How to combat workplace stress

The difficult economy and its "layoffs" and "downsizing" has made the workplace stressful for many. People fear that might lose their jobs tomorrow. So how do you survive this kind of setting without going bonkers? According to http://www.helpguide.org/mental/work_stress_management.htm, "finding ways to manage workplace stress isn't about making huge changes or rethinking career ambitions, but rather about focusing on the one thing that's always within your control: you."

First comes noticing the effects of excessive stress. Symptoms include feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed; apathy, loss of interest in work; and muscle tension or headaches. Says the article, the best way to handle stress is to: get regular exercise; eat small, frequent meals to keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel; drink alcohol in moderation; and get enough sleep.

The article also suggests:

"Resist perfectionism. No project, situation, or decision is ever perfect, so trying to attain perfection on everything will simply add unnecessary stress to your day. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself or try to do too much, you're setting yourself up to fall short. Aim to do your best, no one can ask for more than that.

Clean up your act. If you're always running late, set your clocks and watches fast and give yourself extra time. If your desk is a mess, file and throw away the clutter; just knowing where everything is saves time and cuts stress. Make to-do lists and cross off items as you accomplish them. Plan your day and stick to the schedule — you'll feel less overwhelmed.

Flip your negative thinking. If you see the downside of every situation and interaction, you'll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid negative-thinking co-workers, and pat yourself on the back about small accomplishments, even if no one else does.

Don't try to control the uncontrollable. Many things at work are beyond our control — particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems."

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