Dollars and sense: Get control of stress at work, in lifestyle

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stress. We’re all familiar with the havoc it can cause in our lives.

We’re also intimately familiar with the many events in the working world that can create more than a fair share of stress. Corporate &uot;rightsizing,&uot; longer hours for less pay, maniacal bosses and hostile co-workers all take their toll on our sanity.

In fact, a recent study found that almost half (47 percent) of American workers reported that their lives were more stressful this year when compared to previous years. One in four rated this year as much more stressful than earlier years. Of these, 34 percent indicated that their job was the primary reason for the increased stress they were feeling.

Yet it doesn’t have to be this way.

Ongoing research is proving that there are ways to respond to stress, to transform the energy from a negative, potentially debilitating entity to a more positive energy source.

In this way, stressful situations can actually be used as a challenge to help us grow.

Much of the stress we experience in and out of the office is caused by situations we feel we have little or no control over.

The following guidelines can help reduce on-the-job stress, fatigue and the overall sense of helplessness that often accompanies an unpleasant and stressful work environment.

1. Be positive. It’s easy to see why people become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Positive employees have more energy and enthusiasm for overcoming barriers while those with negative attitudes frequently find themselves feeling helpless.

Likewise, complainers are less productive and are often perceived as troublemakers.

2. Take time to stop and think.

Problems are often not as serious as they first seem. Taking time to assess the situation not only puts things in perspective but also increases the likelihood that a solution will be found.

3. Learn from you mistakes.

Instead of being hard on yourself, note how often you will prevent it from happening again.

And don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong; you will be a lot better off in the long run recognizing that you’re human and you’ve made a mistake rather than trying to cover your tracks.

There’s no substitute for having control over your life.

In fact, these strategies may help you find renewed interest in that tiresome job you had given up on so long ago