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How to cope with stress at the workplace
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February 09, 2009

Are you constantly living in the fear of losing your job... And is that making you feel nervous?

Have you noticed a jump in your blood pressure recently?

Is there a sensible way to cope with workplace-related anxiety and domestic stress or stress resulting from any other problem?

Dr Rajesh Parikh, consulting neuropsychiatrist at Jaslok Hospital for nearly 20 years, in a chat with Get Ahead readers on February 5 offered advice to readers on stress-related issues.

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the unedited transcript:


Rajesh Parikh says, A lot of us seem to be experiencing stress at the workplace. You know something, I feel a bit stressed right now too, with so many questions in front of me. The key, really, is to recognise that stress is an internal response to an outward stimulus which is a stresser. Often we cannot control the stresser. But almost always we can control our response to it and thereby mediate the stress we experience.


Rajesh Parikh says, We might group these questions: a) stress at the workplace b) domestic stress c) the role of medication in stress d) alternative medicine and stress


Rajesh Parikh says, A) Stress at the workplace often has as its genesis in communication issues with the people around us. It is important that we have realistic expectations of ourselves and our colleagues. Also, it helps if we remember that unless we are happy and relaxed we will be underproductive and make others miserable as well.


Rajesh Parikh says, Let us not allow work problems to build up. Instead we could discuss these with our superiors, colleagues and those who report to us on an ongoing basis. Many organizations have good HRD departments to resolve work crisis.


Rajesh Parikh says, About domestic stress, counselling, either professionally or informally is the best way to prevent it from building up. Once again, good communication is the key. I once read an article albeit reluctantly on marriage in India Today Plus, some years ago, I believe it's somewhere on the 'net, you might want to look it up.


Rajesh Parikh says, Often people experience what is called an emotional spill-over. Basically, carrying stress from work to home and vice-versa, such as yelling at your wife because you can't yell at your boss, or yelling at your secretary because you can't yell at your wife. It's important to compartmentalize our emotional lives between work and home.


Rajesh Parikh says, C) Medication, avoid as far as possible. Not the panacea that it is usually made out to be. However, helpful when stress levels start jeopardizing health.


Rajesh Parikh says, D) Alternative Medicines, I'm not an expert. But, let me confess, I'm always ready for a good massage. And, occasionally, for accupressure as well.


Ashok asked, Do you think believing in God could overcome stress conditions ? Is there any science behind this thought ?

Rajesh Parikh answers,  at 2009-02-05 13:08:46A lot of questions on the role of religion. Ashok's is representative. Certainly, spirituality and sometimes religiousity (not the same thing) are big time stress busters.


prem asked, In my current job, I am sensing problem of loosing it though the level of risk of loosing it is not very high. ( Say 6-7 on a scale of 10). I am likely to get another job but in some another city but then I will have to disturb my kid's education; i.e. change of school etc. Again the risk in that place is not known. Since my son is only 7 I am not comfortable to leave my wife & him in the current location since I feel he needs me with him. What will you advise ?

Rajesh Parikh answers, Prem's query is emblematic of the current uncertainty all over the world. It helps to realize that our jobs are just one way of defining ourselves. We could use this time to reflect and realize that there is much more to life than an occupational designation. In the meantime, let us do the best to ensure that we are not stressed out and do not cause stress to others, while we look for better opportunities in the current market.


santoo asked, I am 49yrs old male and gone through a very termoil family relations for the last more than 10 yrs and it emded with divorce last March.Due to disturbed life I am suffering from very low self esteem and it has effected my work and life style.Pls suggest how to cop with this situation. Do I need to start afresh, Pls advise.

Rajesh Parikh answers, Dear Santoo, We see a lot of this in our practice. I know that is no consolation to you. But you may be suffering from clinical depression. It would be helpful to consult a counsellor or a psychiatrist.


arun1 asked, sir, i have lost my job for last 4 days and lying at home what sould i do?

Rajesh Parikh answers, Take a break, Arun. You probably need the rest. Once you've recovered, start looking around. More important, enjoy the break. You may not get one for a long time.


itwrajesh asked, I am well in present company, but i am not enjoying the work here . so I decided to switch over the job and shifting from mumbai to bangalore. all my friends and family are saying that in this difficult time means economic slowdown . you should not change your job becos you will require some time to establish yourself in new company . but I am confident that within 6-7 months I will prove myself in new company. but still I have some fear of unknown . pls suggest

Rajesh Parikh answers, We all have a fear of the unknown. I was a bit jittery about chatting with you guys. Life is all about enjoying unexpected experiences.


mkt asked, How to deal with unwanted interference from in-laws in family life?

Rajesh Parikh answers, No idea. Let me know if you have some suggestions.


aaaa asked, Is it not somthing like ... organizations who are regularly showing profit but only due to this slow down they are trying to keep away from salary increment to their employee....and they are trying to maintain a pressure situation so that the employee should give more than 100 % for saving their job...

Rajesh Parikh answers, Post Satyam [Get Quote], it is about time that employees looked at their companies' balance sheet too. After all, since share-holders do, why shouldn't you?


Amol asked, is anybody there?

Rajesh Parikh answers, Are you part of Pink Floyd, or what?


Ashok asked, There are doifferent thought about sleep from different people. What do you think, hwow much daily sleep is neccessary ?

Rajesh Parikh answers, As much as you need to feel fresh in the morning. Seriously, everybody has different sleep needs. As a general rule, seven to nine hours should suffice for most people.


hema asked, i have neck and shoulder pain, and its mailny due to stress. Can you please tell me some way to destress myself.

Rajesh Parikh answers, Yoga, meditation, massage, maybe accupressure.


pleasehelpme asked, hello sir, let me make out clear i get my hands and legs shaking while delivering some presentations. and my heart really beats very fast during these times.. how should i overcome this?? i am a student

Rajesh Parikh answers, Performance anxiety is very common. The simplest solution is practice. Preferably, with others who are in the same boat.


riya asked, DEAR SIR, I M FEELING CONTINIOUS DIZZYNESS FROM LAST 6 MONTHS WHILE SLEEPING I FEEL LIKE I M FLOATING. ALL MY TEST LIKE MRI, BERA, BLOOD, TB, THYRIOD TURNED TO BE NEGATIVE. I ALSO VISITED PHYCRITRIST BUT NO RESULT. WHT DO U SUGGEST?

Rajesh Parikh answers, Seems to be anxiety. Take another opinion.


vav asked, Can Positive Day Dreaming impact the STRESS of an individual? Your views please

Rajesh Parikh answers, Only while it lasts. Unfortunately we all have to wake up.


sannu asked, I am an IT Professional. I want to know if in this recession time, somebody looses job, what should be his/her next step? How one needs to cop personal and professional life?

Rajesh Parikh answers, Dear Sannu, It's a good time for us to reflect and re-evaluate our priorities. A good time for us to spend more time with our families and friends as well.


Jayesh asked, I am into stock advisory. There is lot of stress involved during trading hours. How can I distress in evenings & be prepared for pressure in Mornings ?

Rajesh Parikh answers, First, you need to know what gives you the most pleasure. Some take recourse in hobbies. Others in spending time with friends and family. Still others in dodging the goons who try to beat them up in bars.


suman asked, Sir I want to ask you a very very serious question which is troubling us now a days. My husband is working with a MNC in Delhi [Images] and we are living here but now he has got job in a very big MNC - very known company and around 10 times bigger then present company with a ok salary hike. When he resighned from the preent company they also offered him the same salary to stop him from going. Now we are in fix that he should join the other company in other city which no doubt very good or stay here only as in that company he can be last in first out where as in this he is in top 5 staff members. pls advic.

Rajesh Parikh answers, It's your call. After all, as wife you are the true boss. Seriously, whatever your husband decides, I hope he factors in the sentiments of his family.


jahn asked, i am suffering from low back pain. i consulted the doctor and he adviced to take rest for one month,,but because of the work pressure ,i cant take the leave for one month. How can i relieve from the stress, while working ...

Rajesh Parikh answers, Keep in mind that if you don't take a break now, it could be enforced hospitalisation for a longer period of time later on. Your back (like your wife) should never be taken for granted.


cigol asked, Will keeping quiet for 5 min will reduce stress for the day

Rajesh Parikh answers, Certainly. Silence always helps.


ashu asked,  Hello Sir! How would you tell today's young generation to maintain their hobbies while working hard? pls ans sir.

Rajesh Parikh answers, Actually, we have a lot to learn from today's generation. I'm always amazed at you guys who manage to juggle so much, and yet keep your sanity in place.


madani asked, Hello sir, 3 years back i took anti-depressants for 15days and i still feel that there is some kind of side effects for those medicines, i feel very stressed out at the end of the day which i never felt before and one more thing is my hands shiver a lot while doing my work or delivering things to my seniors. please suggest me to come out of this.

Rajesh Parikh answers, Very unlikely. The effects of anti-depressants wear off in days and sometimes even in hours.


Rajesh Parikh says, Ok guys, I'm going through a lot of stress right now. Over a thousand questions. Can't answer all. Any suggestions?


pshelar21@rediffmail.com asked, Hiiiiiii

Rajesh Parikh answers, Thanks. I'm feeling better already.


venky asked, Dr. Rajesh, I am mentioning Day Dream.. a conciously guided process of visualising positive results while you are awake.. Does this process help in STress Relaxation ......"vav says here"......in hyderabad viewed.......few offices...

Rajesh Parikh answers, Yes, venky. Provided we do something about these dreams. As someone put it, success comes to those who dream dream dream, and then work work work!


ashu asked, thnks al ot :)

Rajesh Parikh answers, You're welcome.


rajan asked, hi sir,in these days i m feeling very uncomfortable with my work

Rajesh Parikh answers, It's important to first feel comfortable with yourself. The rest will follow.


pinkslipmania asked, The coffee machine at my office does not work n due to recession we cannot buy a new one.. I am depressed.. please suggest a solution.

Rajesh Parikh answers, Check into a caffeine de-addiction centre (just joking).


madani asked, Sir, what could be the ideal solution to get rid of hand shiver and stress and especially in the evening times when i talk i slip the words and while delivering the speech it is effecting my respiration.

Rajesh Parikh answers, You may have a benign essential tremor. A harmless, treatable condition.


gayatri asked, should we all become more politically oriented in this process of recession when the ways of life are getting redefined

Rajesh Parikh answers, We should be regardless. Perhaps we won't have recessions after all.


Jatin asked, Sir, at this moment everywhere u will see people are frustrated and always talking about how to manage in this recession. What would u like to convey people, what they should do, and if tomm. worst thing happens in anybody's life, like he / she lost job, how to manage without earning anything. Please guide, i think, this question must be everybody's mind.

Rajesh Parikh answers, You're right, Jatin. It's a common question. Basically, we should all take the long perspective. To quote Lincoln: "This too shall pass."


rishi asked, hi, is yoga helpful for job related stress

Rajesh Parikh answers, Definitely.


sr asked, Do you think the younger generation lacks patience?

Rajesh Parikh answers, Since you ask, I'm inclined to think so. If you'll forgive the generalization, you guys want too much too soon.


amar asked, Hi Dr.Parikh Thanks for giving us your time. I wanted to know if continuous nagging by family members leads to stress or not. I am feeling a few symptoms.

Rajesh Parikh answers, Remember that stress is an internal response. One man's nagging might be another man's reminders. We need to resolve these issues through communication. Now, should I repeat that?


Jayan asked, Hello Sir, How do you think a person can stay positive even when so many negative situations surround him. Of course keeping hope is good and all but once the negative effects start biting you, all that goes up in fumes

Rajesh Parikh answers, I believe one can. If one focuses on resolving the problems, rather than brooding on them, one can continue to stay positive.


Lovely asked, Is talking while sleeping considered a symptom of stress. How can I overcome this situation?

Rajesh Parikh answers, Not necessarily. Sometimes that's just a habit.


AnswerMe asked, I am from a city in a south where life style is simple , i had to shift to bangalore for my job , i have to eat food outside as my family is back home and iam single , so i developed bp eating outside food , what do you suggest in this case , my health conditions are normal.weight is undercontrol. doctor says i should change my life style I sleep 11 get up 6 go to work at 7 30 im in office till 8 reach home back 9 30

Rajesh Parikh answers, Sounds like you are doing fine. Physical exercise would certainly be helpful.


nagbhushan asked, hi Sir, Offlate i am suffering from raise in BP( aroudn 150/105) due to work pressure. Please suggest how i can control my BP

Rajesh Parikh answers, Focus on your health. Assuming you're young, you need to get your BP under control quickly. Changes in diet and exercise might help.


Shubh asked, DR. RAJESH PLEASE RESPOND..Hello Rajesh,I was working with a IT firm but left the job afer marriage to take some break for 2-3 months. This was in June 2008. But Since August-Sept when I again started looking for it, market scene became bad and I am still finding it hard to get one. I am highly stressed because of this..How to cope up this... Tried all measures..from yoga,meditation to diverting my mind in other activities but this keeop Haunting me and that creates tension in home as well..How to cope with it PLEASE HELP ME

Rajesh Parikh answers, Hope all is well with your marriage and that your spouse can help you through this crisis. Remember that we define ourselves as much by who we are as we do the positions we hold in life. Would recommend Eric Fromm's 'To Have or To Be'.


VINOD asked, hello sir i always feel fear to face someboby specially during interviews,at meeting etc,by nature i am very simple,disiplined and honest man,i am not clever,i cannot judge the person to whom i meet,sir i felt in present sinario people are very clever,oppourtunist,want to let down everybody,that is why i am not able to get any job yet.i am still unemployed at my age 28,i have found that although i have more knowleage than the person those are working wehereever went for interview i couldnot get any job as i not belive in buttering that is why i feel myself in depression ,i cry when i am alone ,sir some times i want to commit suside,but at that time a voice came from my innerside that i sould fight so i stop myself,i cannot sleep properly, sleep comes at between 3 to 4 PM. sir please help me show me the way i want ot revive my self.I dont want to spoil myself anymore i have lost my self confidance. plz hwlp me?

Rajesh Parikh answers, Dear Vinod, You need to see a professional as quickly as possible. With adequate help, you could feel much better about yourself, as well as the world around you. That's the best that I can tell you on-line.


RandiKapoor asked, Be GAY. It will definately remove stress. Be GAY. It will definately remove stress. Be GAY. It will definately remove stress. Be GAY. It will definately remove stress.

Rajesh Parikh answers, I assume you mean be happy.


Rajesh Parikh says, It's been about an hour and my friend Matthew tells me that I've got to go. So we'll take a few more.


Aryan asked, Hello Due to work pressure, i am forced to give-up my personal goals. How to compensate both?
Rajesh Parikh answers, Try not to. It may be possible to integrate your personal goals into your work ambitions.


Saji S asked, WHAT WOULD BE THE RIGHT TIME IN A DAY TO KNOW ONE'S BP

Rajesh Parikh answers, Ideally, in the morning, as well as in the evening. Let us keep in mind that pressure can increase by evening. Regardless of when we take it, it should be at the same time whenever we monitor it.


Ravi123 asked, What are the top 5 things responsible for this worldwide crisis?

Rajesh Parikh answers, 1. Greed 2. Greed 3. Greed 4. Greed 5. Greed


Kalluri asked, HI I AM SICK OF ASKING OF AGAIN. DO YOU KNOW THE SOLUTION FOR OFFICE POLITICS?

Rajesh Parikh answers, Sorry, Kalluri. I don't, other than the old cliche: "Fools walk in where angels fear to tread."


Kalluri asked, Can you simplify the answer of office politics? I do not understand that.

Rajesh Parikh answers, Ok, Kalluri. My suggestion was that one should stay away from it. Like WWF, it's always more fun to watch than to participate in.


Rajesh Parikh says, Thanks everybody. Hope it was helpful. Regards, Rajesh Parikh.


Dr Rajesh Parikh is consulting neuropsychiatrist at Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai [Images], for nearly 20 years.
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