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How To Cope With Workplace Stress Effectively

How To Cope With Workplace Stress Effectively

Stress is all too common in the work place. There are a number of contributing causes, including fear of being let go, pressure to not make mistakes, too much overtime, and lack of job satisfaction. Any of those factors can be overwhelming for someone who doesn’t know how to keep his or her stress levels under control. Below are six ways you can effectively manage workplace stress.

1. Recognize When You’re Stressed

Stress can take a number of different forms, both mental and physical. You may be feeling depressed, anxious, or irritable. You may also be tired, scatterbrained, or lacking motivation. Additionally, you might notice some muscle pain, headaches, stomach problems, or a reduced sex drive. If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, ask yourself what could have you stressed. Once you identify your stressor, remember to…

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2. Keep Things in Perspective

If you recognize that you’re stressed, remind yourself that things aren’t as bad as they seem at this moment. Your stress is causing your body to respond disproportionally to whatever predicament you’re in, and how you feel right now isn’t indicative of its severity. Simply remind yourself that you’re probably overreacting and the best thing you can do is keep calm so that you can evaluate your situation with a level head. It may get you closer to realizing that it helps to…

3. Know When to Let Things Go

When someone tells you to “let it go” you rarely feel more relieved. Maybe it would be more effective if that person told you why letting go of what’s troubling you go is a good option. For one, your body can’t handle the stress. The symptoms mentioned above won’t subside until you stop focusing on the cause of all your pressure. Secondly, stressing will get you absolutely nowhere. You can’t change anything or fix any mistakes by inflicting emotional pain on yourself. If anything, your stress will only make things worse. Lastly, you’re not always objective in these sorts of circumstances. Your problem may not be as bad as it seems, or may only be temporary. There are all sorts of reasons not to hold on to what’s causing you stress when it can often be just as easy to let it all go. Once you do let go, remind yourself of how you can avoid or dampen stress in the future. One way is to…

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4. Find a Work-Life Balance

If your job is everything to you, of course a setback in the workplace will feel catastrophic. Find a healthy balance between your time at work and the rest of your life so that all your eggs aren’t in one basket. Spend social time with friends and family, pursue nonwork interests, and be sure to include relaxing activities in your schedule so that you can you wind down after a busy day. And, of course…

5. Live a Healthy Life

A jog might be the last thing you want to do before you work an eight-hour day, but it can often be the best thing for you. When you can barely catch your breath, you will struggle to feel stressed about something happening at work. Your exhaustion frees you, clearing your mind, increasing energy, and benefiting your mood. Healthy eating habits also help. Your mind and body will feel a lot more level with frequent, small meals than with the occasional candy bar or slice of pizza. If even this fails to help you cope with stress then you should seek…

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6. Social Support

Oftentimes the solution to workplace stress can be found in the workplace itself. Many employers offer employee assistance programs to help you deal with things at work that negatively affect your well-being. The intensity of the work environment can often be the cause of stress, but employers know that and understand that programs that improve an employee’s well-being and job performance are beneficial to both sides.

Featured photo credit: Giuseppe Savo via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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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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