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Book Excerpt Stress Out™ Book:

Job Stress
Aila Accad, RN, MSN
Co-author, Stress Out
Book

Job stress occurs when you work too much; work in conflict with your values and talents or work under difficult circumstances.  It is not news to anyone that stress can make you physically sick.

Not only can work stress make you sick, but also once you get sick, your lower energy levels affect the quality and quantity of your work. Eventually, impaired performance can ruin your career.  

      Whether you work for yourself, own a business or are an employee, stress on the job is a growing problem.  With increasing financial constraints, employers are asking more of each worker with fewer resources. You are not only concerned about your stress, but also the stress of the people around you. Other’s stress can affect your work and health as well.

      In this chapter, we will explore the underlying cause for stress, how take charge of your stress and some of the arenas of work life that can be stressful and strategies to reduce stress in each of them.  At the end, there are also suggested resources to support you in handling work stress.

KEY CAUSE OF STRESS

      Take a moment to write down a few of the things that stress you at work. Look at the items on your list.  What do the items all have in common?  Do you have control over any of them?

      Situations that cause you stress are situations you feel you cannot control – too much to do with too little time or resources, other people not pulling their load, negative or demanding supervisors or coworkers, or fear of job loss for example. 

      The key to reducing your stress is focusing your time and energy on the things within your control, namely your own thoughts, feelings and choices within the situation. 

THE KEY PRINCIPLE FOR STRESS REDUCTION

√  You have NO control of anything outside yourself.

√   You have TOTAL control of everything inside yourself.

      This does not seem earth-shattering until you look at daily reactions to what stresses you.

      You reduce your stress when you put your time and energy into the one area where it will pay off, where you have total control and power to direct your life – in YOU, what you think, feel and choose (your actions).  This brings you the confidence and freedom of Self-Mastery.

      Keeping this principle in mind will serve you well as you learn to reduce your stress in any area of your life, including your work life.

ARENAS OF STRESS AT WORK

      The following are some typical arenas of work stress in which you can reclaim more control. 


PURPOSE

“Follow your bliss.”  
~ Joseph Campbell ~

      Are you stressed by feeling stuck in a job situation that does not allow expression of your true talents and abilities?  Are you working in an area you hate because you have been there so long it is hard to leave or you need the money? This is a huge cause for work related stress.

      Purpose is a force that energizes. It inspires you to get up in the morning. What excites your passion for work? Your deepest values and purpose are not in your head but in your heart. To what does your heart respond?  What touches you?  What energizes you or inspires you?

 

 

 


When you follow your true path or calling, you are invigorated, rather than stressed.

I’m reminded of a story about a man who purchased a quarry. He didn’t know anything about the quarry business. So, on the first day the new owner decided to learn about the work done there. 

He asked an industrious worker what he was doing.  The worker replied, “I am making bricks.  They must be exactly the right size, so I use a special mold to shape them with precision.” 

The owner then asked a second worker who was also busy making bricks, “What is it that you do here?”  The worker said, “I make a living.  By working here I put food on the table and support my growing family.” 

When the owner proceeded to ask the third worker the same question, the worker smiled broadly, “I am building a cathedral!” he said with enthusiasm.

 The sense of doing something valuable and purposeful can change your outlook. 

Action Steps:

√   Define your job by its larger benefit to the world. Take the person who recently put in a phone jack for my computer for instance.  This was a routine task for him, but that work connects me to the entire world through the Internet capability it provides.  This man’s job is not just the installation of phone connections; he actually facilitates worldwide communication.

After a recent presentation on this subject, a woman remarked to me, “I really expedite interoffice communication which enhances the relationships in the entire organization.”  This woman previously saw herself as “just a secretary”.  Once she expanded her view of the outcome of her work, she could see how what she did routinely made a significant difference in the overall quality of work life for everyone.  Now, she feels excited about her contribution!  Knowing that you make an important difference helps you to feel valuable inside, even when you rarely hear the words “Thank You” from your boss, co-workers, or customers.

Look at the outcome of your work.  How would the workplace change if you were not there?  Focus not only on the tasks, but also on what you personally contribute because of your unique abilities and personality. 

Inspire yourself with a broader vision of your contribution to the world. Find the cathedral hidden in your job. 

√   Get career counseling or coaching to identify your strengths and talents, and then set a plan in motion to attract a position either within your current organization or in another.  Once you are clear on your ideal position, communicate your interests. Frequently, you will begin to see or hear about situations that could be a good fit for you.

√  Check with your organization’s Human Resources department to determine if there are opportunities for education, training or career development available for which you may qualify.

Chapter Copyright  2009, Aila Accad, RN, MSN
Book Copyright, 2009, Self Investment Publishing Co.

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