Stress has long been a problematic issue for most employees. One of the reasons that workplace wellness programs have become a part of so many successful businesses is because stress is one of the leading causes of missed work in the United States. As many as 20% or more of all employees leave their jobs as a result of workplace stress, and even more call in sick or reduce their productivity because of the way that stress affects them.
Workplace wellness programs help reduce this stress, both physically and mentally. But wellness programs alone cannot relieve all stress – you also need to find ways to make your workplace a less stress-inducing environment.
Controlling Workplace Stress
Unlike in your personal life, there are some things you cannot do at the workplace to control your stress. You cannot yell, or leave work for a few hours to de-stress, etc., and those limitations are why most people simply accept that stress as inevitable and try their best to power through it. Yet there are still many ways you can reduce the amount of stress you experience at work. Some of these include:
- Mindfulness – An issue that many people face with their stress is that they try as hard as they can to fight it. They don’t want to be stressed, and they mentally try to talk themselves down only to find that their stress becomes worse. There’s a theory of psychology known as Morita that states that rather than fight your stress, you should treat it like a friend that you need to go through your life. In other words, you go to work waiting to be stressed, and once you feel the stress you use it as energy to power through your work. This turns your stress into something that is advantageous.
- Work Fun – Another valuable way to reduce stress at work is to find appropriate ways to make work more fun. You can decorate your desk with humorous trinkets, listen to funny Podcasts while working on tedious projects, wear funny clothes underneath your work clothes and more. One idea is to turn your stress into a game, where you fill up a Bingo board with things that cause you stress and, if you get a Bingo, you treat yourself to something great.
- Healthy Life Decisions – Much of coping with workplace stress has to do with how you treat your body. Getting a good night’s sleep, eating breakfast and lunch, avoiding alcohol and biking to work (if possible) all improve your body’s natural coping mechanisms. What you do outside of work can make a big difference – if you also make sure you spend lots of time with friends and family, and exercise whenever you can, you’ll find that your stress at work is minimized.
- Developing Work Strategies – Often the stress people experience at work is due a great deal to the hectic nature of the workplace. If you take time to schedule and strategize every task that you have, so that you have order in place and know exactly what and how to do everything you need to do, you’ll find that the amount of stress your own tasks create is minimized as well.
These are just some of the examples of how to reduce your workplace stress. Workplace wellness programs like massage therapy are extremely valuable, and studies show that they have a return on investment within most companies of anywhere from 400 to 1000%. But in order to completely reduce workplace stress, you also need to be willing to commit to lifestyle and workplace changes designed to help counter the effects of long term stress. Doing so can make a profound difference on your ability to cope with stress and anxiety, and find your work to be a less intimidating and psychologically damaging place.
About the Author:
Ryan Rivera’s workplace was profoundly stressful, and he eventually was forced to take numerous sick days to cope with his stress and anxiety. Now he writes about coping strategies at www.calmclinic.com.