Reduce Your Job stress

The American Psychological Association's Annual stress in America Survey finds almost half of American workers say they're stressed about their ability to provide for their families' basic needs, and eight out of 10 say the economy is a major stressor.

A new Gallup poll says 64 percent of American workers describe themselves as either "struggling" or "suffering" due to economic stress.

The result? Workplace malaise is on the rise. Many more American workers complain of fatigue, angry feelings, insomnia, depression, headaches and a host of other stress-driven symptoms than they did just a year ago. Consequently, almost half of American employees in the APA survey said they overeat to manage stress, while nearly a fifth reported drinking and smoking as ways to cope.

If economic fear -- regarding losing your job, retirement fund and security -- is starting to take a toll on your emotional health and workplace performance, don't let it take control. Try these five techniques, suggested by Dr. Judith Orloff, author of "Emotional Freedom," instead:

  1. Calm your stress hormones. Avoid people, things and situations that induce the stress response in your body, which speeds up your pulse and mimics the feeling of fear. These include caffeine, sugar and other stimulants; people at work who drain your energy and make you tense to be around; violent news stories; traffic jams; and arguments.
  2. Identify your fear triggers. Pick one fear, to start. Let's say it's getting laid off. What brings on that fear? Bad news from your industry? Seeing a co-worker laid off? New health bills? The more specific the triggers, the better. Identifying triggers keeps you from being caught off guard next time one crosses your path. Without the "boo factor," fear triggers lose potency.
  3. Attract positive people. Be around people who are upbeat, not depressed. Engage in activities that make you feel better, such as yoga or taking a walk with a friend, rather than wallowing in fear of the pink slip, your 401(k) statement, or your credit card bill. Affirm all that is going well in your life --  good friends, family, small pleasures. Focus on what you have to be grateful for rather than stresses.
  4. Turn fear into courage. Take small do-able actions. Identify one of your fears -- for example, not being able to pay your credit card bill. Notice the physical sensations in your body when you think about this fear. Next, think of a small, positive step: "I will call the credit card company and renegotiate my fees so I can make a smaller monthly payment." Notice the change in how your body feels. Finally, take that step. Now you feel brave, not fearful, because you are taking positive action.
  5. Stay in the "now." Keep your mind focused on the present moment only -- don't let it wander to worst-case scenarios. Stay focused on what you have to be grateful for now and the positive changes you can make today.
Source: YellowBrix, Press-Telegram Long Beach, CA.


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