Managing Stress at Work

Stress at work can take from six months to three years off your life, according to a study taken last October by researchers at Harvard and Stanford Universities. “If we’re living in a constant state of fight or flight,” says Emily Soares Proctor, a wellness coach quoted in The New York Post, “the stress response happens over and over again, chronically upsetting your entire system and creating the environment for exhaustion and disease.” And as stated in the first paragraph, stress can shorten your life.

There’s no need to be freaked out over being stressed out. It’s normal for you to experience some stress at work. But too much tension can lower your productivity and physical and emotional well being.

Dealing with stress at work is no big deal when you understand that it’s you, not your employer, who needs to take responsibility for dealing with it. Don’t give up this responsibility. Here’s a quartet of stress-busting techniques that will allow you to blow off steam in healthy ways:

  1. Talk it out with a mental health practitioner, a good friend, or family member. Releasing pent up emotions by talking it out is like opening the lid of a pressure cooker to release pent up steam.
  2. Moving around is a powerful stress reliever because it makes you feel better by lowering your stress levels. To this end, find an exercise you enjoy like walking, swimming, jogging, or playing tennis that acts as a way to relieve stress at work.
  3. Make changes to how you handle your work life. You can quit. Or you can stay on the job while starting a job search. Either way, you know the old saying: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Sometimes you have no other choice than to quit in order to protect your mental health. Just being willing to quit your job—even if you don’t—or to start a job search will ease the tension you experience. Why? Because you committed to doing something about it and relief is in sight.
  4. Quit drinking or smoking. Both are causes of self-induced stress. To give up an addiction is not a big deal when you read and apply suggestions I gave in Monday’s post on Your Career Service about quitting nicotine or booze.

Whether it’s a crazy boss or crummy colleagues that are causing stress at work, you are responsible for fixing it.

So if your heart pounds, your head aches, your stomach is upset, or you experience fatigue most of the time—some classic symptoms of unhealthy and often life threatening stress— it’s time to take action right now.

In this post, I’ve only scratched the surface in presenting methods of managing stress at work. You’ll find lots more ways of dealing with stress at work and during your job search—especially before and during interviews—in my book “Your One Minute Job Finding Coach.” Click here to order now.

I invite you to comment below about ways you’ve dealt with stress.

Copyright ©2016 by Ransom (Randy) Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.