Where does job stress come from, and what can we do about it?

Many of us have experienced stress at the job.   Perhaps we feel a muscle twitch, a migraine headache, or even our blood pressure might skyrocket.   Is there anything that we can do to be less stressed?   Let’s explore.

Empowerment is stress reducing.   Enabling others to make as many decisions as is prudent is one way of reducing their stress.  Having less on our plate reduces our stress.

The long way may take longer than taking shortcuts, but doing so will reduce stress later on.  When facing the choice, always try to avoid taking shortcuts.  Do things the right way the first time.

Be direct when communicating with others.  Avoiding confrontation is many times a precursor to passive aggressive behavior.  Whether you are the aggressor or the subject of the aggression, both parties will be subjected to stress.   It is always better for us to directly communicate with others, especially when our opinions differ.

Inform the uninformed.  Working for someone who shoots first and asks questions later can be very stressful.   Sometimes their decisions may be based on falsehoods rooted in ignorance.  Our job is not to be the victim.   Our job is to keep our bosses and peers informed.  Working for or with people who are informed will reduce conflict, which in turn will also reduce our stress.

Use your internal compass instead of an external one.  When we feel external pressure, we sometimes flip flop with our ideas.  We quickly, and many times incorrectly, doubt ourselves. We are often better experts in the subjects of our decisions than our critics are.   We need to believe in our decisions independently from criticism.   If we can be honest with ourselves and willing to swallow our pride if we make mistakes, then we can use our internal compass to tell us if we are headed in the right direction or not.  Having more confidence in our decisions will help us to be less defensive and that alone will help reduce stress.