Does your job (or your boss, or your commute, or your deskmate…) stress you out?
If so, you’re not alone.
Work is by far the leading cause of stress for American adults, according to the American Institute of Stress. And there are lots of reasons why: two-thirds of Americans struggle with their workload or juggling work responsibilities along with their private lives. More than a quarter of Americans feel stressed because of people at their workplace.
But while more than a third of working Americans report feeling chronic work-related stress, just 36 percent said their employers provided sufficient resources to help them manage that stress, according to a 2013 study by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence.
Fortunately, there’s a silver lining to this cloud: you can take stress management into your own hands. And April, which is Stress Awareness Month, is the perfect time to get started.
Stress Reduction Techniques
- Do you often skip your breaks, or eat lunch at your desk? There’s a reason why breaks are legally required! Use yours to get away from your work station. A change of scenery can have a powerful impact—even if it’s only the lunch room!
- But to get the most out of your break, try going for a walk outside. Research has shown that a brisk 20-30 minute walk can have the same impact as a mild tranquilizer. Being outdoors can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
- Make a list of stress-busters you can turn to when you’re experiencing a stressful situation. Each person’s list will be unique, but here are some ideas to consider:
- – go for a short walk
- take a break from the situation by going to a new location
- do some breathing exercises
- listen to relaxing music.
- Consider approaching a manager and asking if it would be possible to organize a weekly or daily stress reduction workout for employees, such as yoga or tai chi.
- Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your schedule outside the workplace. Develop a spiritual practice, attend a regular yoga or tai chi class, establish a regular workout routine, and ensure you are getting sufficient sleep.
As you may have already experienced, stress can cause symptoms such as headache or stomachache. It can impact your temper and your ability to concentrate. Chronic stress can have an even bigger impact, ranging from high blood pressure to a weakened immune system, and contribute to issues such as obesity and chemical dependency as individuals try various unhealthy ways of managing their stress.
Stress is bad for you—but the cure is within reach! Why not give it a try this Stress Awareness Month?
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