Take action on workplace stress

Stress in the workplace is not necessarily a bad thing. Stress is part of what motivates us and what helps us to achieve. Stress in the workplace becomes a problem when it is excessive or continuous. It then becomes something that has a negative impact on both our productivity and our mental health.  Often we feel powerless when our stress levels build.

Overcoming this chronic stress problem is about taking small steps to tackle how you feel, what you are thinking and looking at what you do in response to the triggers. Stress at work is common, and by making small changes you can tackle it and feel that you have some control again.

Know your triggers

Knowing your enemy is one of the first steps. Noticing the times and situations that make you feel stressed is important. What was happening, who was there, what was your reaction, and how did you feel. You might start to notice that the stress has some common themes. Perhaps you worry about phoning people, or perhaps you are concerned about speaking up in meetings or going in each morning to look in your inbox. Starting to identify these triggers allows you to tackle stress and anxiety at the root.

As you identify each trigger, look to see how you might reduce its effect. Can you change your behaviour or the way you think about the trigger? Could you group your phone calls together at the start of the day and get them out of the way? Could you open all of your emails, then prioritise them to deal with the most important one? Does more practice make you feel more confident about presentations? Look at how you can re-frame each trigger to take away its power by behaving differently when you encounter it.

Take a break

Often when we are stressed we get too close to the problem to resolve it, and it helps our anxiety and our stress to take a break. Walk around the building; disconnect. Perhaps do some breathing exercises.

It’s equally important that when we are outside of work that we try to switch off by focusing on things that we enjoy or take pleasure in. Let your body and mind switch off for a while so it can come back fresh and ready to tackle the issues.

Finally, it’s important to ask for help if you feel that you cannot stop the stress. If the stress in the workplace is overwhelming your life it is important to ask for help. Counselling can make a big difference in helping you bring balance back and helping you to focus on feeling in control in your life. Often companies will have a helpline that staff can contact confidentially for help, and just starting to talk about how you are feeling will begin to make a difference.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Glasgow, G46
Written by Graeme Orr, MBACP(Accred) Counsellor
Glasgow, G46

Graeme is a counsellor and author, living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice, he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.

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