When you look at the big things that cause stress in our lives, they usually come down to these FOUR factors:

  • Relationships
  • Work
  • Money
  • Health

When we look at work-related stress, it combines ALL of the them…

Toxic stress at work will flow into our relationships, both inside and out of work. Work stresstors and money stress are intrinsically linked and, if all of this stress becomes overwhelming, your health will suffer. With this in mind, it would appear that if we can get better at handling stress at work, our stress levels everywhere will become more manageable…

Being overwhelmed, under-appreciated or stuck in a rut are three of the things that cause stress in the workplace to become toxic. We are going to look at 5 ways to reduce toxic stress and turn stress into a powerful tool to help you be more productive:

1. Change how you see stress

When stress hits (and it will) it can have a heavy impact on our work, relationships and even our health can suffer. Stress can create such panic and anxiety that it becomes your “dominant thought”. But this doesn’t have to be the case! If you change how you see stress, you can modify the outcome. Looking at stress as an adventure or a challenge rather than a threat, can fire up your body and get you excited. It can set your social rewards system into place, and the stress you were once feeling is now the foundation of self worth and pride.

2. Enjoy your successes

In a world that seems to keep getting busier and busier and our ‘to do’ lists growing, it is very easy to tick off one task and race onto the next one. Instead, take 3 seconds to stop, and acknowledge yourself that you have completed something that needed to be done. This will give you the positive encouragement your brain needs to move onto the next task and achieve that too. By celebrating the small wins, you sustain productivity and momentum.

3. Help someone else

We are a communal species and helping others will increase the connection to your co-workers and help you feel good about being you. Having the safety of a tribe makes everyone less stressed. A positive work culture is achieved when colleagues work together and help each other. You can often help others by just acknowledging and praising their good work and achievements. This releases the chemical Serotonin into your system and will get you, and others feeling good about themselves and their work. Genuine praise will provide a sense of pride and community in the workplace. You don’t have to be the boss to give praise.

4. Manage your expectations of others

A lot of people stress because their co-workers don’t do things the way they would. Understanding and accepting different people’s skills and priorities can stop you from being disappointed when they do things differently. Expectations are premeditated resentments. Don’t put your expectations onto others and get upset when they let you down. Expecting your narcissistic, selfish boss to suddenly become emotionally intelligent is only hurting you and breeding toxic stress of resentment. Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

5. Care and show you care

Nothing breeds toxic stress more than apathy or a lack of enthusiasm. Find something positive at work that aligns with your values and focus on that. Re-frame your work into something that is bigger than yourself will make even mundane tasks more fulfilling. A school janitor who cleans for money, will not enjoy work as much as a janitor who sees their job as providing a clean, healthy place for kids to learn. Look for the bigger purpose and care about the part that you play in that purpose.

Managing stress at work is a constant challenge. You will come to many forks in the stress road. Most toxic stress in your workplace is not because of situations; it’s because of your reactions to situations. By making deliberate decisions and choosing how you react to situations, work can be a fulfilling, exciting way to spend your day.

Thank you for sharing your time with me today. If you think someone needs to hear about these 5 tips to avoiding stress in the workplace, please show them you care and pass this message on to them.

 

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