Work Stress? It's a State of Mind

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Unhappy at work? Change your attitude. It can make all the difference. Take an average weekday and measure the number of hours you’re awake. If you’re a working woman, the majority of them are probably spent in the office. And if that environment is an unhappy one, you’re probably going home in a bad mood, which means your family and friends are suffering too.

It may be that events at work conspire against you – but it’s how you respond to them that makes all the difference. It all comes down to attitude. Each of our attitudes is like a pebble thrown into the still waters of the pond, creating a ripple effect all around us. If you come to work with a smile on your face and a ‘can do’ ripple around you, everyone you come into contact with – be it face to face, on the phone, or merely passing by their desk – floats on a bit by your ripple.

Avoid Negative Energy

However, if you walk in still boiling with road rage, you’re going to be sharing that negative energy with everyone around you. Imagine you’re making tea and telling a colleague how some idiot cut you off in the traffic this morning. It reminds her of the moron who stole her parking spot yesterday and the irritation she felt then, resurfaces. Other colleagues join you and soon you’re all swapping bad traffic moments. And so it snowballs.

Everyone leaves work feeling emotionally drained. The ripple in the pond has grown to a tidal wave. Of course, it may be that you are a positive person and already make the effort to enjoy every moment of every day but that your colleagues are always glum, the kind of people known as ‘energy suckers’. If you’re unable to infect them with your brand of positive energy, perhaps it’s time to change jobs. Get a new address. Hang around with more positive people. Start reading books that contain messages of hope, courage and happiness. Look for stories about people who’ve made a positive impact on the lives of others.

If you stop participating in petty office gossip, people will stop coming to you with it. If someone complains to you about a fellow co-worker and you say ‘lets go talk to him about it’, people will realize you won’t talk about them behind their backs. Feelings of trust, integrity and respect become common ground.

Manage your Choices

It all comes down to choice. If you can manage your choices the way you manage your time, you’ll have better control over stress. If you choose to be miserable, you will be, and so will everyone around you. Stress levels will rise. If you choose to work long hours at the expense of your family, friends and leisure time, you’ll start resenting being at the office and your resentment will spill over into all areas of your life. We need to ignore the phone, realize we can’t do it all and delegate or dump. We’re constantly grabbing ‘urgent’ at the expense of ‘important’. We get caught up in making a living and forget about designing a life.

That’s not to say we should leap on the sofa and stagnate. Somewhere between working all hours and dozing off, lies the ideal middle way – that of investing in yourself.

Personal growth is as important in combating stress as getting enough sleep. Learning a new skill gives you confidence and opens up new opportunities. You can do anything you set your heart on – it takes determination and discipline and it takes not listening to the people who would like to see you fail. Don’t waste today and don’t ever give up.

About the Author:

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at

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