Individual approach in Managing Stress

An employee can take personal responsibility for reducing his or her stress level. Individual strategies that have proven effective include implementing, time management techniques, increasing physical exercise, relaxation training, and expanding the social support network.

Many people manage their time poorly. The well-organized employee, like the well-organized student, can often accomplish twice as much as the person who is poorly organized. So an understanding and utilization of basic time management principles can help individuals better cope with tensions created by job demands. A few of the more well-known time-management principles are: (1) making daily lists of activities to be accomplished; (2) prioritizing activities by importance and urgency (3) scheduling activities according to the priorities set; and (4) knowing your daily cycle and handling the most demanding parts of your job during the high part of your cycle when you are most alert and productive.

Non-competitive physical exercise such as aerobics, walking, jogging, swimming, and riding a bicycle have long been recommended by physicians as a way to deal with excessive stress levels. These forms of physical exercise heart capacity, lower the at-rest heart rate, provide a mental diversion from work pressures, and offer a means to “let off steam”.

Individuals can teach themselves to reduce tension though relaxation techniques such as meditation, hypnosis and biofeedback. The objective is to reach a state of deep relaxation, in which one feels physically relaxed, somewhat detached from the immediate environment, and detached from body sensations. Deep relaxation for 15 or 20 minutes a day releases tension and provides a person with a pronounced sense of peacefulness. Importantly, significant changes in heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological factors result from achieving the condition of deep relaxation.

As we noted earlier having friends, family or work colleagues to talk to provides an outlet when stress levels become excessive. Expanding ones social support network, therefore, can be a means for tensions reduction. It provides with someone to hear ones problems and to offer a more objective perspective on situations.

From the organization’s standpoint, management may not be concerned when employees experience low to moderate levels of stress. The reason is that such levels of stress may be functional and lead to higher employee performance. But high levels of stress, or even low levels sustained over long periods, can lead to reduced employee performance and, thus, require action by management.

While a limited amount of stress may benefit an employee’s performance, don’t expect employees to see it that way. From the individual’s standpoint, even low levels of stress are likely to be perceived as undesirable. It’s unlikely, therefore for employees and management to have different notions of what constitutes an acceptable level of stress on the job. What management may consider it as “a positive stimulus that keeps the adrenaline running” is very likely to be seen as “excessive pressure” by the employee.

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