Stressed at Work? How to Handle Difficult Days

If you’re employed, you’re almost guaranteed to feel stressed at work, at least once in a while. Sometimes that tension may feel like it’s getting the better of you.

As you continue to encounter stressful situations, your resilience may feel more worn down with each incident. You may eventually find yourself reacting instead of responding, which can have negative physical, mental and emotional repercussions.

However, you can control how you react to stress. If you feel like you’re at your limit with workplace tension, take action now.

Surefire Techniques to Combat Job-Related Stress

Try these ideas to develop the ability to cope positively with on-the-job stress:

  1. Take a walk. Walking is perhaps one of the most underrated techniques for reversing the effects of negative situations. For handling stress at work, a brisk walk around the building or around the block can really help to clear your head. A little exercise will also give you the push to make it through the rest of the day.
    • Maintain a brisk pace from beginning to end
    • Stretch your limbs fully
    • Concentrate on your pace and take your mind off of your challenges in the office
  2. Take deep breaths. For centuries, deep breathing has been pinpointed as an effective technique for relaxation. It’s an integral part of popular forms of exercise like yoga, Pilates and even swimming. The bottom line is that your brain needsoxygen, and deep breathing helps your brain get it!To use breathing to help maintain your composure under stress:
    • Stand upright when taking your deep breaths. That way, you’ll feel the effects from head to toe.
    • Keep your eyes closed and focus on listening to your body inhale and exhale.
    • Combine breathing with stretches, lifting yourself up onto your toes and extending your arms above your head.
  3. Avoid engaging with the stressors. Sometimes, having stressors right in your face can make you feel like you’re going to explode! Instead, try bidding a hasty retreat. If you can’t get rid of what’s stressing you, take yourself away from it. Remember, everything ends at some point.
    • If your stressor is a person, take a break from the confrontation. Walk out if you must!
    • If an issue is what’s causing tension, get help addressing the challenge. That way, you won’t feel like you’re in the boat alone.
    • When you return, the issue will either be out of your way completely, or will seem much easier to manage!
  4. Drink cool water. Surprisingly, it’s pretty easy to get immediate stress relief by drinking cool water. When we get worked up, our entire body reacts, and not just our emotions. Drinking water helps to cool down the body and can restore a sense of calmness.

Eliminating stress factors from the workplace completely is almost impossible, even if you work at a spa. On those days when tension seems to get the better of you, you’ll find relief by adapting some of these tips to your situation. You can start forming your stress-reduction habits today and feel the relief immediately!

Staying Calm in Stressful Situations: Tricks from the Trenches

If you were to sit down and talk with a military veteran, an enlisted officer, or a family member, you will soon discover that dealing with high amounts of stress in their everyday life is a pretty commonplace. Words such as “post-traumatic stress disorder” and “stress-related illness” are not words that are bantered about; they are real conditions and situations that these people cope with on a moment to moment basis.

And they are not the only ones. More and more people, from many different walks of life have to learn how to cope and deal with increased levels of chronic stress. Whether the stress you feel comes from a demanding job, a chaotic family life, or something in between, learning how to remain calm in a stressful situation is paramount to mental health and well being.

Just like the body needs protection from the elements, the mind needs a type of mental armor or protection. According to Dr. Amishi Jha of the University of Pennsylvania, research has shown that it is possible to cushion yourself against stress, and those tactics used by military personnel can often work just as effectively with everyday civilians. Here are a few of the most effective.

Meditation

Despite its connotation as being a new-age type of thing, meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and in a number of different ways. Plus, it doesn’t need to have any spiritual connotations associated with it. Practicing a form of mindfulness meditation can boost stress resilience, help to calm a person’s thought process and nerves, and help to train you to live in the moment instead of agonizing about the future. It was shown, for example that after eight weeks of meditating, Marines became less reactive to the stresses in their lives, and became more alert and had better memory retention.

Recognizing Your Knee Jerk Reactions

Another effective way to deal with stressful situations is to train your body and your mind to react differently to the common stressors that you experience. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is a great way to train you to not react to the stressor in the same way. Methods often used include such things as exposure therapy, where people relive past experiences in small dosages under the watchful supervision of a therapist until memories become less traumatic.

While these intensive visualization exercises should only be performed under the direction of a trained and licensed professional, a less intense form, or practicing feeling stressed is an effective way to help train you how to cope with a stressful situation. By knowing how your body and mind will react, you can more effectively alter your reaction to a more positive one.

For example, try imagining yourself in a tense situation, such as your commute to work. See if you can imagine the tension that you commonly feel. Then write out the factors contributing to the situation at hand.

  1. If I don’t leave by 7:00 am I will be late
  2. Traffic is really congested during this time of day. I can sit in the traffic for at least an hour.
  3. There’s nothing good on the radio that time of morning.

Now consider how you can change the amount of tension that you are feeling. For example, if there is nothing on the radio, perhaps bringing one of your hour long audio books might be a good distraction. This thought exercise accomplishes two different things. First, it makes you realize that the stress you are feeling can be managed. Second, it provides you with a specific way to help reduce the impact of the stress in that situation. This is just one of the methods used by CBT, and if you are interested in trying other ones, the best course of action is to contact a certified practitioner through the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists at www.nacbt.org.

While mental exercises like the ones described above are quite effective in reducing the level of stress that you feel physical exercise is also a great way to alleviate stress as well. In addition, regular exercise, such as bike riding can be a great way to increase muscle tone, lower your blood pressure, and increase your respiratory health. All of which can greatly help in managing your body’s reaction to a stressful situation. While any kind of regular exercise has its benefits, studies have shown that regular exercise outside, such as a bike ride, going for a hike, or even playing a game of softball with your friends are more effective at reducing stress. It has been shown that a combination of activity, fresh air, and friends often help a person gain great strides in handling their stress.

Learning the skills needed to cope in a stressful situation can become an asset to you in nearly every situation. There are a number of different ways, and some of the most effective have been described here.

Stress Tests

Stress is a part of our everyday lives. We already know this so why do we need a test to tell us so? Stress tests are more than a litmus test for determining if you have stress. They evaluate the body’s responses to stress. In other words, they tell you how your body is dealing with stress.

We all experience stress in some way. How do we respond to it? Some people cry, shout, scream, or just give in to the situation. There are many ways to view a stressful situation, but unfortunately they are not all good responses.

When our stress is bad enough or consistent enough, it affects our bodies in negative ways. We don’t always pay attention to what our bodies are saying to us. It’s like our heads know better than the rest of us so we just keep pushing on until our bodies have had enough and begin to retaliate.

The point of stress tests is to find out how our bodies feel before they go postal on us. Since we won’t listen, the doctors and clinical psychologists will. There are a variety of stress tests that people can take part in to determine how their body handles the stressors around them. The results of these tests can then assist in helping to deal with them in more positive ways for both our bodies and our minds.

Physical Stress Tests

These are the most common stress tests. Most involve the affects of stress on our hearts. Let’s face it. If the heart isn’t happy, we won’t be long for this world. The heart pumps blood throughout the entire body and to the lungs where our bodies exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen.

During a stress test, the participant walks on a treadmill or, in some cases, rides a stationary bike. During the test, a clinician monitors heart rate and blood pressure. This exercise stress test can indicate if you have problems with your heart that can be caused by stressful situations. People who learn how to manage their stress will usually perform better than those who have no outlet.

Other Stress Tests

Another physical stress test is the Thallium test. This involves injecting the patient with radioactive isotopes of thallium to test for blockages in the blood vessels of the heart.

A Barium test is performed to evaluate stress on the digestive system. When we are under stress, the stomach empties slowly but the colon empties faster than normal. Conducting a barium test over time will show how the digestive system is being affected by stressful situations in your life.

Mental stress tests are conducted by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Through a series of pointed questions and responses to photographs, it is determined what type of personality you have. Based on that, your profile will determine if you are more or less prone to stress and how to manage it.

Stress tests are one way to determining if stress is negatively affecting your life. Some people don’t even know that their bodies are suffering under the weight of stress until something catastrophic happens. Avoid unnecessary pain with a stress test.