Every time you feel stressed you may want to pause and think about the millions of people who have it worse than you: homeless, jobless, under a ventilator…. it may help. Nevertheless, normal workplace stress is also debilitating, affecting your performance, your outlook, and ultimately your health.
Well, no, actually. But there are so many additional sources of stress right now:
Workplace stress might seem almost like a relief. But it is not normal to feel stress all the time. This insight came to me when Derya Ozes, organizational psychologist, and I spent several hours on two in-depth interviews on the subject of stress.
Part One of our interview examines the origins of stress that at its core derives from a lack of equilibrium. It is literally like losing your balance and having to adjust your footing and shift your weight to stay upright… continuously. From my numerous discussions with executives every week it seems to me that many are actually suffering from stress without understanding it. Some do not even realize they are stressed. Others do but regard it as normal. Still others recognize it but do not know what to do about it.
So, the first interview (Part One) examines not only the sources and symptoms of stress but some of the behaviors it can produce particularly in the workplace. You may be familiar with some of these, such as:
There are many more organizational implications of stress. Derya does a good job of highlighting some of the more common stress-related issues.
Some of our readers would actually like to do something about their stress. For them, Part Two of the interview offers some really interesting insights. It delves into two therapeutic approaches that you may be able to experiment with, even without professional help.
One of these revolves around cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps an individual step outside their stress temporarily so as to address it. For example, let us say that you have adopted an avoidance response to a particular stressor (a person, an event, or an aspect of your work). Avoidance gives you a temporary sense of relief. But ultimately only allows the source of tension to accumulate over time. It will eventually come to some sort of blow up with even more stress as a result. In Part Two Derya explains how creating a thought record of the feeling of stress, your response, and then the conscious identification of other possible responses—responses that might be more productive—can help you change behavior and have less stress.
The Barrett Group