What to Do When Stress Targets Our Work
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us know how stress can damage productivity, relationships, and peace of mind, but now researchers are explaining what actually happens.
Stress shrinks the area of the brain that regulates self-control, according to Yale researchers. This means current stress reduces the ability to take control of the situation to calm everything down. Think of times when your life has been chaotic and you may see how stress can create a vicious circle.
Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, an agency that serves 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, took a look at ways to turn this destructive stress pattern around.
Bradberry suggests good strategies to “fix the brain” to control stress.
Take control of your phone - Being on constant alert can make it hard to relax with friends, play with your kids, or enjoy a family dinner. If you really need to be reachable for crucial calls, try using blocks of time where you are available. When you check in, you can respond to new situations. Experiment with breaks during the day or weekends away. You may be amazed at the drop in stress, and your renewed ability to think clearly.
Be able to say no - Take a firm stand and simply refuse to take on too much work, or new responsibilities. That allows you to honor the commitments you already have. Don’t apologize or waiver.
Defuse toxic people and situations - We all know people who can’t wait to relay the latest gossip. We can also spot time-consuming situations that accomplish nothing. Do your best to sidestep both. Keep your schedule open for productive people and work and watch your stress melt.
Keep your balance - When you feel confused or overwhelmed by work situations, take a step back to think everything through. Try to get an overview of your job and your co-workers to avoid letting one incident set off a lot of stressful thoughts. If you can’t shake it, talk to a co-worker that you trust to get another person’s view. Often a simple discussion can put everything into a less stressful position.
Line Up good support - We all try to go it alone when problems come up, but sometimes a good support system is invaluable. Having people who know who you are, and what kind of work you do, can be reassuring and useful to establish a bigger picture. When you contrast an immediate problem with overall work patterns you may come up with a more realistic view and better solutions.
As you defuse toxic people, avoid time-consuming situations, and take control of your phone, your stress may level way out. Keep your guard up and keep shooting for stress-free living. It’s hard to beat.
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