How to beat stress at work

As the pace of life continues to increase so do our stress levels, and while the reality is that high stress in the work environment is always going to exist, we need to find effective ways of dealing with it if we are going to live healthy, happy lives.

In her article, 3 Common Stressful Work Situations - and How to fix Them, Maggie Parker reveals that work is the primary cause of most of our stress. Indeed, 70 percent of Americans state this as the case. The article provides comment from MD David Posen who believes that the most effective way to combat stress is to deal with it head on. To illustrate his point, he describes three highly common workplace challenges and provides helpful tips on how to approach them. 

1.Tight deadlines

Don’t wait until you’re about to blow your deadline to institute damage control. If you’re facing an unrealistic deadline, rather let your boss know the timeline isn’t viable from the get go. If the impossibility of making your deadline sneaks up on you, speak up as soon as it becomes evident. 

2.Possible layoffs

If you’re feeling panicked about rumours that the company is downsizing, remember never to take on the stress of something which may or may not be true. Many a grey hair is the result of premature panic. Instead, analyse the source of this information and determine whether or not it is likely to be reliable. If you feel the information might not be able to be trusted, take things further. Go straight to the most reliable source of information that you have access to and find out to what extent the rumours are true. 

Should the worst prove true, make sure that you have a decent back-up plan in place. This should involve an up-to-date resume, as well as attending industry functions regularly and keeping up helpful contacts. 

3.Workplace confrontation

There’s often nothing more disconcerting than receiving a work e-mail which seems passive-aggressive in nature, and if not dealt with correctly which can escalate into uncomfortable confrontation. In this case your first response should be to extract the specifics of the message and interpret the communication based purely on what has been said rather than the way in which you perceive it to have been said.  

If there’s no doubt that the sender had negative intentions, try and diffuse the situation rather than sending a heated response. Often meeting face-to-face or speaking telephonically is a good way to achieve a better understanding between parties. 

What kind of stressful situations are common to your working environment? Based on Posen’s advice, what would be the most effective way to handle them?