Stress, conflict, pressure, tension, hassle – whatever we call it, we all feel it.  Some degree of conflict and stress accompanies just about any job.  One definition of stress is “responsibility without authority.”  If you have a big assignment with all the authority needed to accomplish the purpose, that is a challenge.  But if you’re responsible for a task – big or small – without the necessary power to control its success, that is stress.  According to an American Psychological Association survey, more than 36% of workers say they are typically “stressed out” during their workday.

What kinds of things actually cause stress at work?  Some “big picture” issues create anxiety, such as job insecurity, an unpredictable economy, or frequent changes in technology.  More commonly, smaller annoyances comprise the bulk of work stress:  delays, communication breakdowns, poor teamwork.

What can you do to lessen the negative impact of work stress on your life?  Here are a few ideas:

  1. ­Make your own health your top priority.  If that goes, nothing else much matters.  Remember to breathe deeply when the going gets tough – give your system some oxygen.  Get enough sleep.  Eat good food.  Move around.  Staying strong helps you cope better.
  2. Pat yourself on the back.  Spend some time recalling past achievements.  When you feel uncertain about the future, remembering your good qualities and focusing on your accomplishments can restore your self-confidence.
  3. Be flexible.  Nobody ever got anywhere by staying in a rut.  Sometimes change is foisted upon us, and very often it turns out to be a good thing.  Keep an open mind.
  4. Talk to people you trust about the things that are bothering you.  Bottled-up tension becomes greater if you feel alone, and most problems diminish once they are shared.
  5. Take the new CALM in Conflict™ e-learning program to figure out new and successful ways to resolve conflict!

If your day starts to close in on you, stop and ask, “Is this a temporary or a permanent problem?”  If permanent, then you’ve identified a problem you can begin to solve.  Usually, however, the answer will be, “temporary,” and you can proceed with the knowledge that “this too shall pass.”  In the long run, most things really are not worth stressing about.

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