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Solutions for Anxiety and Stress at Work

In my previous blog, I presented a survey to help you identify if anxiety/stress at work are a problem for you. After reading that blog you might have been saying to yourself, "Okay, Noah, so we've identified that I have a lot of stress and anxiety at work - Now what? What can I do about it?"

Here are some tips to reduce your anxiety and stress at work.

What can you change?

Pinpoint your stress triggers at work and then ask yourself to what extent you can remove or at least reduce the impact of that stress. In some cases, you don't have the ability to eliminate some of the sources of stress at work: Getting the boss fired may not be likely; and asking for a raise the day after the company announces downsizing plans may not be in your best interest. What you can change, however, is you. It's important to begin by recognizing what's in your control and what's not.

The fine art of delegating

One problem I frequently observe in my practice is that people create their own stress by taking on more than they can handle. This often happens because they fear that the job won't get done as well as if they would have done it themselves. In fact, it may be the case that having a coworker or assistant to do the job results in a less than perfect outcome in terms of performance quality and effectiveness. However, that may not be such a disaster - the outcome may be quite satisfactory without being quite perfect. Sometimes lowering your standards, and settling for a less than perfect job, can result in less stress. Also, many times these assumptions aren't accurate at all. The reality is that other people can be taught. You may be pleasantly surprised by the level of work that others can bring to a task or responsibility. Even if you're right, and others don't do the job as well as you do, you're probably still better off delegating than taking on everything yourself and feeling incredibly stressed.
Here are some further tips for this:
Package your request for help in positive terms: Tell the person why you selected him or her. Offer a genuine compliment reflecting that you recognize some ability or competence that makes that person right for the job.
Don't micromanage. After you assign a task and carefully explain what needs to be done, let the person do it. Don't interfere unless you clearly see that things are taking a wrong turn.
Reward the effort. If the person did a good job, say so. And if he or she didn't do it quite the way you would have but put a lot of effort into the task, let him or her know that you appreciate the effort.

Make your lunch break a stress break

Lunchtime isn't only about eating; it's a great time to work on lowering your stress. Try to get out of your work environment at lunch. Even if your outing is as simple as going for a walk around the block, go. Better yet, find a park, library - anything relaxing - that can put you (however temporarily) into a different frame of mind. Find your lunch-time oasis.

Coming home more relaxed (and staying that way)

When you get home, it's important to have something relaxing planned to look forward to. Leave your work at work and take time to unwind and provide loving kindness for yourself. Here are some of my personal favorite relaxation activities:
- Take a relaxing bubble bath or shower.
- Have a drink (one will do).
- Sit in your favorite chair and simply veg.
- Listen to some relaxing music.
- Read a chapter from a good book.
- Take a relaxing walk.

Keep these tips in mind and you are now better prepared to cope with the chaos!