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Man with stress with head in hands

Stress and the workplace

Stress contributes to lack of productivity in the work place and increased days off work.  Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure, and pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope.

Having an anxiety disorder can make a major impact in the workplace. People may turn down a promotion or other opportunity because it involves travel or public speaking; make excuses to get out of office parties, staff lunches, and other events or meetings with coworkers; or be unable to meet deadlines.

In a national survey on anxiety in the workplace, people with anxiety disorders commonly cited these as difficult situations: dealing with problems; setting and meeting deadlines; maintaining personal relationships; managing staff; participating in meetings, and making presentations.

Physical reaction

When people feel anxiety by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. These chemicals give people more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger. But this can also be a bad thing, if it is in response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength.  Hypnotherapy can help.

Stress Relief – tips to cope

Here are some useful tips to help you reduce the feelings of stress:

1. Break your tasks into smaller chunks.  

A lot of people struggling with anxiety at work feel overwhelmed when looking at their schedules or ‘to do’ lists.  Breaking down tasks into shorter time increments can help you realize you’re capable of getting through the day. Prioritize your tasks and go hour-by-hour.  After one hour, set another goal, and your day will slowly start to feel less overwhelming. By breaking down large tasks and by allocating specific time blocks to complete work you will be more productive and ultimately less anxious.

2. Then – Learn to Be Kind to Yourself.  

We are often our own worst critic, so practice some self-compassion.  Only let yourself criticize your behaviours to the extent you would criticize someone you cared about.  If you are experiencing unhelpful self-criticisms, try to imagine if you would think or say the same things to a family member or friend.  Chances are you wouldn’t, so why not treat yourself with the same respect?.

3. Find Your Breath.  

If you’re anxious, the chances are you’ve most likely forgotten to take the time to breathe.  Simple breathing techniques like deep breathing will help you consciously calm your mind.  To do this, breathe deeply into the bottom of your stomach (diaphragm), watching as your belly expands like a balloon.  Then, begin to breathe out slowly.  Repeat this process for at least one minute.  Close your eyes if you can, taking deeper, slower and longer breaths each time.  Once you begin to pay attention to your inhalations and exhalations, you can practice this at your desk, on your commute or whenever you feel you need to relax.

4. Finally – Think Positive.  

The more you let a negative thought unravel, the more havoc it can wreak.  Make a conscious effort to recognize when a negative thought comes into your mind, then instead of dwelling on it, simply let it go.  Or, try to flip it around and find a positive that can come from it.  There will always be positive and negative outcomes in every situation.  You can either choose to dwell on the negative, or make the most of what you have.

Get Help

Learning to control workplace anxiety is easier said than done.  But the best way to overcome your concerns is not to ignore them, but to face them head on.  If your struggle becomes persistent, reach out for help, and most importantly don’t feel embarrassed.  You would be surprised with how many people feel the same way you do.