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stress management in workplace - General

Can you define "workplace stress"?

We hear a lot of stress, but what is it? Dictionary of Medicine Flammarion described stress as "word for both any tension or aggression exerted against the body, and non-specific response or reaction of the body to the attack." In other words, the stress is the result of any emotional, physical, social, economic or other that requires a response or change. It is generally accepted that a little stress is acceptable (that is referred to as "challenge" or "positive stress"), but when it occurs with a strength that you can not control, it may occur changes in both mental and physical.
The "Stress in the workplace" is then the harmful physical and emotional responses that can occur when there is a conflict between the demands related to the employee's work and the degree of control an employee has to meet these applications. In general, the combination of high demands in a job and a low degree of control over the situation can lead to stress.
Stress in the workplace can come from many sources or a single event. It may have an impact on both the employees and the employers. As pointed out by the Canadian Association for Mental Health
"The fear associated with excess staff, layoffs due to an uncertain economy and increased overtime, after downsizing requests, act as negative stressors. Employees who feel "pressure to excel" can get caught in a downward spiral of increasing efforts to meet high expectations without obtaining greater job satisfaction. The determination to yield to its maximum done much harm, p. ex. job dissatisfaction, staff turnover, lower efficiency, disease and even death. Absenteeism, illness, alcoholism, "petty internal politics," bad decisions or decisions in haste, indifference and apathy, lack of motivation or creativity are all by-products a workplace too stressful. "
(From the article "Sources of Workplace Stress" of the Canadian Association for Mental Health. Richmond, British Columbia)

stress management in workplace
stress management in workplace

stress management in workplace - General

 stress management in workplace - General 


I heard that stress can be both good and bad. Is this true?

It is normal to experience some stress. This is often what gives us the energy and motivation we need to meet our daily challenges at home and at work. This kind of stress helps you overcome difficulties and achieve your goals in some situations such as deadlines, sales, production targets or the need to find new customers. Some people do not consider this stress, given the sense of satisfaction and happiness to have met the challenge. However, as is often the case, too much stress can have a negative impact. When the feeling of satisfaction turns into exhaustion, frustration or dissatisfaction, or when the challenges at work become too demanding, we begin to see the negative signs of stress.

What are examples of sources of stress in the workplace?

In the workplace, stress can be the result of a number of situations. Here are some examples:
Categories of professional constraints Examples of sources of stress
Factors unique to the job
  • workload (overload and underload)
  • pace / variety / work with no sense
  • autonomy (eg. ability to make their own decisions about their own job or specific tasks)
  • Shift work / work schedule
  • skills / abilities do not match the job requirements
  • lack of training or preparation (technical and social)
  • lack of recognition
  • physical environment (noise, air quality, etc.).
  • isolation at work (emotional or working alone)
Role in the organization
  • role conflict (conflicting claims relating to employment, many supervisors / managers)
  • role ambiguity (lack of transparency about the responsibilities, expectations, etc.).
  • level of responsibility
Professional Development
  • no chance of promotion / promotion too
  • job security (fear of excess staff, either because of the economy or lack of work)
  • professional development opportunities
  • satisfaction related to employment in general
Relationships at work (interpersonal)
  • supervisors (conflicts or lack of support)
  • colleagues (conflicts or lack of support)
  • subordinate
  • threats of violence, harassment, etc.. (Threat to personal safety)
  • lack of confidence
  • lack of systems to work for reporting and managing unacceptable behavior
Structure / organizational climate
  • participation (or non-participation) in the decision-making
  • management style
  • communication habits (bad communication or transmission of information)
  • lack of systems to work to address the concerns
  • lack of soliciting employee participation when undertaking organizational changes
  • lack of perceived fairness (who gets what, and when, decision-making). The sense of injustice amplifies the health effects of perceived stress
Work-life balance
  • conflicts related to the roles and responsibilities
  • exposure to occupational hazards family
Adaptation of the article "Occupational Stress Management: Current Status and Future Trends in Management in Organizational Behavior", LR Murphy, 1995, Vol 2, pp. 1-14), and the article "Managing the causes of work-related stress : A step-by-step approach using the Management Standards ", 2007, (UK Health & Safety Executive) HSE.

stress management in workplace - General

 stress management in workplace - General 

Can stress affect health? 

stress management in workplace
Yes, stress can affect your overall health. Our bodies are designed such that they are pre-programmed if you prefer, with automated responses to deal with stressful situations. This system is very effective responses "fight or flight" response in the short term we need when we face an immediate danger. The problem is that our body reacts to all kinds of stress in the same way. The fact that undergo stress for long periods of time (such as low job strain, but constant) activates the system, without having the chance to stop. The pre-programmed body response to stress, or "generalized stress response" includes the following:
  • increase in blood pressure;
  • increased metabolism (eg, faster heartbeat, faster breathing.)
  • decrease in protein synthesis, intestinal movement (digestion) of the immune system and allergic reactions;
  • increased cholesterol and fatty acids in the blood for energy production systems;
  • localized inflammation (redness, swelling, heat and pain);
  • faster blood clotting;
  • increased production of glucose for energy;
  • increase heartburn.
Excerpt "Basic Certification Training Program: Participant's Manual" Copyright © 2006, the Workplace Safety and Insurance against Accidents at Work Ontario.
Stress can contribute to accidents or injury resulting in an individual:
  • sleep disorders;
  • a tendency to over-medication or alcohol abuse;
  • of depression;
  • of anxiety, agitation or nervousness;
  • anger and reckless behavior (often due to a sense of unfairness or injustice).
When a person takes such behavior or is such emotional states, it is more likely:
  • become momentarily distracted (but dangerous);
  • make errors of judgment;
  • to submit his body to the influence of physical stress and increasing the potential for strains or sprains;
  • fail in performing activities requiring hand-eye coordination and hand-foot.
Stress can also lead directly to an accident or injury when you do not give a person the authority to allow him to remove the threat that threatens the physical well-being.
Fortunately, there are usually warning signs to indicate that you have difficulty coping with stressful situations before more serious signs make their appearance. These signs are listed below.

stress management in workplace - General

 stress management in workplace - General 

How do I know if a person (it could be me) has difficulty in coping with stress?

Many different signs and symptoms may indicate if a person is struggling to cope with the stress they are experiencing.
Physical signs: headache, teeth grinding, clenched jaws, chest pain, shortness of breath, rushed heartbeat, high blood pressure, muscle aches, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, increased sweating, fatigue, insomnia, frequent illness
Psychological signs: anxiety, irritability, sadness, defensiveness, anger, mood swings, hypersensitivity, apathy, depression, slowed thinking or racing thoughts, distress, despair or feel stuck.
Cognitive signs: decreased attention, decreased perception, tend to forget less effective reasoning, decreased ability to solve problems, reduced learning ability, tend to be distracted.
Behavioural signs: anorexia or bulimia, impatience, quickness to argue, procrastination, increased alcohol or drug consumption, increased consumption of cigarettes, isolation from others, neglect of responsibilities, poor performance, poor personal hygiene, change in religious practices, changes in family relationships.
Here is a questionnaire prepared by the Canadian Mental Health Association of Ontario that you can fill out to determine your level of stress:
To neglect your diet?

Trying to do everything by yourself?

Lose control easily?

You set unrealistic goals?

Not see the humor in situations others find funny?

Being rude (e)?

To make "mountains" with everything?

To wait for others to act on your behalf?

Having trouble making decisions?

To lament your lack of organization?

Avoid people whose ideas differ from yours?

Keep everything inside of you?

Neglecting to exercise?

Having little meaningful relationships?

Taking sleeping pills and tranquilizers without the approval of your doctor?

Not sleeping enough?

To get angry when you actually expect?

To ignore your symptoms of stress?

Of postponing what you do?

To think that there is only one way of doing things?

Neglecting to provide a relaxing time in the day?

Of gossip?

To run left and right all day?

To spend endless time to get back on your past misfortunes?

Not trying to get away from the noise and crowds?

Amending Article What is Your Stress Index? Canadian Mental Health Association (undated).
Interpretation of your results (depending on the number of "yes"):
0-5: There is little hassle in your life. Just be sure not to be deliberately trying to avoid the problems.
6-10: You have over your life reasonable fluency. Work on the choices and habits that could cause unnecessary stress in your life.
11-15: You are approaching the danger zone. You may have symptoms related to stress and relationships could be strained. Think carefully about the choices you have made and give yourself a break to relax every day.
16-25: Help! It is essential that you take time out to review your approach to life, adopt a different attitude and pay attention to your diet, your activity level and your relaxation.

stress management in workplace - General

 stress management in workplace - General 

These signs or symptoms they produce all at the same time and what kind of help can I get?

stress management in workplace
Usually, no. The signs and symptoms of stress tend to go through several phases or stages. These phases can be described as follows:
Phase Signs / symptoms Measure
Phase 1 - Warning
The first signs are often more emotional than physical. It may take a year or more before they take notice.
  • vague state of anxiety
  • trough
  • boredom
  • apathy
  • emotional exhaustion
  • talk about his feelings
  • take a break
  • changing activities
  • taking time
Phase 2 - Mild Symptoms
The warning signs were up and they are more intense. Between 6 and 18 months, physical signs may appear.
  • sleep disturbances
  • headaches / colds more frequent
  • muscle aches
  • greater physical or emotional fatigue
  • withdrawal from contact with other
  • irritability
  • depression intensified
  • it may be necessary to change his lifestyle more dramatically
  • short-term counseling
Phase 3 - Deep Cumulative Stress
This phase occurs when the above symptoms continue to be ignored. Stress begins to create a deeper impact on career, family life and personal well-being.
  • Increasing the alcohol, cigarettes, prescription drugs
  • trough
  • physical and emotional fatigue
  • loss of sexual appetite
  • ulcers
  • marital disagreements
  • crying
  • intense anxiety
  • rigid thinking
  • revocation
  • nervousness
  • insomnia
The assistance of health professionals and psychologists is highly recommended.
Phase 4 - Grave / cumulative and debilitating stress reaction
This phase is often considered self-destructive. It usually occurs after a period of 5 to 10 years of continuous stress.
  • premature end career
  • Asthma
  • heart diseases
  • severe depression
  • decreased self-esteem / confidence
  • inability to work
  • inability to manage his personal life
  • revocation
  • anger, grief, rage uncontrolled
  • homicidal ideation or suicide
  • muscle tremors
  • extreme chronic fatigue
  • reaction to minor events
  • agitation
  • frequent accidents
Significant professional intervention.
Excerpt from the article "The High Cost of Caring: Coping with Workplace Stress in Sharing." BL Anschuetz, Epilepsy Ontario. Published on 29 November 1999.

stress management in workplace - General

 stress management in workplace - General 

What general advice would you give to deal with stress in the workplace?

The causes of stress in the workplace vary considerably as diverse strategies to reduce or prevent them.
When the stress in the workplace comes, for example, a physical agent, it is best to check the source. If the workplace is too noisy, you must implement control measures to eliminate the noise as soon as possible. If you are experiencing pain from repetitive strain, it is possible to design workstations to reduce repetitive and strenuous movements. You can find detailed information and suggestions in many other OSH Answers documents (eg. The noise , the ergonomics , the violence in the workplace , etc..) or by contacting the Information Service .
Job design is also an important factor. Good job design meets the mental and physical capabilities of the employee. In general, the following guidelines on the design tasks help to minimize or cope with stress in the workplace:
  • employment must have reasonable requirements (not based on "pure endurance) and provide the employee with a certain variety of tasks;
  • the employee must learn to work and have the opportunity to continue to improve as his career progresses;
  • employment must give the person the opportunity to make decisions in certain areas;
  • the employee must feel that the offer of employment beautiful future.

What can an employer do to help employees?

Employers must evaluate the workplace to detect the risk of stress. Be aware of the pressures at work that could cause high levels of stress for long periods of time, people vulnerable to these pressures.
Employers can prevent stress in many ways:
  • Treat all employees fairly and respectfully.
  • Take stress seriously and be understanding with employees who suffer too much pressure.
  • Knowing the signs and symptoms that indicate a person is having difficulty managing stress.
  • Involve employees in decisions and encourage them to express themselves directly or through a committee, etc..
  • Encourage managers to be empathetic and to be proactive in seeking to identify signs of stress among staff.
  • Institute wellness programs and occupational health that target the real source of stress. Stress at work can have many causes: safety, ergonomics, job requirements, etc.. Ask employees to help identify the real cause.
  • Integrating stress prevention or the promotion of mental health positive your policy or your statement of organizational mission.
  • Ensure that employees are properly trained and that they have the skills and resources.
  • Designing jobs so that the workload is balanced. Allow employees the greatest possible control over the tasks.
  • Enhance and highlight the results and individual skills.
  • Provide support. Be clear with regard to work-related expectations.
  • Maintain requirements establishing reasonable working time and hours of work realistic, clearly defining the tasks and offering interesting and varied tasks.
  • Provide assistance programs (EAP) for those who wish to participate.
  • Do not tolerate bullying or harassment in all its forms.
  • Do not ignore the signs that employees are under pressure or feel stressed.
  • Do not forget that the characteristics of the workplace may in itself be a source of stress. The courses stress management and counseling can be of great help to employees, it is important to find the source of stress and address the problem as quickly as possible.

Can I do something to help me cope with the stress I suffered at work?

In many cases, the cause of stress can not be changed immediately. It is therefore essential to find ways to maintain good mental health. There are several ways to be proactive in dealing with stressful situations. At work, you can try some of the tips suggested by the Canadian Association for the following Mental Health
"Learn to relax, take several deep breaths during the day or have regular stretch breaks. Stretching is simple exercises can be done anywhere and only takes a few seconds.
Take charge of your situation by spending 10 minutes at the beginning of the day to prioritize and organize your day. Be honest with your colleagues, but be constructive and make practical suggestions. Be realistic about what you can change. "
Excerpt from the article "Sources of Workplace Stress" Canadian Mental Health Association, Richmond, British Columbia.

Will there any organizations that can help? *

Yes, there are several. Your family doctor can often recommend a professional. Among the examples include, among others, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or associations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the Canadian Centre for fight against alcoholism and Abuse (CCSA).
  • The EAP provides confidential, short-term employees whose problems affect their job performance counseling. The services EAP providers are often purchased by your company. Check with your human resources department (or equivalent) for the contact person.
  • The CMHA offers programs to help people with mental health is threatened to find the help they need to cope with crises, regain confidence and resume their activities in the community, family and work .
  • The FCTC promotes serious discussion about substance abuse problems and disseminates information in this regard, it helps organizations involved in drug treatment, prevention and education programs.
(* We have mentioned these organizations as a handy reference later. Contact them directly for more information about their services. Note the mention of these organizations does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement by CCOHS to d other organizations you may know.)
For more information on mental health, please see the OSH Answers documents the following:
  • Mental Health - Introduction
  • Mental Health - Psychosocial risk factors at work
  • Mental health at work

What can I do to improve my mental health?

stress management in workplace
Good mental health helps achieve balance and better manage stressful times.
Ten general tips for mental health
1. believe in yourself determine your strengths and weaknesses, accept them, build on them and do your best with what you have.
2. eat well, keep fit a balanced diet, exercise and rest can help you reduce stress and enjoy life.
3. make time for family and friends we need to maintain these relationships, if we lack respect towards them, they will not be there to share our joys and sorrows.
4. offer assistance and accept support relations with our friends and our family members are when they are "put to the test."
5. establish a sensible budget financial problems are a source of stress. Often we spend on "wants" rather than things "necessary".
6. are volunteering participate in community gives a clear sense of purpose, and we derive a satisfaction that paid work can not.
7. manage stress we all have stressors in our lives, but we must learn to overcome in order to keep our sanity.
8. find strength in numbers the fact of sharing a problem with people who have similar experiences can help you find a solution and make you feel less isolated.
9. Log your moods and make them face we all need to find safe and constructive ways to express our anger, our pain, our joy and fear.
10. be at peace with yourself get to know you, to know what makes you really happy, and find a balance between what you can change in yourself and what you can not change.
Source: Canadian Mental Health Association - National Office

stress management in workplace
Here are some additional tips for mental fitness:
  • Give yourself permission to take a break from your worries and concerns. It is important to spend even a moment every day to your mental fitness to reap significant benefits, such as the fact of finding a new life and feel more confident.
  • "Collect" positive moments: do you have a duty to remember moments of pleasure, comfort, tenderness, trust and other positive feelings.
  • Do one thing at a time: be present here and now, whether walking or with your friends, turn off your cell phone and forget your mental list of things "to do."
  • Cultivate hobbies: practicing a hobby creates balance in your life by allowing you to do something you love because you feel like it.
  • Make your personal goals: your goals do not have to be ambitious. You might just decide to finish reading a book, going for a walk in your neighborhood every day, learn to play bridge or call a friend rather than waiting by the phone. Whatever your goals, the fact that you will achieve confidence, and will bring a sense of satisfaction.
  • Express yourself: whether in a personal journal or face a wall, express yourself after a stressful day can help you to adopt a different perspective, to release tension and increase your body's resistance against disease.
  • Laugh: sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. Even better, share the fun things or laugh with someone you know.
  • Treat yourself with care: Take time for yourself, whether it is to enjoy a good meal, take a hot bath or watch a movie, do something that makes you happy.

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 stress management in workplace
stress management in workplace
stress management in workplace 

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