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Effective ways to manage stress in the workplace
(ARA) - From paltry paychecks to annoying coworkers, more than three quarters of Americans are stressing out about something related to their job, according to a new study.
The vast majority of Americans (77 percent) are stressed by at least one thing at work, finds the Harris Interactive-Everest College Work Stress Survey. The most common issues are: low pay, commuting, unreasonable workload and concern over being fired or laid off. But these are not the only issues American workers are facing - annoying coworkers also made the list, followed by difficulty with a boss, poor work-life balance and lack of opportunity for advancement.
"We've seen numerous surveys that confirm workplace stress has increased during the last several years," says Wendy Cullen, vice president of employer development for Everest College.
Concerns over low pay and job security are consistently one of the top stressors for Americans. In most regions of the U.S., 16 percent of Americans listed low pay as their top stressor, and concerns over job security were a close second. For example, 13 percent of college graduates ranked losing their job as the biggest stressor, which is in line with Americans without college degrees.
"One change we are seeing is that more and more Americans are pursuing careers in industries like health care, which offers more long-term stability." Switching careers or going back to school to gain access to a more secure or better paying career is one technique that many individuals use to deal with insecurity in the workplace.
How to deal with stress
"The impact of stress cannot be overstated," says Davis Brimberg, a Los Angeles-based psychologist who focuses on workplace issues. "Almost all psychological problems are worsened by stress. People of all occupations and income levels are greatly affected," he says. Workplace stress can have negative consequences on your performance at work, and your life.
There are a number of techniques for dealing with workplace stress. First, learn to recognize the symptoms - you may feel a constant sense of nervousness, which can often lead to feeling withdrawn, irritable or apathetic. Stress is also associated with physical problems, such as fatigue and muscle tension.
Physical exercise is also shown to help with stress management. Aerobic exercises have been shown to release mood-raising endorphins, so getting 30 minutes of exercise a day can actually help decrease your stress levels. It is also important to get enough sleep, which can help your body deal with the effects of stress throughout the day, and makes you better able to manage emotional swings.
There are also important strategies in your workplace that can help you deal with stress. Do not over-commit to non-essential tasks. Prioritize important tasks, and learn to delegate non-essential ones. Also, you can schedule regular breaks into your daily routine to allow yourself to get away from your workstation or office.
Additionally, Brimsburg suggests that getting help can be effective. "Counseling can be very helpful in relieving signs and symptoms of stress-related issues."
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