By definition, catastrophic events, job loss, divorce, and death of a loved one are extremely stressful, but these situations are infrequent. What about those day-to-day stressors you face all the time? Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reports a third of American workers who were surveyed are concerned about mental health.

The Centers for Disease Control National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health states the number one cause of chronic stress is the workplace.  Accordingly, 120,000 people die from work-related stress yearly. Not only are we busier, but we are working longer hours.

All the hard work adds up to stress and too much stress results in illness. It is important to develop some quick ways to defuse stress. It’s best to develop some of the skills before stressful situations occur.

Too much stress can impact your health. Defuse stress before it builds. Photo credit: Adobe Stock

The Big Squeeze – There is a direct link between problems at work and stress-related illness, especially when it comes to unwelcome change. This form of work stress is sometimes referred to as the FUD factor: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It is usually linked to the employees’ businesses or corporations that are undergoing change. Experts say you should first separate the things you can change from the things you cannot.

With that in mind, here are some suggestions on how to deal with stressful situations with minimal anxiety.

Co-Workers Stress – Situations involving others are always potentially stressful. Consider your options. Can you move your workstation? Can you reduce office interactions with people who upset you? Sometimes you need to turn a negative into a positive. Would more open communication alleviate some problems?

The Weighting Game – Gaining weight is often both a stressor and a symptom of stress. It is easy to appease your stress with overeating. Instead of reaching for food, reach for a book or cultivate a hobby. Keep low-cal snacks like carrot sticks or air-popped popcorn handy.

Fitness Guilt – First, give up the all-or-nothing attitude you may have cultivated. You would like to be healthier. You don’t need to train for the Olympics. Don’t look at exercising as another task you need to get done; do something you enjoy. Instead of hitting the gym, try dancing, biking, or swimming.

Sleepless but Superwoman – Called the “silent epidemic of modern time,” lack of sleep is often the result of the Superwoman syndrome, in which a person not only thinks she can do everything but feels responsible for everything. Stress and sleeplessness feed on one another. A number of studies have shown that stress reduces the time spent in deep sleep, which increase one’s stress level. One result of stressful sleeplessness is a reduction in the effectiveness of the immune system.

Unforeseen Events – Flat tire? Plumbing problems? Sick child? First, realize this isn’t going to last forever. Be prepared. Work out a plan “B” for anything that worries you. You now have a plan of action if you need one.

Latchkey Anxiety – Accept the reality that you can’t be everywhere. Next, try to establish some kind of safety net that could relieve your anxiety.

Recognize your stressors and take action to control your stress.

Dorothy C. Lee
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