The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A primer in stress-busting

Stress. Pressure. Anxiety. Tension. Whatever you call it, there is no shortage of it in today’s fast-paced, technologically advanced workplace. Consider these statistics: stress-related disorders are fast becoming the most prevalent reason for worker disability, according to the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; the World Health Organisation calls job stress a “worldwide epidemic.”

Obviously, stress has a powerful impact on us. Can we eliminate the stressors of modern work life' No ' and it’s a good thing we can’t. We need a certain degree of stress in our lives to spur us to action and help us reach new levels of performance. The trick is to learn how to manage the stress.

Bill Delano, founder of Job Stress Help, an Internet service that provides individualised advice via e-mail to those experiencing job stress, has these suggestions:

Out with the bad air

Take a breathing break. Frequent short breaks during the day allow you to breathe deeply and relax your mind, preventing stress build-up.

Know the enemy

What, exactly, is stressing you out' Is it your job' Your home life' Your relationships' Without knowing the root of the problem, you are unlikely to resolve it. If you are having difficulty identifying the source of your stress, seek professional help from your employee assistance programme or a mental health professional.

Move it or lose it

Begin an exercise programme. Exercise helps release endorphins, which relieves stress.

Let go

Recognise the difference between the things you can control and the things you cannot. Make a list of these two categories. Starting today, make a pact with yourself to stop stressing about the things in your job you have no control over.

Beware the to-do list

Take note of all the good work you do and give yourself credit for it. Set short-term goals and allow yourself to take satisfaction in achieving them.

Develop a tough skin

Try not to personalise any criticism you receive. Look at negative comments as constructive criticism that allows you to improve your work. If, however, the criticism is verbally abusive, e.g., your boss yells at you or uses vulgar language, discuss this problem with your manager or human resources department.

Share the load

Delegate or share work whenever possible. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are the only person who can do the job right. Your co-workers and boss might start to buy into that concept as well.

Strike balance

Job stress builds when our minds are constantly focused on work. Strive for balance in your life. Make time for family, friends, hobbies and, most importantly, fun.

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