Relieve stress……Nowadays the problem of stress is very urgent and this issue is of great importance for psychologists, researchers and many other professionals; actually we cannot imagine our life without any stress at all. Stress is increasingly becoming accepted as a workplace phenomenon negatively affecting a growing number of people across the world.
In fact, it’s almost impossible to live without some stress; moreover, the majority of people would not want to, because on the one hand it gives life some spice and excitement. But on the other hand, if stress gets out of control, it may harm our health, relationships, and enjoyment of life in general. In the short term, stress helps us cope with tough situations during the life. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and can affect our overall health and well-being.
Scientists define stress as the emotional and physical way in which we respond to pressure. it can cause both mental (tension, irritability, inability to concentrate, feeling excessively tired, trouble sleeping, etc.) and physical symptoms (dry mouth, difficulty with breathing, stomach upset, headache, sweating palms, etc.).
All these symptoms make our life less enjoyable, and on the contrary just add irritation and discomfort, as a result we feel more and more stressed.
Nowadays many people say that they are tired and frustrated of their lifestyle as far as they work too much and stop taking breaks; very often people experience no personal satisfaction in their work and they do not love what they do. Some people don’t feel content even when they achieve their goal and then want relieve from stress.
1. Alarm reaction
When confronted with a threat to our safety, our first response is physiological arousal: our muscles tense and breathing and heart rate become more rapid. This serves us well when the threat is the proverbial bull in the field rushing towards us. We either fight or flee.
Present day threats tend to be more psychological—for example, unjustified verbal attack by a superior at work. It is usually not socially acceptable to act by “fight or flight”, and an alternative means of expressing the resultant emotional and physical energy is required. This falls in the arena of assertive communication.
The second adaptive mechanism allows us to cease responding when we learn that stimuli in the environment are no longer a threat to our safety. For example, when we first spend time in a office near a railway line, our response to trains hurtling past is to be startled. Over time, our response dwindles. If this process did not function, we would eventually collapse from physical wear and tear, and mental exhaustion.
Stress factors at work
Place were we work is an important source of both demands and pressures causing stress at work, and structural and social resources to counteract stress.
The factors that have been found to be associated with stress and health risks can be categorised. As those to do with the content of work and those to do with the social and organisational context of work.
- Intrinsic to job: poor physical working conditions, work overload, time pressures, physical danger etc.
- Role in organisation: role ambiguity role conflict, responsibility for people, conflicts re organisational boundaries (internal and external), etc
- Career development: over promotion, under promotion, lack of job security thwarted ambition etc.
- Relationship at work: poor relations with boss, subordinates, or colleagues, difficulties in delegating responsibility etc.
- Organisational structure and climate: little or no participation in decision, restrictions on behaviour (budgets, etc), office politics, lack of effective consultation, financial difficulties, etc.
Individual pattern of stress
Individuals differ in their risk of experiencing stress and in their vulnerability to the adverse effects of stress. Individuals are more likely to experience stress if they lack material resources (for example, financial security) and psychological resources (for example, coping skills, self esteem).
They more likely to be harmed by this stress if they tend to react emotionally to situations and are highly competitive and pressured.
Individuals shows their different thresholds for responses to stress. A successful strategy for relieving stress within the workplace will ensure that the job fits the person, rather than trying to make people fit jobs that they are not well suited to.
Symptoms of having stress at work
Symptoms of stress can be seen in people’s behaviour, especially in changes in behaviour. Acute responses to stress may be in the areas of, behaviour, thinking or physical symptoms. If stress at work persists, there are changes in neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, autonomic and immunological functioning, leading to mental and physical ill health.
- How you feel (emotions)
- How you think (cognitions)
- Poor concentration and memory
- Poor organisation and decision making
- Less creative in problem solving
- Hypersensitive to criticism
- Your body
- Sweating, dizzy, nauseous, breathless
- Aches and pains
- Frequent infections
- Asthma, ulcers, skin complaints, cardiac problems
- How you behave
- Have accidents/make mistakes
- Eating/sleeping problems
- Take drugs (e.g. tobacco, alcohol)
- Problematic social behaviour (e.g. withdrawal, aggression)
Methods to relieve stress at work
Most interventions to reduce the risk to health associated with stress in the workplace involve both individual and organisational approaches.
The prevention and management of stress at work requires organisational level interventions, because it is the organisation that creates the stress.
1. Know your stress
Keep notes of the reasons and situation that cause stress to you, then can find a way to relieve stress. Record your thoughts, feelings, and information about the environment, including the people and circumstances involved, the physical setting, and how you reacted. Think about the changes you need to make at work in order to reduce your stress levels and then take action.
2. Relax for a while
Practicing ‘relaxation’ is paramount to managing stress. When we relax, the flow of blood increases around our body giving us more energy. It helps us to have a calmer and clearer mind which aids positive thinking, concentration, memory and decision making.
Relaxation slows our heart rate, reduces our blood pressure and relieves tension. It also aids digestion as we absorb essential nutrients more efficiently when relaxed, which helps to fight off disease and infection.
3. Good time management
Good time management is essential if you are to handle a heavy workload without excessive stress. Time management helps you to reduce long-term stress by giving you direction when you have too much work to do.
It puts you in control of where you are going and helps you to increase your productivity and relieve stress. By being efficient in your use of time, you should enjoy your current work more, and should find that you able to maximise the time outside work to relax and enjoy life.
4. Work-life balance to relieve stress
Creating a balance between work and life can be challenging, whereas both demand your attention and energy. When properly balancing a career and personal life, you become healthier, both mentally and physically and enjoy an enhanced lifestyle.
With a work-life balance, you will be able to manage your time better, which will impact various aspects of your life positively. Manage your time effectively by reviewing job activities, priorities and success factors. Create a boundary between balancing work and personal time-leave work at work where possible.
5. Tackle negative thinking
Sometimes, we overthink and over worry about certain situations that we really do not need to. Change is inevitable, and soon the stressor that’s leaving you with negative thoughts, would feel like it was forever ago, especially when you’re focusing on the next stressor. By focusing on negatives, rather than concentrating on the positives, you heighten the stress by adopting a negative mind set. So, if we can change the way that we perceive things, we can often relieve stress levels.
Fear, doubt and negative thinking allow your mind to focus on things you do not want. What you focus on, you will attract. Try to think only about what you would love and hope to happen and avoid thinking about what you don’t want. It’s all about perception.
6. Take group support for relieving stress
Social support has been widely studied as a factor that minimizes the effects on stress, and the results are somewhat striking. Not only does social support help people feel less stressed, but it can also actually improve your health and decrease their mortality risk.
Creating a circle of supportive friends may take a little effort, but it is worth it in terms of benefits to your general health and wellbeing. Creating strong relationships in your life is therefore vital for you and for those you love. You can also find out some ways in which you can cultivate social support as a stress reliever.
7. Introduce yoga, meditation and exercise
The best part about yoga is that it helps you discover more about your mind, body, and emotions. Yoga can help you become more balanced, calm, focused, and relaxed as you go through life’s usual ups and downs.
Of course, you won’t instantly feel more positive, calm, or energetic after doing a few yoga poses. As with all good things, the effects of yoga need to build up over time.
But if you give yourself a half hour each day to do a few yoga poses, after a couple of weeks you should start noticing a subtle change. Keep going longer and yoga will become a natural part of your daily routine, ready to help you relieve stresses well into the future.
8. Keep distance from negative colleagues
Complainers and negative people fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude. But there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.
You can avoid this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.
9. Plan a vacation
One single short vacation has positive effects on the well-being, recovery, strain, and perceived stress of people, independent of the mode of vacation. Evidence suggested that positive vacation effects were prolonged by including physical activity.
Several studies have shown positive effects of vacationing on wellbeing and performance-related outcomes. Overall, the expected additional positive effects of changing daily routines and the usual environment seems to be crucial for relieving stress.
10. Talk to therapist
Talking to a therapist about stress can also be a key part of addressing and relieving stress in the long-term. After getting to know you, a therapist may recommend healthy strategies to relieve stress. They might personalize these to best suit your needs.
Therapy can help address stress that occurs as a result of life events. Counselling can help address these concerns and other effects they can have on a person’s life. When workplace issues lead to stress, for example, a therapist may help a person explore ways to deal with those issues. If an individual is stressed because of a family or relationship issue, couples or family therapy may help them resolve the issue. This can relieve stress for everyone involved.