Feeling stressed or insanely positive ? Nationally, our stress level is still higher than before the 9-11 catastrophe 13 years ago. That’s a ton of accumulated negative energy. Then the 2008 economic crash was another slam to our national psyche, one that still reverberates. Friends and clients often mention the effects of budget cuts (public and private,) more job cuts and bad news in the media.
You cannot feel stressed out and ridiculously great at the same time. How do you want to feel?
Research from the American Psychological Association shows 36% of all employees feel “stressed out” at work and 20% of all employees surveyed rate their stress levels as “high.”
Results of stress on communication include semiaccurate to blatantly false information going around the place, infecting your mojo, the culture and your own precious peace of mind.
Factors (survey says) fueling higher stress level at work include:
- Low salaries compared to rising cost of living.
- Lack of possible advancement at work (cited by 43%.)
- Too heavy of a work load.
- Unrealistic or unclear job expectations.
- Expectation of longer working hours.
- Having to pay more of their health insurance.
- Cuts in social activities, training and other forms of professional development.
- Not being recognized for their contribution at work (46%.)
(Interestingly, only 43% of employees feel that their employer offers appropriate non-monetary recognition at work. That means over half employees are so ready for a Mixonian intervention right now.)
Stress is a major reason that the quality of communication disintegrates. With more stress at work, employees and managers both:
- Interpret messages in a more negative light, aka “catastrophize.”
- Are more distracted and therefore don’t listen very well.
- Express themselves with higher negativity.
- See fewer possible solutions to problems.
- Are less productive.
- Waste more time.
If you’re feeling stressed, here’s one big step to deal with the madness: Slow down. Think about something else. Hire a mariachi band. Break the stress circuit.
Being rushed crushes good communication; one stressed-out client who is a business owner, recently suffered a $13,500 “misunderstanding” in an agreement with a supplier. Ouch! In larger companies, the potential for expensive misunderstandings is much higher, even though larger systems have internal checks and balances to prevent this sort of mistake! If you’re in a stressful situation at work, near to or in full crisis, consider an alternative approach.
While rushing is bad for your heath and your bottom line, it’s supremely easy to get cracked-out addicted to the Rush of Rushing. Yes, feeling stress can become an emotional habit. Don’t let it happen to you.
More ways to overcome the effect of stress at work…other than bringing in a mariachi band to your next meeting.
1. Breathe. Take time out to focus on your breathing. That interrupts your cycle of stressful thinking.
2. Prioritize- put off something. I know everything is critical but which tasks or projects have the least impact right now?
3. Think about something fun. Yep. This could be a vacation, something funny your kid said, your dog…. It’s another pattern-interrupter to slash your stress level.
4. Edit the message. Keeping in mind everyone is distracted, take some time to clarify and streamline your message, whether it’s an email or report to your team.
5. Smile. You’ll feel better and so will everyone around you. Plus, you’ll look better. Take a selfie and see!
Feeling more relaxed at work will only bring you goodness. Or, you can always hire a mariachi band to play at your office. A stress decimator for sure.