In a world where stress is an inevitable aspect, mastering stress management becomes key to building resilience for work success. Stress, much like driving a race car, requires skillful application of both the accelerator (strategies propelling forward) and the brakes (techniques for slowing down and recovering). Successful stress management is a delicate balance between accelerating through challenges and knowing when to apply the brakes to prevent negative consequences.
Understanding Workplace Stress
The combination of both strategies is essential for building resilience and achieving success in a high-stress work environment. Approximately 79% of people report experiencing stress at work, attributing it to factors like workload, deadlines, and interpersonal relationships. This rising work-related stress contributes to increased work anxiety, impacting individual well-being and overall productivity. Recognising this, employers are increasingly acknowledging the urgent need to help their employees engage in stress management strategies, promoting resilience in demanding workplaces.
To effectively navigate workplace stress, combat work anxiety, and cultivate resilience, it's crucial to explore practical methods and mindset shifts. The following sections delve into these strategies, offering insights into actively managing stress in a demanding professional environment.
Many studies emphasise the importance of taking control of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), as discussed in "Stress and the Autonomic Nervous System" by Eunsoo Won and Yong-Ku Kim. The ANS serves as the automatic pilot of our body, controlling functions like heart rate and digestion. Understanding its two branches—the sympathetic system, which readies us for action, and the parasympathetic system, which aids relaxation and recovery—is essential. Keeping these systems in balance is crucial for overall well-being and health.
What is resilience?
Resilience in the workplace refers to the ability to adapt, recover, and thrive in the face of challenges, setbacks, and stressors. It is the capacity to bounce back from failures, learn from experiences, and maintain high levels of performance and well-being despite the pressures and uncertainties inherent in the work environment. Workplace resilience involves both the ability of employees to cope with stress and challenges and the ability of the organisation to adapt and respond positively to change and disruptions.
Why is resilience important?
The constant demand for professional excellence, together with the balancing act of managing work and personal life, has become the new 'norm' for Sydney city dwellers. Stress, in its various forms, can impact our lives in unexpected ways. Operating in a cyclical pattern, each phase of the stress cycle leaves its mark on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. If left unattended, this stress cycle can trigger a cascade of challenges, especially in the workplace.
Resilience is essential for each of us to develop because it helps us navigate life's challenges and setbacks more effectively.
Resilience empowers us to cope with stress, adapt to changing circumstances, and maintain positive mental well-being. It involves regulating emotions, honing problem-solving skills, and fostering adaptability. Resilience is instrumental in the maintenance of healthy relationships, enabling effective communication and conflict resolution. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in achieving personal and professional goals, bolstering perseverance amid setbacks. The positive effects of resilience extend to physical health, as it aids in stress management and reduces the impact of stress-related issues.
Fostering resilience is like building a mental and emotional toolkit that equips us to face life's ups and downs with strength and adaptability. It empowers us to learn from setbacks, grow stronger, and lead more fulfilling lives.
Stress effects on the body by American Psychological Association
4 easy tips for building a resilient mindset
1. Building resilience through thought awareness
To start building a resilient mindset, it is important to pay attention to your thoughts. Notice recurring negative thoughts like self-doubt or fatigue that may be adding to your stress. Identifying these thoughts is the first step to regaining control over your mindset. Counteract them by consciously introducing positive affirmations or encouraging self-talk. By doing this regularly, you'll contribute to building a resilient mental state, making it easier to navigate challenges.
2. Panoramic Vision
During high-stress work moments, shift your focus to a broader perspective. Instead of intense concentration, try gazing at the horizon or focusing on an object about 20 feet away. This simple act induces a mental shift, acting like brakes to bring about a sense of calm and control. This practical approach helps you avoid getting overwhelmed, allowing you to tackle stress more effectively. For additional resources on overcoming stress, check out our blog, "5 Best Books to Overcome Anxiety for Women in Business," designed to empower women facing the unique challenges of the business world.
Ease stress by incorporating movement into your routine. Take a 5 to 20-minute walk away from your phone and office distractions. Walking not only helps clear your mind but also contributes to maintaining a broad perspective, allowing you to effectively apply stress management techniques. The physical activity releases tension, offering a practical and immediate strategy for keeping stress in check.
4. Breath Reset
Step into a calmer state with a simple sigh. Inhale deeply through your nose, take a second breath, and exhale completely through your mouth. Repeat this process one to three times to consistently engage your body's stress-soothing mechanism – the parasympathetic system. Recognising how this extra inhale strengthens the calming impact makes it a potent tool for instant stress relief.
Managing stress is akin to skillfully navigating a race car – striking the right balance between acceleration and brakes is essential. To become a resilience master, consistent practice is the key. Set aside a moment each day for the next 21 days, implementing at least two of these practical techniques. For instance, try a 5-minute walk paired with calming breaths or positive thought reinforcement and panoramic vision. Seize the potential of your mindset to adeptly use stress management brakes, cultivating resilience for triumph in the workplace.
While stress is inevitable, mastering resilience techniques enables effective stress management. Understanding and regulating the autonomic nervous system foster a healthier response to stress, ensuring a balanced and successful professional life. Embracing a proactive approach to stress management is not only beneficial for personal well-being but also contributes to a more productive and resilient workforce in the demanding modern workplace.
For a deeper understanding and additional strategies in handling stress and anxiety, consider a complimentary consultation with your Sydney Hypnotherapist. Here, you can gain valuable insights and assistance through hypnotherapy and mindset coaching, addressing the fundamental causes of stress.