By Justin Fandino
How do you describe stress? Google tells us that “stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat.” There are various forms of stress; some people perform very well under stress, while others don’t know how to cope with the feeling. These responses are often referred to as “fight-or-flight.” reactions. Fight mode is a form of healthy stress, which allows for productivity and adaption to your surroundings. Flight mode is a form of unhealthy stress, and usually means you are burnt out or are unable to cope with what is happening.
Stress at work, or occupational stress, can either have a positive or negative outcome on your workplace success. In 2017, the American Psychological Association conducted research on the most common source of stress. Sixty-one percent of people surveyed said work was their number one source of stress. Findings showed that the top cause of stress in the United States was job pressure, and 70% of those employees said that the main cause of their job stress was the workload.
This does not mean that there are not ways to resolve work related stresses. Employees may find themselves going into a state of panic when stressed, causing them to try and finish tasks quickly, and not to the best of their ability. This type of “Distress” (unhealthy stress), results in very low performance that continues to decline with very high stress. Healthy stress is referred to as “Eustress,” where high levels of performance are equated with a healthy margin of stress. Here a few things that could help when you become “distressed” and would like to be in “Eustress”:
Taking a step back and breathing lets us collect our thoughts. Take a moment to look at the big picture, develop a plan and realize you can overcome this obstacle.
When we have a lot on our plates we tend to throw something together and hope for the best. In reality, the best method is to organize and prioritize your tasks. Taking these steps helps with productivity and being able to manage tasks without stress.
This may be the most effective option when faced with stress. In reality, sometimes management genuinely feels that you may be the best for a project or new task, not realizing you may have been pulled into completing other assignments. What follows is the stress of trying to finish all the tasks given to us, when in reality, going to your manager and saying “I can’t do this task right now,” is the most clear cut solution. Managers usually will work with you and try to resolve the issue, but you have to let them know! Your manager can’t help if they don’t know there is a problem.