If you want things to be different,
perhaps the answer is to become different yourself.

– NormanVincent Peale

Are you increasingly feeling overstressed at work?

Rest assured you’re not alone. Over one-third of all workers report they are experiencing high levels of stress. And a recent research study reveals that at least three-fourth of today’s workforce believe they’re experiencing more on-the-job stress than their parents experienced a generation ago. Duh! No kidding!

I bet you’re being asked to produce more with fewer resources than ever before. Pressures, conflicts and impossible deadlines have become a normal way of life. How often do you start the day scrambling to meet your daily demands, and end the day still scrambling? This kind of schedule is guaranteed to add to your stress equation.

Handling stress is a matter of thinking and doing: the better you are, the more you will be able to mitigate the affect of stress in your life. Let me share five ideas that will set you on the path of reducing stress in your life.

  • Find the Equation. Use your naturally designed stress-reduction mechanism in the manner it was meant to be used—physically, so, rest must be supplemented with a nutritionally balanced diet and physical aerobic activities for a minimum of three times a week. You see, when you’re are in good health and physically fit you have a greater capacity to handle and reduce your stress responses.
  • Center Your Attention. You can never control how other people treat you; however, you can determine how you choose to react and interpret their actions. Work will be less stressful simply by restraining, refocusing and redefining your thoughts. Stop concentrating on everything that has gone wrong while completely ignoring how much more has gone right! As Abraham Lincoln said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
  • Choose Satisfaction. It is an American tragedy that we constantly want more and better without ever allowing ourselves the pleasure of appreciating and enjoying what we’ve achieved. Do you find yourself and your team so busy that you jump from one project into the next without celebrating or even acknowledging the satisfaction experienced upon completion? Savor your success. Celebrate.
  • Set Realistic Goals. Without knowing it, we sometimes set impossible goals that increase stress when we fail to achieve them. This is a vicious cycle. Goals should cause you to stretch in new directions while at the same time, when achieved offer you a sense of pride and satisfaction.
  • Don’t Buy Into Expectations. You’re not perfect… none of us are; however, perfection is often required by our boss, friends, coworkers, spouse-and frequently even by ourselves. You place yourselves in an untenable lifestyle—a highly stressed one—when you consistently attempt to meet unrealistic expectations. To combat all of the frustration, distress and anger, find a quiet, healing time to review the day. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, understand and forgive the actions of others, acknowledge what you need to do differently and identify what next steps you’ll take. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself on your successes even when no one else does!

Place yourself at the top of your priority list and begin to effectively manage your stress. If you’re wondering why stress is one of the 24 time management gifts, know that when you experience stress everything takes longer, your energy is down so it is harder to accomplish everything, your spirit is low so it’s hard to think clearly or even creatively…. What could support productivity more than overcoming stressors in your life? And the good news is that our bodies are magnificently created—you can overcome stress should you choose.

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