Three Strategies to Manage Work-Related Stress

February 13, 2020
Is work-related stress affecting your life? Do you need strategies to manage it and improve your well-being? In today's article, we'll share some tips on how to be a healthier, happy, and more productive employee.

Knowing how to manage work-related stress is related to knowing how to moderate the intensity of your emotions when things don’t go the way you want them to at work. Most people need specific mechanisms to face frustrating and tense work situations.

Nowadays, most jobs expose you to simultaneous stimuli. Nearly everyone feels overwhelmed by their work demands. There’s pressure to work faster, more productively, and with fewer conflicts. And all of that pressure creates a lot of stress.

You probably experience work-related stress every day. It’s rare for someone to be able to take their time at work or feel like they’ll be understood if they make a mistake. That in and of itself is stressful. The situation can get complicated if you also consider a worker’s financial pressures and personal issues. That’s why it’s so important to have tools to help you manage work-related stress. Today, we’ll share three strategies that can prove helpful.

“If you’re distressed by anything external, the pain isn’t due to the thing itself, but to your estimation of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

-Marcus Aurelius-

1. Digest available information

Not having enough time to properly interpret facts is a primary trigger of stress. When you’re under pressure and you feel anxious about getting everything done, you don’t take the time to analyze things objectively. This makes it hard to manage work-related stress.

Your mood influences your perceptions, and vice-versa. When you’re under pressure, you’re more likely to interpret things as threatening, when they really aren’t. This intensifies if you’re trying to solve a pressing issue and some kind of problematic event occurs.

In these conditions, it’s easy to feel like things are spiraling out of control. You probably feel overwhelmed. That’s when it’s important and helpful to take a moment to see things more objectively. You’ll probably realize that the situation isn’t as serious as it seemed. Acting impulsively and quickly isn’t a good idea. Thus, it’s always better to process things first.

A stressed woman at work.

2. Avoid mental restrictions

Stress boosts your everyday prejudices. In other words, it makes you seek out shortcuts to process a lot of information in the least possible amount of time. This negative thinking is invasive and puts you in a bad mood. It happens when someone gives you one responsibility after another. You might end up thinking “They make me do everything”. However, these thoughts are usually unfounded.

The worst part of these thoughts is that they make you feel worse. They make it impossible to properly manage work-related stress. Instead, they worsen your stress. You feel like a victim and see everyone else as potential enemies.

If you get to this point, try to take some time out. Don’t let these automatic thoughts cloud your ability to use reason and logic. Don’t let negativity twist everything around in a way that’s ultimately self-destructive. Taking a few moments to focus on your breathing and to analyze the situation on a deeper level can be extremely helpful.

A relaxed guy looking at the sunset.

3. Be flexible and know how to relax

Being mentally inflexible can make your life more complicated. Knowing how to live well means learning to adapt to different circumstances. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have principles or parameters for your behavior. Most of the time, being at peace doesn’t have to mean going against something important that you believe in. It just means being a little more flexible.

External pressure and internal tension tend to make you more demanding and less flexible. It’s a way to defend yourself and protect yourself. Deep down, a fear of not being able to manage a situation is what triggers this inflexibility. Rigidity becomes a misguided strategy to deal with that fear.

If you want to manage work-related stress properly, you have to find or design relaxation techniques. Anything that helps you calm down and be more flexible will work. A lot of unnecessary conflicts stem from the tension between two realities fighting to take first place.

What these guidelines have in common is that they all highlight the value of maintaining control in the midst of the storm. Giving your anxiety free rein won’t help you be a better employee. On the contrary, it’ll make you an anxious person who’s always on the edge of conflict and mistakes.

Peiró, J. M., & Salvador, A. (1993). Desencadenantes del estrés laboral (Vol. 2). Madrid: Eudema.