On-the-job stress is a fact of life, but there are good strategies to fight it.
American work life is hard, particularly in this day and age of persistently high unemployment. Employers are demanding more from their staff, and it's not uncommon for a worker to put in extra hours on a regular basis or to perform more than just their mandated job. As a result, on-the-job stress levels quite frequently are at least as high as they've ever been, if not higher. Withstanding prolonged, intense pressure is unhealthy and counterproductive, so what can be done to mitigate it?
Fortunately, this problem is well acknowledged and there's a fairly deep body of expertise addressing it. One critical early step is to recognize when stress is coming - many people don't see the train until it's about to run over them. The non-profit health consultancy helpguide.com enumerates some of the most significant initial warning signs. These include, but are certainly not limited to, stronger than usual feelings of anxiety, depression or anger, problems falling asleep and increased consumption of "crutch" substances like drugs or alcohol. The sooner incoming stress can be detected, the easier it is to deal with.
Canada's Centre for Occupational Health and Safety points out that many stressors are physical rather than psychological. If the employee is subjected to constant loud noise, for example, or pain deriving from the way he or she is required to perform that job, it's a relatively easy fix - management should be alerted to the difficulty and address it in a timely way.
Most of the really crippling pressure isn't physical, however. Fortunately, the deeper mental variety can be mitigated using a fairly big bag of tricks. Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, organizational and motivational psychologist Paul Baard suggests, for the many employees in a team environment, that the affected stressee make a concentrated effort to encourage his or her co-workers in order for the team to ……….