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Are you completely stressed out at work?

Last updated on: April 9, 2010 16:12 IST

Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters

Are the expectations at work causing you anxiety? Here's how to cope with stress at work.

Stress is a dynamic condition where you face constraints and demands that you find yourself unable to fulfill. It can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life and sometimes, the nature of your job or pressures at your workplace may be the chief cause.

Whatever be the factors, stress can hamper your physical and emotional health. Identifying the causes and tackling them in the right manner can help you deal with it.

Have there been any specific incidents at your workplace that have caused you stress and anxiety? It could be anything -- an assignment gone wrong, a failed deadline, an overbearing boss. How did you rectify the situation and what advice do you have for others who may be sailing in the same boat? Share your stories with us -- mail them to (Subject line: 'Stress at work') and we'll publish the best entries right here.


Photographs: Rajesh Karkera

There'll be times when you'll be required to multitask. In such a scenario, being unprepared for meetings, last minute changes or lack of cooperation from colleagues can trigger stress unnecessarily.

The only way to deal with this is to plan ahead. If the task involves a joint effort, call for a meeting and decide what to do. Planning early will help you avoid last minute snags.

Also, when your work depends on inputs from others, you may be forced to stay in late, which may affect your productivity. Discuss the problem positively with your superiors to work out a solution. In such cases, time management skills come very handy.

The glass ceiling effect

Photographs: Rajesh Karkera

Women workers may face additional stress, caused by discrimination in salary and position or sexual harassment. To add to it, there are also the demands of children, family and domestic duties. There may be no magical potion to solve this problem other than keeping your spirits high at work and properly planning of day's events.

Stress and your health

Photographs: Courtesy

Continual stress can affect your health. According to a recently conducted survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), 54 percent of the workforce in the country suffers from severe headache, chronic backache, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Stress can also affect your mental health, leaving you depressed. If not tackled on time, stress can have a debilitating impact on your health.

Handling the boss

Photographs: Uttam Ghosh

If you are not fortunate, your boss may be someone with an insensitive attitude towards you, and may not impart the necessary training required for the job. He or she may lack time management skills, for which you may suffer a great deal.

Your boss may also be someone who is threatened by your capabilities, and may restrict your avenues to acquire experience on the job. He or she may be a Type A personality (displaying high levels of agitation, an excessively competitive drive, time urgency and even hostility), impatient to see results minutes after assigning work.

All of these are factors that add to stress. But there are ways to cope. You must communicate with your boss about what is causing you stress. Evaluate if communication is going to help. If not, try and escalate the issue, or else move on.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh

Appraisals are another trigger for high levels of workplace stress. Your performance may be unfairly compared with that of colleagues. Even if you have performed well, the uncertainty involved in the process can cause you anxiety; you will feel stressed until the whole evaluation gets over.

At times you may not be judged fairly and may not be given due credit for the work you have done. Relax before appearing for the appraisal. If you are required to give a presentation, talk to your seniors about how to go about it and rehearse before the final take. Be sure to communicate what you feel without sounding harsh.


Photographs: Courtesy

Lack of cooperation from colleagues also adds to workplace stress. If you are a fresher, you may not be given the necessary training. If you have good experience, you may be seen as a potential threat.

Inadequate communication regarding your tasks, or being deprived of credit for the work you do, can all add up to your stress. A way out would be to continue showing a positive attitude towards your work and slowly gain the confidence of your colleagues. Be quick enough to understand them and do not get into unfavourable situations. Always keep your calm and handle situations wisely.

Say 'I can deal with it'

Photographs: Courtesy

Handling stress is not easy, especially if it affects your mental stability. But keeping a positive approach helps. Even if you have missed a deadline, keep your cool and say, 'I can do it.'

Breathe deeply for a second or two and begin with a fresh mind. Keep your personal and professional life apart and start your day with a smile. Stay away from addictions of any kind when you are stressed. Smoking or drinking may divert your attention, but they cause long term damage.

Last word: Don't ever give in to stress. Your productivity and good health depend upon how you deal with it.

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