Health and Your Work

Stress Management

About Stress

Types of Stress

Managing Stress

Work joyfully and peacefully, Knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results.

James Allen

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity."

Albert Einstein

Do you have workplace related stress or are you undergoing career change?

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Health and Your Work

Personal health, burnout, and work satisfaction are intimately connected.

Researchers agree that the most important question you can ask someone to know the most about the person's health is, "Do you like your work?" People who like their work are far less likely than others to have any type of physical illness.

The same skills and attitudes that lead to inspired performance also seem to promote health. Psychologists Salvatore Maddi and Suzanne Kobasa compared groups of the healthiest and the unhealthiest managers at Illinois Bell, a high-intensity work environment.

The healthy managers who thrive under stress are different from the unhealthy group in four ways:

  1. Commitment. They were more involved in their work.

  2. Challenge. They welcomed change as an opportunity to grow and learn.

  3. Control. They felt a sense of personal power; they could manage the demands placed upon them.

  4. Connection. They felt a sense of support from and communication with other people, a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.

Health and Hardiness

The people who exhibited these four C's were labeled "hardy" or stress-resistant.

Kobasa and Maddi suggested that inspired performers respond to difficulty with these four attitudes, which promote health as well as high achievement. Perhaps an organization that fosters these attitudes might enable all of its employers to thrive under pressure.

Measure Your Hardiness

Which of the following statements seem to be true about you? This test will give you a rough measure of your hardiness, your strength and weakness in managing work pressures, and your capacity for inspired performance.

I like what I'm doing and the company I work for.
I wake up eager to start the day's work.

I am excited and energized by new projects.
Seeking new opportunities is an important part of my life.

I seek out other people when I have a problem.
I feel that I give as much as I get from other people.

I look for things I can do something about; I do not waste time and energy getting frustrated about what I cannot do.
When there are demands at work, I know that trying my best is the most effective approach.

Test Assessment

This test assesses your attitude toward work challenges. If you answered "yes" to more than six of these statements, your style fosters hardiness. If you had three or fewer "yes" responses, you should think about ways to cultivate these attitudes.

Health Promotes Productivity

The personal qualities that promote health also promote productivity.

Inspired performers combine high productivity and personal satisfaction with health and well-being. Burnout is the opposite extreme.

Burned-out workers experience all manner of stress-related illness—physical and emotional—and their performance is impaired as well.

Though some people naturally adopt work styles that lead to burnout and others are naturally inspired performers, an inspired performer can be put into a work setting that burns him or her out, and a person prone to burnout can be inspired to higher levels of performance.

For this reason, organizations are trying to create climates for inspired performance.

There are specific things you can do to prevent burnout. You do not have to wait for permission or support to use them. Many of these burnout buffers have to do with your behavior in a pressure situation, how you relate to others, and how you think and feel about everyday situations. The way you set your own standards and look at situations also can help avoid burnout.

The burned-out worker tends to be highly self-critical. He or she has a feeling about doing enough, expects the worst, and has little sense of a personal capacity to make a difference.

The inspired, optimal performer has a positive view of himself or herself and of the future, and spends energy where it can make a difference and achieve success. Emotionally, the optimal performer's style is characterized by a sense of connection with other people, comfort in expressing and sharing feelings, compassion, and ability to step into another's shoes.

Inspired performers approach pressure situations differently from the burned-out worker. The key skills of inspired performers include:

  • Taking care of their physical well-being

  • Responding directly to difficulties and demands rather than avoiding them

  • Utilizing the help and support of other people

  • Focusing energy on mastering some part of a challenge rather than trying to do it all

  • Taking time-outs and rethinking their approach when things are not working out

  • Managing time effectively



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