Everyone encounters job stress sooner or later — but that doesn’t make it easier. There are many aspects of your work environment that you have no control over — but you can take action to manage stress so that work doesn’t take a toll on your well-being.
Workplace stress has been linked to serious health problems — including heart attack. Your body releases greater amounts of the hormone cortisol in response to stress — stimulating an increased appetite for high-fat, high-sugar foods, and increasing fat storage in the abdomen. A study of workers coping with corporate restructuring and layoffs revealed that chronic job stress led to weight gain. Not surprisingly, consumption of high-fat, high-calorie vending machine snacks went way up during the most stressful periods. Research also shows that intense job stress is an independent risk factor for high blood pressure at work, home, and even while sleeping.
Mindfulness is a way of zeroing in on the here and now instead of ruminating over the past, mulling over the future, or doing several things at once. Give your full attention to the task at hand, whether it’s a call, a meeting, or a project. Scrolling through your messages while on a phone conference may feel productive — but in the long run, multitasking will only add to your stress and drain your energy.
Get to know your co-workers by asking about their weekends, inviting their opinions, and eating lunch together. Collegial co-worker relationships make the workplace more pleasant for everyone —and studies even show that a positive outlook is contagious. Offer genuine compliments. Smile frequently — it’ll boost your mood and encourage those around you to lighten up.
Miscommunication is the root of many workplace conflicts. Clarify details and expectations for every job task. Check for understanding if you’re the one dishing out assignments.
Annoying co-workers are best dealt with immediately and directly — or the behavior may get worse. If your co-worker distracts you with loud, lengthy personal calls, talk with her privately instead of just getting frustrated. If it continues, speak with your manager.
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