Is Your Companys Stress Management Program Stressful In Itself

Is Your Companys Stress Management Program Stressful In Itself

Some simple advice — and pass-along strategies — for reducing stress in​ the​ workplace.

Stress is​ costing American business big time. Estimates range from $80 billion to​ $300 billion annually in​ illnesses,​ absenteeism,​ diminished productivity,​ accidents,​ mistakes,​ burnout,​ high turnover,​ and soaring health insurance premiums.

It's no surprise,​ then,​ that many companies have been fighting the​ stress epidemic aggressively with an​ arsenal of​ anti-stress initiatives. But a​ nagging question remains. if​ all the​ stress management programs out there are so effective,​ why are so many workers still stressed out?

The answer may lie in​ the​ fact that some organizations are simply trying too hard. in​ an​ effort to​ reduce stress,​ they are actually adding to​ it. as​ well-intentioned as​ their stress programs may be,​ many are complex and time-consuming,​ require a​ lot of​ reading and recall,​ are heavy on​ theory and light on​ practical advice,​ or​ just don't connect with employees on​ their level...or with their specific problems.

Remember,​ what people who are stressed out lack most is​ time...and patience. They have no time to​ attend lengthy stress seminars that pull them away from the​ very tasks that are stressing them out. They have little patience to​ sift through wordy guides and procedures to​ dig out those rare nuggets of​ advice relevant to​ their situation. Some stress programs merely address the​ symptoms of​ stress rather than eliminate the​ causes. They have little lasting effect. Workers become frustrated and cynical,​ believing that nothing will work,​ and go right back to​ their costly,​ stressful ways.

What,​ then,​ can management and human resources professionals do to​ overcome these obstacles to​ effective stress management,​ and "reach" their employees with solutions that will connect...and stick? a​ good way to​ start is​ to​ offer simple,​ candid,​ targeted strategies workers can quickly incorporate into their lives—techniques that get their attention and produce immediate results. These are less intrusive,​ take little or​ no time to​ implement,​ and get the​ user started on​ the​ right track,​ with the​ right attitude. to​ give you​ some examples,​ I've selected the​ following ten workplace strategies I use in​ my books and seminars,​ which have been field-tested with positive feedback from thousands of​ readers and participants worldwide. Simply pass them along by email or​ interoffice memo. I believe they can have a​ significantly positive effect on​ your employees,​ too.

Do one thing at​ a​ time.

Do it​ mindfully. Do it​ well. Enjoy the​ satisfaction. Then go on​ to​ the​ next thing. Multitasking might work for computers,​ but humans have yet to​ get the​ hang of​ it. a​ growing body of​ evidence affirms that trying to​ accomplish several things at​ once takes up more time overall than doing them sequentially. it​ consumes an​ excessive amount of​ mental energy,​ too,​ so you​ fatigue more quickly. the​ lack of​ focus also leads to​ careless mistakes,​ shoddy work and unreliable performance. Worst of​ all,​ having to​ do things over. This is​ no way to​ live. Give what you're doing your undivided attention. Take the​ time to​ get it​ right. You'll be more productive,​ and less stressed,​ in​ the​ long run.

Chip away at​ projects with long lead times.

When you​ get an​ assignment with a​ "luxury" of​ time,​ don't squander it. Get at​ least a​ start on​ it​ right away,​ when your enthusiasm and understanding of​ it​ are at​ a​ peak. Then spend a​ little time on​ it​ each day to​ keep the​ momentum going. That way,​ every thought you​ have of​ the​ project will be a​ positive one: "I'm on​ the​ case,​ I'm getting it​ done." Put it​ off,​ and every thought will be increasingly negative: "Yikes,​ I haven't even started yet!" Which can add up to​ big stress over time. And a​ major crisis as​ the​ deadline nears,​ you've forgotten what to​ do,​ and your enthusiasm has been supplanted by anxiety and dread. Get it​ going early. You'll do a​ better job,​ in​ less time,​ without the​ stress.

Don't let unhealthy job stress persist.

If your workload or​ project is​ impossible to​ complete without pulling your hair out,​ doing a​ slapdash job or​ suffering a​ near stroke for your trouble,​ speak up early on​ rather than bottle it​ up and be unable to​ perform the​ work accurately and professionally. And do it​ in​ a​ positive way,​ by offering possible solutions: you'll need more time; you​ can do part of​ the​ project in​ the​ allotted time; or​ you'll require more help. if​ you're a​ good competent worker your request should command respect and compliance. it​ doesn't help anyone to​ say nothing and let it​ eat away at​ your well-being,​ and subject both you​ and your company to​ poor performance.


Stress is​ often caused by an​ inability to​ let go,​ a​ constant need to​ micromanage,​ the​ fear that everything will fall apart the​ minute you​ turn your back. it​ leaves you​ hung up on​ time-consuming details,​ stifles the​ participation and growth of​ others,​ and creates unnecessary tension all around. Take the​ leap of​ faith. Learn to​ delegate. Assign responsibilities and give others the​ chance to​ prove themselves. you​ can dole it​ out gradually,​ to​ gain confidence and minimize error,​ but begin unburdening yourself of​ the​ oppressive minutia that's needlessly choking your life. you​ can experience a​ marked reduction in​ stress in​ a​ relatively short period of​ time simply by delegating.

Be a​ team player.

It's more productive—and less stressful—to work as​ a​ team. in​ your job,​ in​ your family,​ in​ your community. When you​ spread the​ work and responsibility around the​ pressure eases,​ everyone becomes more cooperative. as​ much as​ we like to​ think of​ ourselves as​ complete packages,​ we're not. We need others to​ contribute what we lack,​ to​ balance out our collective strengths and weaknesses. Let go the​ urge to​ put it​ all on​ yourself or​ take all the​ credit. Society is​ a​ team effort and success most gratifying when everyone's involved.

Rotate working on​ different projects.

For example,​ if​ you​ have three projects due next week,​ performing them in​ their entirety one after the​ other can make each seem long,​ drawn out and tiresome. Instead,​ divide your time each day into thirds and work on​ all three. Each project will provide a​ refreshing break from the​ others,​ while allowing you​ to​ make steady progress on​ all. Like a​ farmer rotating crops to​ keep the​ soil rich and fertile,​ varying tasks will keep you​ more alert and imaginative,​ making the​ work proceed more quickly and enjoyably.

Are you​ a​ checkaholic?

How much time do you​ waste excessively checking things. Check the​ weather. Check the​ time. Check the​ markets. Check your email. Check your hair. Check your voicemail. Check the​ news. Check your makeup. Check to​ see if​ your wallet is​ still in​ your pocket. How much of​ your day are you​ frittering away doing this? More than you​ might care to​ know. Ease up. Things aren't going to​ fall apart when you're not looking. So resist the​ urge to​ receive constant,​ needless,​ monotonous updates. Use that time to​ maintain your focus and get more done. When you​ get the​ urge to​ check on​ something...simply let it​ go.

Forget about deadlines. How about startlines?

For a​ society so obsessed with when a​ project gets finished,​ we're curiously all too casual about when to​ get it​ started. And that can be the​ most critical factor of​ all. Which may explain why so many deadlines aren't met. Instead of​ stressing over when something is​ due,​ focus on​ getting it​ underway. Set a​ "startline." That is,​ a​ time before which it's essential you​ get a​ project started,​ so it​ isn't performed in​ a​ rushed and slapdash manner. if​ you​ stick to​ your startline,​ it​ not only assures efficient,​ unhurried performance,​ it​ all but eliminates the​ need for a​ deadline...and the​ anxiety that goes with it. Which "line" would you​ rather work under? Get it​ started.

Be a​ good gear switcher.

You may have the​ kind of​ job where you​ constantly have to​ drop something to​ take care of​ something else. This can be a​ never-ending source of​ stress and frustration. if​ you​ let it. Or,​ as​ unlikely as​ it​ seems now,​ you​ can condition yourself to​ get used to​ it...even enjoy it! When you​ prepare yourself for such interruptions,​ you​ can make a​ clean break without anxiety,​ knowing you'll return later on​ to​ tie up loose ends. Just give whatever you're doing at​ the​ moment your undivided focus...and let it​ go promptly when necessary. Quick transitioning is​ a​ skill,​ an​ art you​ can learn,​ master and take satisfaction in.

Stand up and stretch.

Especially if​ you​ have a​ desk or​ computer job. a​ day at​ work shouldn't be like an​ eight-hour plane ride. Periodically get off your chair and stand,​ stretching your arms and legs—even squatting,​ bending from side to​ side,​ rolling your head,​ walking about,​ etc. It'll get the​ blood flowing more freely,​ loosen cramped muscles and joints,​ help you​ think more clearly,​ and relieve some of​ the​ stress. Give your body a​ quick tune-up at​ least one or​ two minutes each hour.

Maintain your presence of​ mind.

It's easy to​ get flustered,​ panic and lose your composure when you're rushed and pressured. Your mistake level soars,​ carelessness abounds and civility often goes out the​ window. Only making things worse. Practice maintaining your presence of​ mind in​ pressure situations. Take slow deep breaths and approach the​ crisis with calmness and control. You'll discover you​ can handle things more efficiently,​ even more quickly,​ when you​ strive to​ keep your cool. Hysteria accomplishes nothing.

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