Deadlines. Commuting. Colleagues. Technology. Wages. According to Everest College’s 2014 Work Stress Survey, 80 percent of Americans are frazzled by something at work. Think about it: That means only two out of 10 people in the workplace aren’t stressed.
Working in a state of frenzy can be a heady addiction for some, but it’s not a healthy one. Stress is linked to depression, heart disease, insomnia, weight gain, memory and concentration problems, as well as a host of other unsavory disorders. Not to mention that it’s unpleasant to work with anxious people. How can more of us join the happy and healthy minority?
The first step begins by noticing the symptoms of stress. Sometimes they’re subtle: a racing heart, hot ears, tensing muscles, talking fast or a clenched jaw. Sometimes they’re more obvious, such as the urge to yell or kick something. Self-awareness begins with emotional awareness. And recognizing these symptoms, before reacting, is where it all starts.
Once we can recognize a symptom or two arising, we just need to pause. Take a breath. Let the feeling subside. Let whatever triggered it wait for a few seconds, or even a minute, before responding. […]