Coping With Other Peoples’ Stress
16 January 2019

Workplace stress – de-stressing –wellness

I expect you know that if you smile the world smiles with you? It’s true! And if you work with people who are optimistic and cheerful, you’re more likely to feel upbeat too. On the other hand, if your colleagues are stressed and unhappy you’re more likely to be affected.

There are many behaviours you can practice, skills you can learn and changes you can make in your environment to help you with “secondhand” stress. Here are some tips.
Accept that some stress can be good. Life is full of stressful things. You don’t achieve a successful career, raise a family, lead, or make changes in an organisation without some level of stress.

If members of your team are stressed, try to understand what’s really going on rather than stressing about their stress. Ask them to describe what they’re experiencing. Find out what they are anxious about. When people accurately label their emotions, they’re more likely to identify the source of their stress and do something about it.

Having a conversation with a stressed-out colleague might make you feel nervous yourself. You can keep your emotions in check by being empathetic. By expressing compassion for this person’s concern and then engaging them in positive conversation — either to generate a solution to their problem or shift their focus away from it — we often positively influence them instead of letting them negatively affect us. Ask your colleague, “Is there anything I can do to help you move matters forward? Is there a conversation we should have that might lead to a more constructive outcome?”

Moaning Minnies are a pain. It’s not always easy to be compassionate toward your office’s Eeyore. If you feel the negativity of a colleague is starting to take its toll on you, try taking strategic retreats and limit your contact with anxiety-inducing colleagues.

Surround yourself with positive people. Positive emotions can be just as contagious as negative ones.

Try to promote optimism. Help to create an environment where people feel confident about the organisation. You don’t want a situation where one individual’s stress is the only voice in the room.

Even if your job is manageable, it can quickly become a source of anxiety if everyone else around you is stressed and vocal about it. People often talk about their ‘have-to’ goals (as in ‘I have to go to this meeting.’ Or ‘I have to be on this client call).

Having a gripe about a large to-do list is seen by some people as a badge of honour, and the complaining often catches on. But that’s dangerous. Turn your “have-to” goals into “want-to” goals.

Ward off stress is to take excellent care of your health. Eating well and getting plenty of exercise and sleep are critical to keeping stress at bay. So, too, is practicing gratitude.

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DISCLAIMER

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2018 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.