The Stress in America poll the American Psychological Association conducted revealed worrying facts. It looks like Americans’ mental health and stress are worsening, primarily because of a series of reasons like the rising inflation, pandemic, and Russia-Ukraine war.
The American Institute of Stress measured the stress levels in America and stated that 87% of the respondents named rising costs of daily necessities (electricity, gas, groceries) and work among the main stressors in their lives. Being stressed out negatively impacts individuals’ overall health and wellbeing, and the latest data is far from pleasing to the eye. The high levels of stress among adults are alarming signs that people need to start looking for ways to improve their mental health.
Work-related stress is a growing issue globally. The American Institute of Stress states that 75% of employees think their job is more stressful than a generation ago, and 1 in 4 workers identify their job as the primary stressor in their lives. Sadly, people often associate feeling stressed out with being successful nowadays, and this is an unfortunate misconception. Stress is a threat to health and puts the profitability and performance of a company at risk.
Let’s take a look at the factors that trigger stress at work and the ways people can relieve it and improve their mental health.
Sources of stress at work
A bundle of factors can make workers feel stressed out and overwhelmed.
Poor relationships at work – poor workplace relations can make people feel isolated from their colleagues. Conflict with a co-worker can cause anxiety and a fear of coming to work. A non-inclusive work setting can also cause stress when employees don’t feel included in the social groups at work.
Lack of support – managers neglecting to train, support, and direct their teams can make employees feel confused. They feel frustrated and stressed out when they fail to understand their duties and responsibilities.
Heavy workloads and long hours – some employers press their employees to work longer and put more effort. Organizations expect workers to complete massive volumes of work in short periods, which can significantly strain their workforce.
Poor working environment – people working in places that ignore harassment and bullying are overwhelmed and stressed out because they feel their employer doesn’t value their input. When people think they cannot control their work conditions and how their colleagues and leaders treat them at work, they feel stressed out.
Workplace discrimination – disability, gender, and racial discrimination should no longer happen in a workplace, but sadly they have been pervasive issues for a while. They can trigger significant stress levels in employees dealing with workplace discrimination first-hand.
How to relieve work-related stress
Considering that stress at work is common, finding a position that causes low to no stress is almost impossible for most individuals. Therefore, the most realistic approach is to find ways to alleviate stress levels.
Start your work days the right way
After running around the house to prepare breakfast for your children, walking the dog, and making coffee to drink on the go, you most likely arrive at work already stressed out and exhausted. This makes you even more reactive to stress at work. Don’t be surprised to find out how you start your day affects your stress levels in the workplace. Plan your days and try to start them with a positive attitude, good nutrition, and less stress. You’ll find out that you’ll no longer feel overwhelmed by your job.
Listen to music on the drive to and from work
Listening to meditation music offers countless benefits and can help you alleviate stress before and after work. Playing a chill tune while you drive to work can help you boost calmness levels and start the day better, prepared to interact with your co-workers. Likewise, using meditation music to combat the stress of an exhausting day can help you wind down and improve your mental health.
Ask for clear requirements
A factor triggering job burnout is unclear requirements from team leaders and managers. You can become extremely stressed when you don’t know exactly what they expect of you and how to complete particular tasks. Also, requirements changing with little notice can cause overwhelming feelings and anxiety because you struggle to meet deadlines.
When you don’t know if what you’re doing is enough, talk with your supervisor and discuss the strategies you can adopt to do your job better. This can relieve stress for both of you and improve your performance.
Stay away from conflict
Conflict in the workplace can have daunting effects on your mental health and take a toll on your emotional health. Also, conflict at the workplace is challenging to accept, so it’s always best to avoid it and maintain good relationships with all colleagues. Stay away from gossip, don’t share too much of your personal opinions on sensitive subjects, and don’t engage in colorful office humor.
Put a distance between yourself and the co-workers you don’t work well with, and if conflict finds you, look for ways to handle it without affecting your work.
Focus on your breathing
Usually, you don’t think about breathing because your body breathes for you. But if you pay attention to your body when stressed out, you’ll notice that you breathe more shallowly when anxious. So focus on the intake of air and the way you inhale and exhale when trying to alleviate stress. Deep breathing can calm your thoughts and help you manage your mental health.
Explore the range of fitness classes available at your local gym and enroll in one. Fitness exercises improve mental health and lower stress. Adults are encouraged to work out for at least 40 minutes daily to stay in good health and reduce stress levels. If you don’t feel comfortable training in a gym, join an online class, it’s as effective as working out at a fitness center. Choose an activity you’d like to engage in, and boost your mental well-being and physical health.
Start your journey to improved mental health today
The world is rapidly changing, and you need to learn how to cope with stress and maintain good mental and physical health.