Tag Archives: stress

The Stress Test

In the last year, stress has become a top concern for businesses, employees, and job seekers worldwide. In the U.S., 75% of people say they’re stressed out, according to a survey released by the American Psychological Association. And a national health survey in Canada revealed stress levels were up by 30% in 2010.
 
Stress not only impacts productivity and concentration, but it’s also linked to health- related issues like heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. today. February is American Heart Month and we want to know if all this stress is having an effect on your life.

Beat Job Stress with a Positive Outlook

Stress Fear of layoffs. Longer work hours. Budget cutbacks. The list of today’s on-the-job stressors goes on and on – creating the perfect storm for workplace negativity. But with a few tweaks to your attitude and daily routine, you’ll sail through turbulent times with a smile on your face and a lot less tension. 

Keep complainers from darkening your day. Nothing sucks the joy out of a workplace like a perpetual pessimist. These naysayers always have plenty to gripe about – from the snacks in the vending machines to a new computer system to the weather. If you’re not careful, you’ll quickly find yourself dragged down by their contagious negative energy.

Put up a mental buffer. To prevent grouches from ruining your workday, refuse to react to their outbursts. Don’t provide ammunition for their tirades by offering an emotional response. Instead, remain neutral and resist the urge to fire off your own complaints.

Map out your day. Whenever possible, mix up your routine to avoid getting trapped in lengthy conversations with grumpy co-workers. Consider taking your breaks on an adjusted schedule to avoid a potential water cooler gripe fest.

Once your gloomy co-workers realize you’re not interested in being their sounding board, they’ll be less likely to dump their complaints on you.

Chose to see your glass half full. While you may not be able to change your co-workers’ bad attitudes, you can keep your own attitude upbeat. Like sunshine on a cloudy day, other people are naturally drawn to those who exude positive energy.

Live long and prosper. Need more motivation to look on the bright side? According to a recent study by the University of Pittsburgh, optimists live longer, healthier lives than their more cynical counterparts.

Don’t get typecast as a grouch. Take control of your outlook by recognizing when you’re letting negative thoughts have the last word. If your inner monologue sounds more like a tragedy than a comedy, lighten up, and take a look at the bright side. Counter self-pitying thoughts by listing three things you’re thankful for.

With practice, you’ll find yourself more prone to positive thinking, which will more than just boost your mood, but likely improve your health as well.

Extinguish stress. When tension threatens to erupt in a volcano of negative energy, take time to cool down and regain your composure. Try taking deep breathes in the break room for five minutes, catching a quick laugh by watching a funny video, or enjoying a relaxing lunch with friends. Whatever you chose, make releasing stress a top priority.

Leave it at the door. Every now and then, you’re bound to have a rough day at work. But some people prolong the stress of the day by fixating on everything that went wrong.  Instead of taking your troubles home with you, give yourself a mental break. When you leave work for the day, resolve to not dwell on negative situations.

Focus on you. To keep on-the-job problems from overwhelming you, it’s important to find healthy outlets to relieve stress. That might mean taking a photography class, going for an evening jog or getting a massage. By separating yourself from the tension of the workplace, you’ll feel more refreshed and have better work-life balance – which is essential to maintaining a positive attitude at work.

By choosing to face difficulties with optimism, you’ll soon discover the benefits of positive thinking to your health, friendships and career. Then, no matter what the workday brings your way, you’ll be able to keep your outlook bright.

Feeling Stressed? The Easy Way to Simplify

Americans are stressed out! And the nation’s economy is not helping. According to an annual survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), 80% of Americans polled between April and September of 2009 are stressed about their personal finances and the economy. Top contributors to stress in past surveys include work- and child-related issues. But, no matter what the causes are, stress – in large doses – can be harmful to your mental and physical well being.   

To help you simplify your life and relieve some of the overwhelming obstacles that cause you unnecessary stress, I have one simple word of advice…DELETE!

Now, you may be wondering what that means and thinking that you can’t get rid of the things that may cause you the most stress at times, like your bills, your job, or even your children. But, you can delete things from your life that add fuel to the fires of stress so you can focus more on the issues that require more of your attention. So, delete unnecessary e-mails. Delete old, unused contacts from your phone. Recycle expired products in your garage, bathroom, pantry, and refrigerator. From simplifying an overflowing e-mail inbox at work to cleaning a clutter-filled room at home, getting rid of what you don’t need will help simplify and de-stress a hectic, full life.  

Before you start tossing out the old and unnecessary, ask yourself these questions. When was the last time I needed this? How old is this? How will my life change for the better if I keep this? If your answers sound like this, “I don’t know; more than a year; and I’m not sure;” then chances are, it’s OK to delete these items from your life. Get rid of the things that cause you to worry, stress, or feel overwhelmed. Things can become an unnecessary burden that we must deal with every day.

Life is stressful. And, for many people, that’s just the way it is. Stress has become a way of life for many. But, it doesn’t have to be your way of life. By deleting what you can and should from your life, you may just start to live and love a life that you control, not one that controls you.

Are Success and Happiness Linked?

A friend once told me that life is what you make it. I laughed when she first said that, because sometimes, bad things just happen, and you can’t control it – perfect examples are the results of the recent economy. Many people lost their jobs, and if you are one of the lucky ones who weathered the storm of massive layoffs and are still employed, then you’re probably still dealing with issues like more stress, longer hours, and less pay. The affects of either of these situations can impact your happiness, both in your professional and personal life. 

But, did my friend have a point? Does your attitude and what you make out of a situation really impact the outcome? How does improving your happiness improve your situation?

According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, a longtime happiness researcher and professor of psychology at the University of California-Riverside, half of our happiness is determined by genetics, 10% comes from life circumstances, and about 40% of happiness is under our conscious control. Although you can’t control your genetic makeup regarding happiness, you can consciously control most of the factors beyond genetics and circumstances. That means, how you handle your attitude can directly impact how you look at situations and the outcomes of those circumstances.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” So, if you can make up your mind you’re going to be happy no matter what happens in your life, then the sky is the limit.

Experts maintain that happiness is a direct correlation to success, both in your personal and professional life. The happier you are, the more successful you can be! So try to enjoy the simple things in your life that make you feel happy. Volunteer at a local charity, listen to your favorite song in the morning before you start your day, or spend time with friends and family as often as you can. Whatever it is that brings a smile to your face, try to do that more often to see how happiness can transform your life and career.

Life really IS what you make it. So, after careful consideration, I came to realize that my friend has a point. Don’t look at the glass as half empty, look at it as half full. Don’t look at others’ lives to measure your success. Look at your own life, and count the blessings bestowed upon you. Don’t dwell on the negative, focus on the positives, and you will be well on your way to a better life.

What makes you happy? Leave us your comments in the comments section below.

Struggling with Workplace Change? 3 Methods to Survive the Madness

If you’ve ever experienced change in the workplace, you know that whether the change is for better or for worse, there’s bound to be a rough patch in the middle while everyone adjusts. Tensions increase, stress levels rise, and work piles on. Much is often out of your control, but at least you can focus on three things to smooth the transition.

Attitude – Your actions are directly derived from your attitude, so focus on keeping it positive when changes happen at work. Think of something that makes you smile, whether it’s your family, the pleasant spring weather, or the thought that the changes will soon subside. Your optimism will positively reflect in your decisions and behaviors – and others will notice.

Productivity – Make a task list, set aside a block of time, or ask for help – do whatever it takes to keep your productivity high. If you can, concentrate on completing your own projects before taking on new responsibilities or offering to help others. Then, you won’t be stretching yourself too thin. Taking on an overwhelming workload can be a burden to your entire team – especially if it means you’re only able to do all of your projects halfway.

Relationships – Conflict can arise when you’re in the same environment with the same people for forty hours a week in the midst of the tension change brings. To keep your relationships strong, remember not to take your frustrations out on your co-workers. Realize they’re stressed, too, so be sympathetic to them. Don’t let them run you over with their words or actions, but remember that how people deal with stress differs. Remain professional, and don’t take things too personally.

The next time you experience change in the workplace, keep these three things in mind to cope – and make things feel less stressful.

Have you experienced workplace change? How did it affect you? Let us know in the comments section below.