Beat Stress In The Workplace

Are you or your employees tired before the day begins? Do you suffer chronic aches and pains (real or imaginary)? Find you're not giving clients your absolute best? If so, you may be losing the battle against stress.

According to Human Resource News (Nov. 1998), "stress has increased dramatically as a reason why today's employees are missing work, almost tripling since 1995."

The 1997 National Study of the Changing Workforce states that 36% of employees often feel drained or "used up" at the end of a workday. Even more eye opening, employees report feeling tired before the workday begins!

What are the long-term implications of stress? Anyone experiencing on-going stress provides a fertile breeding ground for illness. These illnesses range from the common cold to more severe problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.

What Can Individuals Do?

To beat stress, an individual must be able to identify the symptoms and begin to change the way they think about themselves and outside factors. For example:

Guidelines for Positive Thinking:

    * RECOGNIZE when negative thoughts pop into your head.
    * STOP! Imagine a mental stop sign that will put the brakes on destructive thoughts.
    * RESTATE: Take the negative thought and restate to a positive (and usually more accurate) word or phrase.
    * REWARD: Say to yourself "good for you!" for a job well done. Or, forgive yourself for a mistake … and move on!
    * REMEMBER: You can make a mistake, but you are not a mistake!

Six Steps to Assertive Behavior:
     1. Express your honest feelings in a calm, non-threatening way.
     2. When appropriate, establish a mutually agreeable time and
         place to assert your needs.
     3. Describe the other person's behavior objectively, without
         judging or devaluing.
     4. Confine your response to the specific problem behavior - not
         the whole person.
     5. Avoid delivering put-downs disguised as "honest feelings".
     6. Be aware of your need for approval and/or acceptance.

Stress attacks on several different levels. To beat stress, an individual or organization must be able to identify the symptoms and change destructive habitual patterns of thought and behavior, before they cause irreversible damage.

What Can Management Do?

One way management can prevent the ravages of stress is to become proactive. Initiating and supporting stress management programs that emphasize long-range personal change can increase productivity and cultivate a healthier, more empowered work force.

In our On Top of Stress™ workshops and seminars, we teach our clients specific tools and strategies, such as positive thinking and assertiveness. Some of the other stress-busters included are:

    * Coping Effectively with Change
    * Time Management
    * Relaxation Techniques
    * Examining Expectations (of self and others)

The rewards? Organizations experience higher productivity and greater profits by nurturing their most precious asset … their employees.

Learn to take care of yourself and break free of the stress cycle. After all, if you and your employees aren't healthy and fulfilled, there is virtually no way for you or your business to prospe