When asked, most adults admit that the workplace is where most of their day-to-day stress originates. Many workers not only get stressed out, they take that high stress level home with them, contributing to the stress of everyone else in the household including the pets. Multiply that reality by two, three or four working adults in a living space, and dysfunctional relationships forged by high stress conditions can grow like mold in a wet basement.
Identifying Stress at Work is the First Priority
Some employees are oblivious to their own moods and "hot buttons." Additionally, people react very differently to the same input, depending on their individual personality, other factors and history. For example, three cubicles are close to each other in an office space. Cassidy makes a lunchtime phone call to her spouse everyday, which inevitably results in an argument, that the other workers are close enough in proximity to listen to, if they so choose.
Madison, in cubicle two, hears Cassidy dialing the phone and her heart rate skyrockets, because she knows what is going to happen. She gets anxious, fidgety and cannot concentrate on her tasks. While this is happening, Leon, in cube three, looks at the clock and places his music headphones on, knowing that the daily argument is about to start in cube one. Leon has learned an appropriate and constructive response to what could be a daily stress fest for him (and is for his work mate, Madison).
Taking an objective view of the structure of each work day is the best starting point for identifying the most stressful catalysts. These could be in the form of events, specific people or elements of the job, itself.
Stressful People on the Job
If the boss is the biggest stress producing agent in a given office setting, most of his workers will not have the option of avoiding contact with him. However, some managers take their cues from people who react strongly to their tactics. It may make sense for a worker to change the way he responds to the boss, so he does not encourage additional attention to himself in a negative way.
Verbally abusive types of people have a tendency to force a conflict by shocking or goading another into an argument or discussion. If the worker remains even-tempered and calm when confronted, and the abuser does not get the big reaction he was looking for, he may well tire of the interaction and move on to someone who is more susceptible to his ploys.
Ideas to Create a Relaxing Environment at Work
Even in a high stress office setting, if the employee can take twenty minutes or more to take a walk outside in the sunshine, go to a cafeteria and chat with friends or put on a relaxation tape in the middle of the day, he will reduce his stress contamination significantly. Moving around and getting even light exercise for twenty minutes or more is the best possible way to fight stress on the job.
Another great stress fighter is to start a lunch group at work to get involved in a common interest. This might be anything from an exercise class to knitting or even playing musical instruments in a daily jam session in the training room. Just be sure that everyone is welcome to join and get permission from the human resources department.
Practice yoga, meditation or Reiki to relieve stress. Even if this cannot be done on the job in some cases, if someone knows how to relax, she can do it at work without anyone knowing it. Tai Chi is also a healing art form that can be done almost anywhere and will lower stress and blood pressure within minutes.
In summary, discovering the stressors is job one for any employee. When the stress involves certain people, avoidance is best, though just changing the way one reacts may make a significant difference by avoiding becoming a target. Further, many activities from exercise to yoga can produce a state of stress reduction in a matter of minutes. Reducing stress will increase one's health and well-being and improve relationships and work satisfaction.