There's something I've noticed lately that concerns me. It's the exceptional level of stress people are experiencing at work. I'm not talking about the usual overload. I'm saying that today's stress levels are reaching beyond people's ability to cope. The outcome is that employees need time off to recover, or they take medications to calm down, or they cannot perform well at work and sometimes even get fired.
If you are in such a situation, you have three choices: work with your boss to restructure your job (which may spawn a demotion); find a similar but less stressful job; or learn to manage the stress. Since it's nearly impossible to find jobs that are not stressful, and who wants to risk a demotion, why not learn how to manage the stress?
Research has consistently shown that people who feel they can control their circumstances feel less stressed compared to those who don't feel in control.
Business Psychologist Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., author of "Success under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive When the Pressure's On" (AMACOM; January 2013), recommends a way to gain some of that elusive control.
She says, "Think of each moment of your day as an investment of your time, energy and attention."
With that in mind, you can respond to each situation in a manner that is most relevant to your job and career as well as to your own personal goals. This takes practice. To get in the habit, stick a note on your computer screen or jot a reminder in your calendar several days in a row.
My "to do" list separates and prioritizes according to my work goals and my personal goals, which keeps me focused and less stressed. …