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Rediff News  All News  » Getahead » 10 tips to beat STRESS at work

10 tips to beat STRESS at work

Last updated on: May 19, 2011 19:33 IST

Photographs: Rajesk Karkera/ Parul Banka

Workplace stress seems to be an ever-growing monster that seems indefatigable. It has almost become a buzzword and has crept into everyone's vocabulary. How do you identify that you are stressed at work? A few symptoms can be: you remain irritated or disinterested most of the times or you focus more on negatives of the organisations and tend to ignore the positives.

So, are there ways in which this stress can be managed better? Let us explore:

1. Understand what is causing you stress

Different people get energised and stressed due to different reasons. You need to figure out what exactly bogs you down. Is it not being able to submit the task as per the timeline, is it not being included in conversations by some team members, is it being posted in a location, where people talk in a different language or is it the apprehension of not being promoted in the next appraisal cycle that is making your sympathetic nervous system work harder?

Of course, it would not always be just one reason.

The reasons could change or there may be multiple reasons at work at one point in time. Unless and until you understand your pattern of stress triggers, it would be difficult to control it. Well, you can't possibly administer a treatment, without diagnosis of a disease, can you?

Parul Banka is a Human Resources and Training professional.

10 tips to beat STRESS at the work

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/

2. Prioritise deliverables

One thing that causes stress to most of the working people is to do too many tasks in limited time. Consequently, it becomes challenging to work on all the tasks at the same time.

In such a situation, prioritising the tasks helps a lot. One way is to look at the impact that a task has.

For example, is it urgent or can it wait for some time? Of course, you need to take care how that particular task is relevant to the organisation. If someone else's work is getting affected because your work has not been done, then consider that.

Also, ensure not to procrastinate delivery of a simple task so much that it becomes critical.

10 tips to beat STRESS at the work

Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/

3. Have realistic expectations

It always helps to have the expectations realistic. I have a friend, who remained under enormous stress because he was not getting a promotion every year. As per the organisation's norms, a promotion every year was unrealistic.

If he could understand that, it might have saved him lot of stress.

4. Use emotional intelligence

Many times problems happen at work just because of different values and personalities. For example, a colleague of mine remained very stressed because of a difficult team member. I would often speak to both of them separately and realised that the cause of tension was sheer difference in working styles.

The manager liked to communicate verbally and the team member liked to have documentation of all the discussions. Whenever she would ask for the instructions in writing, the manager would feel as if she was not being trusted and would get into a reactive mode.

Similarly, the team member could not understand why the manager would always disagree to put data on e-mail. The result was a loss of mutual trust and lot of tension between them. I think that if both of them were able to understand their different working styles, they would not have taken it personally so much and probably, their relationships would be more amicable.

10 tips to beat STRESS at the work

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/

5. Build strong relationships at work

Many times having good relationships at work help. It could be a confidante, who you find in a boss or a colleague or a mentor. This is helpful as it gives us the confidence that we have someone to seek advice from and also it could give us a different view that we might have not considered on our own. The key is to understand that there are people who matter to you and that the feeling is mutual.

6. Have difficulty saying a no?

Well, if the answer to this question is yes, you might be over-committing yourself and incurring additional stress. When you prepare a schedule for the day, remember to leave time for contingencies like a sudden meeting or an 'urgent' assignment that must be delivered immediately or anything else that you may not have control on.

Few times, we also do not realise how long a task would take unless and until, you have done it. I remember that I had scheduled many tasks to be delivered in a day as they all were important. One of those tasks was submission of a huge amount of data analysis and suddenly my computer crashed.

This was something I had not estimated time for. Consequently, I had to sit till very late in the evening to finish all my commitments.

10 tips to beat STRESS at the work

Photographs: Courtesy: Bolohealth

7. Understand that your stress is your business

Many a times, we feel that the organisation is responsible for relieving our stress. While the organisation is definitely responsible by giving us the right job enablers, well-groomed managers and positive work environment, we are responsible for ourselves as well. We could fulfill this by understanding that while the employer has a duty of care towards us, we have the same towards the organisation and ourselves.

For example, I remember a colleague who was very unhappy with her employer. She was an expert at her work and she felt underpaid and undervalued at the organisation. She would often tell me how miserable she was working there, while she had multiple other offers in hand.

I felt sorry to think that the organisation would lose such a good employee but to my surprise this person never moved on. She kept on complaining and continued holding the organisation responsible for her misery. What she did not realise was: she was so busy finding faults that she completely forgot that she had responsibility for her own well being as well!

She came to work everyday with a grumpy face and she remained like that. In the hindsight, I feel that it might have been better for everyone if she had resigned and moved on.

Once we understand that we have a role to play in managing our stress, taking care of our health through good lifestyle helps. Simple things like regular meals or exercise help enormously. The former would help you work better without pangs of hunger and the latter would keep you fit to face the challenges.

10 tips to beat STRESS at the work

Photographs: Courtesy: Bolohealth

8. Too stressed to laugh

Are you too stressed to laugh? If yes, then you must do something about building the sense of humour. When everything seems to go wrong, the ability to laugh at the situation or ourselves keeps us going.

9. Be positive

Remember that nothing stays forever and so your stressful moments would go away as well. Being positive could give us the additional energy to beat the stress.

10. Discover your energisers

It is not just important to understand what stresses us, but also equally important to understand what energises you: is it a five-minute break amidst work or quickly reading a good article? Discover what it is and ensure to incorporate it in the day-to-day work life.

I hope you are able to find your energisers and defeat the stressors at work with the aid of this article.