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Relieving the Stress of the Job

Management is an exciting, challenging, yet stressful job.  Having to be responsi-ble for the success of a department, as well as your employees, can keep any manager’s nerves on edge.  Therefore, any situations that occur either at work or in your personal life that place extra demands on you can push you into the danger zone if you don’t learn to handle them properly.

Because of individual circumstances, and emotional and physical characteristics, no two people react to identical situations the same.  Stress then is defined as:

The personal effect of some particular change(s) or event(s) in your life.

The events themselves do not cause the stress.  It’s how you perceive them and deal with them that makes the difference.  Also, how you manage stress depends on the state of your overall health and well being.  When you are fit and well you tend to handle stressful events more easily than when you are ill and weak.  The stressors can come from external sources such as family, job, friends, environment, or from your own internal pressures, such as being over-ambitious, materialistic, competitive, aggressive, etc.


The impact of stress follows you everywhere.  When you are stressed at work, you can become ill or unhappy, interact poorly with employ-ees and peers, and perform poorly.  These same problems, if not managed properly, can also affect your relationships and behaviors away from work.  Since each individual responds to identical situations differently, it’s important to determine what is bothering you.  Learn to change what you can and to accept and manage what you cannot change.


The stress you feel in your personal life can come from a variety of sourc-es.  Some of these stressors can be major happenings, some can be minor.  Some can be eliminated by your own perception of them, better time management, lowered expectations or less expensive needs and wants, whiles others cannot.  Some of the stress you feel away from work can be directly related to the stress you’re experiencing at work.  Any change in normal life events, whether pleasant or unpleasant, can disrupt your every day behav-ioral patterns and place extra demands on you, thus inducing stress and some-times illness.  The rate of change in your life coupled with the number of changes taking place at any given time is proportional to the degree of stress you feel.  You need to learn to manage stress before it manages you.

Unrelieved stressful situations can manifest themselves into various symptoms and changes of behavior.  If they are not identified and managed effectively in the early stages, they can cause even more serious difficulties later on.  Check the signals below to see if any of them apply to you.


– Frequent headaches                        – Depression

– Break out with rash                         – Excitement

– Nausea                                               – Withdrawal

– Stomach disorders                           – Forgetfulness

– Back & neck pains                          – Emotional tension

– Chest pains                                        – Fear – real or anticipated

– Heart palpitations                            – High pitched nervous laughter

– Anxiety                                              – Increased blood pressure

– Trembling                                          – Unusual weight gain/loss

– Nightmares                                        – Excess nervous energy

– Sweating                                            – Increased alcohol consumption

– Insomnia                                           – Increased caffeine consumption

– Lowered resistance                          – Increased sugar/salt consumption

– Wake up tired                                   – Increase/decrease physical activity

– Muscle spasms                                 – Negative thoughts

– Lethargy                                            – Reliance on drugs, legal/illegal

– Confusion                                          – Reduced concentration

– Argumentative                                  – Appetite loss/compulsive eating

– Frustration                                         – Loss of patience/tolerance

– Accident prone                                 – Loss of humor

If you have one or more of these symptoms, chances are you’ll need to change your behavior to help alleviate the negative stress in your life.  The operative word being negative. 

Stress can also be positive!  Think of the stress involved in planning a vacation, winning the lottery, or being promoted to a new position.  Since stress is anything that causes your system to re-spond, these wonderful enhancements in your life will cause a response, only it will be a positive response.

Positive stress may also allow you to perform your job better.  Many manag-ers say they do their best work when their backs are against the wall.  They wait till the last minute to complete a task because they respond better under pressure.  So not all stress has to be negative.  How you handle stress becomes the issue.

If you are experiencing negative stress, you need to learn more than this chapter can give you.  Being that we are not experts in this field, we can not help you with a problem that goes deeper than this chapter can explore.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself that might give you some answers.


If the stress you are feeling is being caused by some situation you are currently experiencing, try to identify the problem(s) and who is being affected by this problem.


Your stress may be caused by one or many reasons.  You need to list as many causes as possible and choose the ones that are most likely the real stressors.


List as many solutions as possible and proceed to determine which solutions are the most likely to work.  Consider the positive and negative effects, and eliminate any unworkable solutions.


Develop a plan of attack to eliminate your stress.  It won’t just happen by wishing it to go away.  List all the tasks to be completed and assign a time limit for its conclusion.

Don’t expect the solution to happen overnight.  It took time to get to this point in your life, you can’t expect it to just disappear.  It’s better to have an organized process for solving your problems, than to just wish the stress would go away.

There will likely be a change in your life or your behavior.  This can be a stressor in itself.  Realize that what you’re trying to accomplish is good for your life because it will ultimately help you to become more comfortable.

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