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7 Secret Techniques to Cope with Stress at Work

7 Secret Techniques to Cope with Stress at Work

In this day and age, almost everybody experience some stress at work. In fact, unhealthy working is the main reason for stress these days. If you feel like work stress is getting the best of you, here are some great tips, to help you deal with the pressure!

1.Take breaks

Most workplaces allow their workers regular breaks throughout the day. In fact, studies have shown that taking breaks can actually boost productivity levels. So, if you ever feel pressured to skip your breaks, just remember that your time may actually be better spent relaxing. You could take a walk around the block, call a friend, grab a coffee, or anything else that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back to work.

2. Practice relaxation techniques

Though taking your breaks is a great way to de-stress during the work day, sometimes you need to calm down even when you can’t get away from your desk.  For those instances, you may well want to learn some relaxation techniques, you can use without going anywhere. Some great examples to try are deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or a chanting mantra. Or, adding some tabletop plants.

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Another option is exercise, which science has shown is a great way to decrease stress. Even if you can’t fit in time for the gym outside of work, there are plenty of small exercises you can do just at your desk.  Try adding a few of these techniques to your schedule and you should see (and feel!) the results almost immediately.

3. Take time to recharge outside of work

If taking your breaks and practicing relaxation techniques at your desk still isn’t enough, make sure you aren’t adding extra stress to your plate with your outside-of-work activities.  Are you stretching yourself by helping out with your kid’s PTA? What about stressing yourself out with a house remodel? These kinds of pressures outside of work can add to an already stressful situation, making your 9 to 5 feel even busier and more demanding than it is. Take a good hard look at the commitments you’ve agreed to and see if there are any you could cut down on to make things a little easier for yourself.

Of course, that’s not to say that you should get rid of all of your non-work activities. In fact, though you want to cut down on things that add to your workload, you should increase the time you spend doing things that help you relieve stress. From volunteering to shooting hoops with the guys, these kinds of extracurricular activities have been shown to lower stress levels, changing both your work and home life for the better.

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4. Develop and maintain your support networks

Sometimes you don’t have to change anything about the amount of work you have at home or at your job, to feel like things are a little easier to deal with. Just having a strong support network of friends and family is a huge help in dealing with stress. Socializing allows you to take your mind off things, and having a friend or family member to confide in gives you a way to vent and let off some of your stress.

So, if you’re putting off socializing because you’re stressed out with work, you may actually be making things harder for yourself! Instead, consider reaching out to your friends for something as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee or some drinks after work—it may be just the break from work that your nerves needed!

5. Create a relaxing space for yourself at home

A lot of the stress you are experiencing at work could be due to the atmosphere of your workplace. If you’re in a bland, gray cubicle you’re likely to feel far more disheartened, than if you’ve added some decoration to make your office feel like it really belongs to you.

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Similarly, if you work from home some or all of the time, make sure you have a space designated just for that purpose, somewhere where your family members won’t bother you and you are able to concentrate in comfort. Get yourself a man cave to escape into, at home or just a more nicely decorated cubicle and you’ll see your stress levels decline in no time.

6. Avoid stressors or come up with healthier responses

If you’ve looked outside of work for possible stressors and don’t see anything problematic there, it may be time to turn your eye inward. Are there potential stressors at work that aren’t necessary to doing your job? For example, if you’ve taken on the job of coordinating birthday parties for people at work on top of your usual duties, perhaps it’s time to hand that off to someone else.

Or maybe there’s a particular person at work who just gets your hackles up. If Jake from Marketing always manages to say something to put you off your game, try avoiding him as much as possible.  If you cut out the most stressful parts (or people) from your job, it might suddenly seem a lot more bearable!

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Of course, sometimes cutting out the stressful parts of your work simply isn’t possible. In that case, there are still things you can do to improve your situation. Instead of responding to those stressors, whatever they are, by immediately feeling tense, anxious or angry, practice new responses that will be better for your mood and your health. This is a great place to try some of those relaxation exercises I mentioned earlier!

7. Discuss the situation with your supervisor

If you’ve tried all of these techniques for dealing with and decreasing stress at work and you still feel like the pressure is too much, it may well be time for you to speak to your supervisor. See if there is anything your boss can do to change your workload or responsibilities to make things more manageable on your end.  Just plan ahead to make sure you are approaching your boss in the best way and you could cut your stress levels down enormously.

Lots of people get so used to feeling stressed out about work that they start to think that it’s just the way things have to be, but that’s simply not the case!  Almost any situation can be made less stressful using the right techniques. You may have to try a few different things before you figure out what works for you, but don’t give up!

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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