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Wellness Wise

Managing Job Stress

Job stress comes in different forms and affects your mind and body in different ways. Small things can make you feel stressed, such as a copy machine that never seems to work when you need it or phones that won't quit ringing. Major stress comes from having too much or not enough work or doing work that doesn't satisfy you. Conflicts with your boss, coworkers, or customers are other major causes of stress.

It's normal to have some stress. Stress releases hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. Stress can be useful when you need to focus on or finish a big project. But too much stress or being under stress for too long isn't good for you. Constant stress can make you more likely to get sick more often. It can also lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, back problems, and depression.

Look for these signs of job stress:

What causes job stress?

Most of the time, it's the major sources of stress that lead to job burnout and health problems. Job stress can affect your home life too. Here are some common sources of major job stress, with examples of each:

What to do about job stress

You can reduce some job stress by learning how to manage your time and your job duties. Think about the kinds of events that trigger stress for you at work. Then you can focus on one or two things you can do that will help the most to reduce stress. Here are some ideas:

You and your boss

You and your job

Take care of yourself

Setting a goal to reduce stress

First, identify what's creating stress at work. Maybe it’s lack of control over your job. Or maybe it's worry about losing your job or how you are doing at work. You might feel stress because you're unable to express your thoughts and ideas to your boss and coworkers.

Think about why you want to reduce stress at work. You might want to protect your heart and your health by reducing stress. Or maybe you simply want to enjoy your life more and not let work stress control how you feel. Your reason for wanting to change is important. If your reason comes from you-and not someone else-it will be easier for you to make a healthy change for good.

Next, set a goal for yourself that involves reducing your stress level. Think about both a long-term and a short-term goal.

Here are a few examples:

After setting your goals, think about what might get in your way. Use a personal action plan to write down your goals, the possible barriers, and your ideas for getting past them. By thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.

Most important, make sure you get support from friends and family in your efforts to reduce job stress. If your company has an Employee Assistance Program, you might use it to talk with a counselor. A counselor can help you set goals and provide support in dealing with setbacks.

Source:

Author: Jeannette Curtis
Editor: Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor: Pat Truman, MATC Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer: Paul J. Rosch, MD
Last Updated: April 25, 2007 WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Resources

This information is provided by The University of Texas System, Office of Employee Benefits and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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