As one of the favorite or go-to training facilitators in the Philippines on Stress Management, I’ve always told people that stress or pressure at work can be avoided. We don’t always have to manage or put up with it.
The fact is, the reason we end up having to manage it to begin with is we fail to keep it at bay or convert it to positive stress or pressure even before it gets to us.
I’ve always believed that work stress or pressure isn’t automatic. What I mean by this is it doesn’t self-activate the moment we feel we’re in a situation that causes or might cause it. We can’t tell ourselves it happens involuntarily.
According to Merriam-Webster, stress is a physical (bodily), chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.
This definition itself already tells us that whatever these bodily or mental tensions are, they don’t automatically come up unless these physical, chemical, or emotional factors happen. Therefore, it’s okay to say we can avoid these factors from ever causing any kind of tension or whatsoever to our mind and body. There will be no effect if there’s no cause or their will be no output if there’s no input. Are you with me?
A variety of source literature will tell us too that every time we worry about something, which is a number one stress trigger by the way, our brain alerts the rest of our body to feel that way. Therefore, feelings of getting sick, already sick, or any other negative emotions create mental and bodily tensions in us that in turn disrupt our state of being and thinking.
This explains ‘getting stressed out’ and headache, lack of focus, irritability, and the like follow.
The question here now is, since that’s the case, what can we do then?
The answer? Avoid it. We can’t always be successful with this but believe me, let’s do this first and complain later.
For instance, if we feel we’re already reaching our physical and mental limit at work or our body’s like shouting at us ‘give me a break!’, then pause what we’re doing, stand up, and take a break. We can chat with our colleagues first, visit the restroom and wash our face, walk around and shake off the boredom, the fatigue, or the pressure, or grab something to eat or drink and relax for a few minutes at the pantry. We can also seek help from our supervisor/manager or co-worker so we can be assisted with our task if it becomes too overwhelming for our taste. The moment we force our mind or body and fail to give its needed break, the physical or bodily factor we’ve talked about will surely kick in and we’re already stressed for all we know.
Another one. If stress is being caused by a situation or a person that is testing our patience, take a deep breath, exhale, and use our better judgment on what we should say, how we should say it, and how we ought to behave or look. The moment our emotions get the better of us, chemical imbalances kick in our body and the next moment, we’re already stressed.
Just the same, if the traffic is so terrible, like a bumper-to-bumper situation, or a wreckless or stupid driver nearby is about to make us angry (the cause), let’s get ahead of ourselves and look at the right side. We can rechannel that brewing stress or pressure by listening to some good music or having a good conversation with our passengers. For the wreckless or stupid driver on the road, we can just be more open-minded and mature and just leave it up to God to bless this person and help him with his personal issues. There’s no need for a stressful road rage that benefits no one. The moment we let stress or pressure take over, the consequences can be regrettable.
The message here is clear and simple. Since stress is an effect, an outcome, or an output, we can no doubt preempt it by avoiding or taking full control of whatever triggers it, the causes. This way, we don’t have to manage something we can avoid or discourage in the first place.
We’re the boss of our mind and body. Whatever we say, whatever we do, however we behave, and however we feel are results of our own choice or decision. If we feel stressed or pressured, it only means we let such feelings take over our system and affect us negatively.
So, be positive and contain that stress or pressure by telling it, ‘You’re not the boss of me. I’m the boss of you. You can’t get on my nerves and you won’t stress or pressure me. Not today, not ever’.
Why need to manage work stress or pressure when we can avoid it, right?
Stress or Pressure is nothing but a personal choice or decision to feel bad or negative that our brain alerts the rest of our body to feel the same way.
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