As cardiologist Dr. Cesar Yepes recently reflected, stress management remains an integral component of any professional’s life. The adverse health effects of poor stress management can manifest in a variety of negative ways for a person’s health. In some cases, these stress-related health problems can become increasingly serious.
According to Dr. Yepes, “Stress management is very important because, sooner or later, the mental energy generated by stress can produce different somatic syndromes, including potential angina in patients with underlying coronary artery disease.”
Beyond adverse health issues, stress can also manifest within office productivity itself. In many cases, poorly managed stress will directly – and negatively – impact a professional’s work performance.
“Lack of concentration in a stressful situation or environment can affect productivity not only at work but also in other aspects of the individual social environment and family relationships,” Dr. Yepes continued.
Simple Steps to Reduce Stress At Work
Dr. Cesar Yepes has worked with countless patients, many of whom describe their problems with stress and stress management. He recommends the following steps to help diminish stress triggers and improve overall wellness in the workplace and beyond:
This step may seem simple, but it carries tremendous benefits for stress at work. Even something as simple as rearranging your desk can help reduce feeling overwhelmed or stressed out at the office.
Set and follow realistic goals.
Goal setting is an effective tool for overall work performance. But when those goals become too lofty or too unrealistic, they only add more stress to a professional environment. Work on setting goals that are traceable, achievable, and realistic. This can help stress management immensely.
Delegate work if you can.
This tip may vary depending on a professional position or job description. But in most cases, stress often appears as a result of becoming overwhelmed. If possible, send out tasks to help carry whatever workload you may have in front of you. This can help a seemingly overwhelming workload become much more manageable. And it will seriously reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, according to Dr. Yepes.
Avoid negative conversations, coworkers and situations.
Realistically, there’s always going to be some negativity in the workplace. The problem arises when that negativity adversely affects your work performance. When negativity starts hurting work performance, it’s time to steer away from those environments. Try to avoid negative coworkers and conversations. Steering away from these issues can make a huge improvement in how you feel about work and stress.
Seek out positive people and environments.
In the same token as the negative, it’s important to find positive people and stand by them. Working with positive, like-minded professionals helps breed a considerably better environment, and consequently, a consistently positive work environment can do wonders on stress and stress management.
Don’t be afraid to take breaks.
Sometimes it seems like a negative to take a few minutes for yourself during a workday. But the truth is that avoiding breaks often has a worse impact on performance than the time away during a break. It’s important to take time for meals and ‘breathers’ throughout the day. Taking time to walk away from your desk can help mediate stress and allow you to better focus on work-related tasks.
Try breathing exercises in particularly stressful times.
Believe it or not, physical breathing techniques can bring a great amount of relief when it comes to stress. As Dr. Cesar Yepes discussed, the body physiologically reacts to stressful environments in a variety of ways. These include increased heartbeat and blood pressure.
Breathing exercises can help the body calm down on a physical level. Slowing breathing will physically indicate to the body that an environment is less threatening. This, in turn, will help calm down emotional responses as well. Using these breathing techniques can make stressful environments much more manageable.
Eat right and don’t skip meals.
Another easy contributor to stress in the office also comes in the form of a biological responseto blood sugar. Some people allow stressful environments to interfere with their eating habits. They sometimes skip meals or make poor choices during the day, such as only eating snacks instead of proper meals.
For one, skipping meals can cause huge spikes in your blood sugar. Low blood sugar can easily amplify stressful environments and interfere with work productivity. Additionally, unhealthy meals over a long period of time can adversely impact overall health and wellness. All of these factors can make an already stressful work environment even worse.
Get a healthy amount of sleep.
Finally, Dr. Yepes also recommends focusing on your sleep schedule to help reduce stress. Sleeplessness often results from feeling stressed at work. It’s easy to let the mind wander worrying about the workday, bosses, and other work-related issues. Recurrent problems with sleep can amplify the stress during the day and make it even worse.
Adults should aim for at least seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. If necessary, a qualified physician can help prescribe sleep aids to enable this quality sleep to occur. Quality rest can directly reflect on an improved work performance and environment, and it can help diminish feelings of stress and anxiety as well.
Individualizing Stress Management
Stress is a very personal and extremely individualized concept for most people. As a result, it’s important for every individual to develop a stress management plan that works best for them. Understanding stress triggers is the first key to better managing it in your career, and medical professionals like Dr. Cesar Yepes can work with you to improve stress and anxiety – thereby improving your overall quality of life.
Harvey Greer contributed to this post.