have someone you can talk to; someone who will listen and acknowledge your frustration. Oftentimes by talking through an issue with a trusted colleague or friend, you can come up with creative solutions.
- Visualize yourself in a peaceful, relaxing setting. By using visualization you can take a little vacation in your mind for a few minutes. Imagine yourself on a warm, sandy beach soaking up the sun as you hear the waves crashing.
By using these stress-busters, you’ll combat a stressful work situation. So the next time something goes awry, you’ll be able to calm yourself and get focused again, so that you can be more productive and effective in the long run.
What do you do to calm yourself in a stressful work situation? Please share your stress-busters with other readers.