I’m fortunate to live in one of the best places on the planet – Newport Beach, CA. Recently while driving up Newport Coast Road toward the Pacific Coast Highway I realized, as the Pacific Ocean came into view across the horizon, how soothing the Pacific Ocean can be. It does have a calming effect. As we think about ways to deal with workplace stress, the paradox of the ocean is an excellent way to think about it. On occasion the ocean can be turbulent and treacherous, but once the storm and winds subside, it will ease back into a mellow blue sea of unity.
Work is stressful; it can be turbulent and difficult. Whether you are dealing with corporate politics, a difficult boss, disgruntled co-workers, project deadlines which were missed, etc., all can lead to job stress. While we can’t control others and events, we can change how we think and react to them, which may lead to a more favorable outcome. One of my favorite books is As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen, which was first published in 1902. This tiny book has many messages in it that can help us deal with workplace stress. His message is simple, how we think about events will dictate the outcome: “the mind in the master-weaver, both the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance”. In thinking about ways to deal and cope with workplace stress, I have four principle guidelines I try to live by:
- Communicate, communicate and communicate. As workplace events happen, don’t bottle them up and go into seclusion. Seek the counsel of a trusted advisor at work. Also, speak to a friend, partner, spouse, mentor or coach about what’s going on. Seeking the advice of these individual can help relieve the stress and they can potentially give you valuable feedback on how to deal with each circumstance.
- Focus on the bigger picture, not the small minutia. All of us should have a short-term and longer-term career plan. In dealing with ongoing workplace issues, always ask yourself, how does this fit in with my career and life plan? Don’t loose sight of your longer-terms goals.
- Learn to let go. We cannot control outcomes! We can control our ability to let go and not sweat the small stuff. Most importantly, always maintain the ability to laugh at yourself.
- Exercise regularly. Find passion outside of work for some form of exercise. Get your heart rate up! Sweat! It’s good for the soul and leads to not only physical health, but emotional health as well.