Employee stress levels “have risen nearly 20% in three decades.”   Research by Korn Ferry, “Workplace Stress Continues to Mount,” quoted recently in Forbes.

The research cited above includes the following stats about the impact of workplace stress:

  • 76% of respondents said workplace stress “had a negative impact on their personal relationships.”
  • 66% have lost sleep due to work-related stress.
  • 16% have quit jobs because stress became too overwhelming.

I have had a very recent experience, inspired by crazy hours whilst in the US, I had to master my thoughts and reactions.
We know that control is the number one strategy used by us all at work, to stay on top of our workloads and cope. But trying to control everything can lead to panic and creates a huge sense of stress. It reduces clarity: everything whizzing around your head at once, clouding thoughts and creating a feeling of overwhelm, which then just gets in the way of being effective – you then can’t think straight.
For me, calm was a conscious strategy to help.
Stress is caused by how we manage pressurised situations.  Stress can be contagious too, managers who feel stress acutely, and don’t manage it, can then pass it on to their employees due to their own ‘high-tension’ behaviour – a stress ripple effect.
Stress and its impact is being recognised more, as we recently reported, the World Health Organisation now classes Burnout as a disease, all of us need tools and techniques and / or reminders to help us deal more effectively with stress inducing factors and look after our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us.

American philosopher and psychologist William James once said, “the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

We can manage our thoughts and our reactions to stress inducing situations.

We can re-frame stress inducing thoughts for a more constructive and positive approach.

Here’s how I created calm:

  • Getting organised and prioritising.
  • I consciously decided to avoid drama on the inside. No ‘poor me’!
  • No venting – I didn’t gush it out all out, creating drama on the outside.
  • I identified what I couldn’t control, accepted these things, and parked them.
  • I took what I could control; approached and completed them, one at a time. Once done, I let each one go, avoided overthinking and having them block up my consciousness.
  • I believed in myself, I remembered that there’s not much I haven’t managed when I’ve put my heart and mind to it.
  • I used my iAM first wave values to be my instigators and to ground me.
  • I let go of self-consciousness and conformity, and really used my iAM central wave values to influence – really be me.

Next time you’re feeling the pressure mount, use the calm strategy, and really be you.