How to Recognize and Reduce Stress At Work

Stress is completely natural. It is a remnant of our earliest history on the planet as our ancestors struggled to survive every day. It is what kept people alive when danger was imminent, also known as “fight or flight.” And while today we don’t find ourselves running from large wild animals very often, stress still plays an important role in our survival. When you’re stressed out by your job or home life, your body is trying to tell you something. So how can you recognize stress at work and get through it in a healthy way? Here are some tips to get you started.

Recognizing Stress

  • Your brain. You may find yourself having trouble remembering details, unable to concentrate, feeling negative, anxious, or constantly worrying.
  • Your mood. Stress also causes mood shifts that can be extreme. You may find your temper short and be unable to relax. You might also be lonely, overwhelmed, and depressed.
  • Your body. It is amazing how the mind and body connect. Some physical symptoms that you chalk up to other things may be stress, including stomach issues and headaches.
  • Your behavior. Stress can cause you to change your normal behaviors too. Your eating patterns may change. You can be unable to sleep or sleep too much. And you may not feel social.

Reducing Stress

  1. Establish boundaries. Not only is it okay to say “no,” sometimes it is critical. Setting your professional boundaries early on will prevent long term problems. Determine how you will handle emails, texts, and phone calls after work hours and stick to it. If someone requests something you aren’t able to do, give them alternatives that are productive and helpful.
  2. Start meditating. Meditation has been an answer for stress for centuries. Simply taking some time out from your day and sitting quietly will do wonders for helping you reduce stress. Learn breathing techniques that you can use when you become overwhelmed to help see more clearly. If sitting still doesn’t thrill you, learn Yoga or Thai Chi.
  3. Stay active. Both exercise and stress get your adrenaline pumping and heart racing, but one is healthy and one isn’t. But if you challenge your body in healthy exercise, you’ll be more equipped to deal with stress when it happens in your life. Commit to an exercise program every day. Not only will you see physical health benefits, but it is great for your mental health as well.

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