It's not stress that kills us, it's our reaction to it...

Experts say it is always hard to know who will get ill as a result of stress at work, but other factors often come into play such as relationships at home and genetic predisposition. Here are 10 stress busting tips that should help nip it in the bud:

1. Learn to manage time more effectively:

We waste a lot of time doing unimportant tasks, especially when stressed, so prioritise your day and do the important jobs first. The unimportant ones can wait, and often they will disappear completely leaving you time to do other things. Also, don't put off the unpleasant tasks - avoidance causes a great deal of stress. Give unpleasant tasks a high priority and do them first (think priority over preference!).

2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle:

If we eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure we get adequate sleep and rest, our body is better able to cope with stress should it occur. Even better if you can find an exercise buddy! I definitely need to practice what I preach here, as wedding planning is upon me and of course where there's a wedding there's a wedding dress and where there's a wedding dress there's a diet!

3. Know your limitations and do not take on too much:

We cause ourselves a great deal of stress because we want people to like us and don't want to let people down. We then end up doing more than we should. Learn to delegate effectively and be assertive so that you can say no without upsetting or offending.

4. Find out what causes you stress:

Take time to discover what is worrying you and try to change your thoughts and behaviour to reduce it. A stress assessment can help you to fully understand the causes, implications to your health and how to manage, cope and make those necessary changes.

5. Avoid unnecessary conflict:

Do not be too argumentative. Is it really worth the stress? Look for win - win situations. Look for a resolution to a dispute where both parties can achieve a positive outcome. Find out what the real cause of the problem is and deal with it.

6. Accept the things you cannot change:

Changing a difficult situation is not always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on all that you do have control over. Managing change effectively is essential or else performance will be reduced.

7. Express your feelings instead of bottling them up:

If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don't voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.

8. Find time to meet friends, relax and recharge your batteries:

Friends can ease work troubles and help us see things in a different way. The activities we engage in with friends help us relax and we will often have a good laugh. Often, talking to a friend/ family member will help you see things from a different and less stressful perspective. Relaxation helps your body return to its normal healthy state. Good relaxation techniques include breathing exercises, massage and a variety of complimentary therapies.

9. Find a little time to laugh:

The most powerful form of humour as 'good medicine' and as a sign of psychological well-being and maturity is likely the ability to gently poke fun and laugh at ourselves.

10. Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine as coping mechanisms:

Long term, these faulty coping mechanisms will just add to the problem. For example, caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, too much and the body reacts to this with the stress response increasing or even causing anxiety symptoms. Alcohol is a depressant!

Stress results in decreased job satisfaction, reduced production and increased conflicts, which all lead to - you guessed it - more stress!

The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation and fun - plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on.

When you ignore stress signals, you are more liable to become ill or fatigued. So the moral of the story is - do something about it before it becomes too late!


I'm keen to hear your thoughts and comments, or if you have any stress busting tips, please leave those also. Alternatively, click here to connect with me on LinkedIn.


9 November, 2011

By Nikki Graham

Nikki Graham


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