Coping with stress: Workplace tipsJob stress can be all-consuming — but it doesn't have to be. Address your triggers, keep perspective and know when to seek help.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
The workplace is a likely source of stress — but you're not powerless to the effects of stress at work. Effectively coping with job stress can benefit both your professional and personal life. Here's help taking charge.
Identify your stress triggers
Your personality, experiences and other unique characteristics all influence the way you respond to and cope with stress. Situations and events that are distressing for your colleagues might not bother you in the least — or you might be particularly sensitive to certain stressors that don't seem to faze other people.
To begin coping with stress at work, identify your stress triggers.
For a week or two, record the situations, events and people who cause you to have a negative physical, mental or emotional response. Include a brief description of each situation, such as:
- Where were you?
- Who was involved?
- What was your reaction?
- How did you feel?
Then evaluate your stress inventory. You might find obvious causes of stress, such as the threat of losing your job or obstacles with a particular project. You might also notice subtle but persistent causes of stress, such as a long commute or an uncomfortable workspace.
Tackle your stress triggers
Once you've identified your stress triggers, consider each situation or event and look for ways to resolve it.
Suppose, for instance, that you're behind at work because you leave early to pick up your son from school. You might check with other parents or neighbors about an after-school carpool. Or you might begin work earlier, shorten your lunch hour or take work home to catch up in the evening.
Often, the best way to cope with stress is to find a way to change the circumstances that are causing it.
May 25, 2013
See more In-depth
- Hay EL, et al. Reactivity to daily stressors in adulthood: The importance of stressor type in characterizing risk factors. Psychology and Aging. 2010;25:118.
- McIntosh E, et al. Rumination, goal linking, daily hassles and life events in major depression Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy. 2010;17:33.
- O'Connor DB, et al. Exploring the benefits of conscientiousness: An investigation of the role of daily stressors and health behaviors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2009;37:184.
- Stress...at work. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/. Accessed Feb. 18, 2013.
- Mind/body health: Job stress. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/job-stress.aspx. Accessed Feb. 18, 2013.
- Stress at work: Tips to reduce and manage job and workplace stress. HelpGuide.org. http://helpguide.org/mental/work_stress_management.htm. Accessed Feb. 18, 2013.
- Mazzola JJ, et al. What qualitative research has taught us about occupational stress. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress. 2011;27:93.
- Seaward BL. Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being. 7th ed. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Publishers; 2012:243.