Learn about stress management: 1. Ways to Reduce Stress 2. Strategies for Stress Management 3. Viewpoints 4. Approaches 5. Techniques 6. Methods.
Some of the ways to reduce stress are: 1. Time Management 2. Prioritize tasks 3. Relax and breathe deeply 4. Take more breaks from your work 5. Delegate responsibility 6. Get more sleep 7. Spend more time with optimistic people 8. Practice effective communication 9. Develop good working relationships 10. Exercise regularly 11. Eat healthy foods.
Some of the strategies for stress management are: 1. Support Groups 2. Role Management 3. Organizational Coping Strategies 4. Institutional Programmes 5. Collateral Programmes.
Some of the viewpoints to reduce and manage stress are: 1. Learning Organisation 2. Understanding Ourself 3. Constructive Dialogue 4. Defuse Feeling of Conflict 5. Working Out Priorities 6. Handling Stress Positively 7. Learning to Relax 8. Value Based Life Style 9. Coordination Between Individual and Group 10. Putting Together 11. Thinking Positively 12. Frame Out Value Based Education.
Some of the approaches to manage stress are: 1. Maintain Good Physical Health 2. Practising Relaxation 3. Developing a Psychological Support System 4. Physical and Pysochological Withdrawal 5. Accepting Your Mistakes 6. Developing Positive Attitude Towards Life 6. Individual Approach 7. Organizational Approach.
Some of the techniques for stress management are: 1. Stress Diary- Finding Your Optimum Stress Levels 2. Psyching Up- Raising Stress Levels to Improve Performance 3. Anticipating Stress- Managing Stress by Preparing for it 4. Get a Hobby, Relax and have Fun- Talk with Friends or Someone You Can Trust about Your Worries/Problems.
Some of the methods for stress management are: 1.Functional/ Adaptive Method 2. Dysfunctional/ Maladaptive Methods.
Stress Management: Ways, Approaches, Techniques, Methods and Strategies
Stress Management – Top 11 Ways to Reduce Stress
Following are the some of the ways in which stress can be reduced:
1. Time Management – One should manage his time properly. He should avoid setting unrealistic goals. Preparation of to do list helps managing time effectively. One should also note that he should not accept responsibilities over and above his capacity.
3. Relax and breathe deeply – Our body cannot maintain the same level of energy without that extra oxygen. Therefore, it is necessary to breathe deeply to get extra oxygen. This releases considerable amount of stress.
4. Take more breaks from your work – Working continuously, without break causes monotony, boredom and stress. Therefore, taking break in between helps us to relax, break monotony and reduce stress. One should get away from the desk and move out for few minutes and resume work.
5. Delegate responsibility – Management is all about getting things done by others. One should learn the art of delegation of responsibilities to others. If the task is properly distributed to the capable persons in the organisation, the considerable amount of stress can be reduced.
6. Get more sleep – Stress causes due to lack of sleep also. One should take enough sleep in order to stay fresh and fit to work the next day. Taking proper sleep increases energy level and ability to concentrate.
7. Spend more time with optimistic people – It is necessary to have a company of people with positive attitude. Negative people will create negative thoughts, leading to a stressful situation. One should always think positively to gain positive energies. Business is not always smooth. It may face ups and down. Keeping our mind calm and cool is essential during such situations. To be cool and calm, it requires that one should practice positive attitude.
8. Practice effective communication – Communication is essential for preventing tensions. One should communicate in the language of the receiver. He should be good in both verbal and non-verbal communication. He should also pay attention to co-workers’ gestures, tone of voice and posture.
9. Develop good working relationships – Trust, respect, understanding and compassion are necessary in any relationship. Co-workers have to function as a team and reach a common goal. But they often focus all their attention on their tasks and very little on how they treat each other. Good work relationships will relieve stress. One should spend little time with co-workers to improve interpersonal relationship.
10. Exercise regularly – Aerobic exercise, such as walking and swimming, produces brain chemicals that uplift your mood and mental well-being. Exercise also improves sleep and gives you time to think and focus on other things.
Stress Management – Top 8 Strategies: Time Management, Support Groups, Role Management, Relaxation and a Few Others
There is no challenge without stress. It is a state of mind that drives individuals to take on difficult situations. The tendency to give up in difficult situations would make life too easy, uncomplicated, and boring. As such one will not even succeed in doing what one is easily capable of, because even the normal faculties, capabilities, and energy will not come into play if he/she remained inattentive and unfocused, even at the last minute.
There are two ways of managing stress. The first is that one should not allow stress to develop to the extent that one becomes non-functional. The second, is to develop a mechanism to get back to normal as quickly as one can and not to continue in a state of stress for too long.
Developing a positive attitude towards life by rational and logical thinking and realizing that one’s perceptions can often distort reality is essential to handling stress effectively. The situation may not be as bad as it may seem to be and failure is not an irreversible situation. It is not possible or even necessary to succeed all the time. One failed effort does not imply that the individual is no good.
Even world champions sometimes lose the first round of the match to an unseeded player. Marconi and Edison succeeded in their inventions after many failed attempts. They did not give up and learnt from their failures. They perceived failures as stepping stones to success.
One must understand that worry and anxiety do not improve a situation; on the contrary, they only disturb one’s peace of mind and impair one’s health. If one watches different passengers’ response to a delayed flight at an airport or the late departure of a train at railway stations, one notes that some of them remain relaxed and even sleep while others make continuous enquiries from officials about extent and causes of delays.
Such constant enquiries only irritate officials and do not help in any way whatsoever in expediting solutions. They as such multiply and add, not only to their own stress, but also of others.
Given that stress is widespread and so potentially disruptive in organizations, it follows that people and organizations should be concerned about how to manage it more effectively. And in fact they are. Many strategies have been developed to help manage stress in the workplace. Some are for individuals and others are geared toward organizations.
1. Time Management:
Time management is often recommended for managing stress. The idea is that many daily pressures can be eased or eliminated if a person does a better job of managing time. One popular approach to time management is to make a list every morning of the things to be done that day.
Then you group the items on the list into three categories – critical activities that must be performed, important activities that should be performed, and optional or trivial things that can be delegated or postponed. Then, of course, you do the things on the list in their order of importance.
This strategy helps people get more of the important things done every day. It also encourages delegation of less important activities to others. The Talking Technology box illustrates how managers can better manage their time by using their cellular telephones more selectively.
The organization’s culture also can be used to help manager stress. In some organizations, For example, there is a strong norm against taking time off or going on vacation. In the long run, such norms can cause major stress. Thus, the organization should strive to foster a culture that reinforces a healthy mix of work and non-work activities.
2. Support Groups:
A final method for managing stress is to develop and maintain support groups. A support group is simply a group of family members or friends with whom a person can spend time. Going out after work with a couple of co-workers to a basketball game, For example, can help relieve the stress that builds up during the day. Supportive family and friends can help people deal with normal stress on an on-going basis.
Support groups can be particularly useful during times of crisis. For example, suppose an employee has just learned that she did not get the promotion she has been working toward for months. It may help her tremendously if she had good friends to lean on, be it to talk to or to yell at.
3. Role Management:
Somewhat related to time management is the idea of role management, in which the individual actively works to avoid overload, ambiguity, and conflict. For example, if you do not know what is expected of you, you should not sit and worry about it. Instead, ask for clarification from your boss.
Another role management strategy is to learn to say ‘no’. As simple as saying ‘no’ might sound, a lot of people create problems for themselves by always saying ‘yes’. Besides working in their regular jobs, they agree to serve on committees, volunteer for extra duties, and accept extra assignments.
Sometimes, of course, we have no choice but to accept an extra obligation (if our boss tells us to complete a new project, we will probably have to do it). In many cases, however, saying ‘no’ is an option.
A related method of managing stress is relaxation. Proper relaxation is an effective way to adapt. Relaxation can take many forms. One way to relax is to take regular vacations. A recent study found that people’s attitudes towards a variety of workplace characteristics improved significantly following a vacation.
People can also relax while on the job. For example, it has been recommended that people take regular rest breaks during their normal workday. A popular way of resting is to sit quietly with closed eyes for ten minutes every afternoon. (Of course, it might be necessary to have an alarm clock handy!).
5. Organizational Coping Strategies:
Organizations are also increasingly realizing that they should be involved in managing their employees’ stress. There are two different rationales for this view. One is that because the organization is at least partly responsible for creating the stress, it should help relieve it. The other is that workers experiencing lower levels of harmful stress will function more effectively. Two basic organizational strategies for helping employees manage stress are institutional programmes and collateral programmes.
Many firms today also have employee fitness programmes. These programmes attack stress indirectly by encouraging employees to exercise, which is presumed to reduce stress. On the negative side, this kind of effort costs considerably more than stress management programmes, because the firm must invest in physical facilities. Still, more and more companies are exploring this option. Both Tenneco and L.L. Bean, For example, have state-of-the-art fitness centres for their employees.
6. Institutional Programmes:
Institutional programmes for managing stress are under taken through established organizational mechanisms. For example, properly designed jobs and work schedules can help ease stress. Shift work, in particular, can cause major problems for employees, because they constantly have to adjust their sleep and relaxation patterns. Thus, the design of work and work schedules should be a focus of organizational efforts to reduce stress.
Finally, supervision can play an important institutional role in managing stress. A supervisor can be a major source of overload. If made aware of their potential for assigning stressful amounts of work, supervisors can do a better job of keeping workloads reasonable.
Exercise is one method of managing stress. People who exercise regularly are less likely to have heart attacks than inactive people. More directly, research has suggested that people who exercise regularly feel less tension and stress, are more self-confident, and show greater optimism. People who do not exercise regularly feel more stress, are more likely to be depressed, and experience other negative consequences.
8. Collateral Programmes:
In addition to institutional efforts aimed at reducing stress, many organizations are turning to collateral programmes. A collateral stress programme is an organizational programme specifically created to help employees deal with stress. Organizations have adopted stress management programmes, health promotion programmes, and other kinds of programmes for this purpose.
More and more companies are developing their own programmes or adopting existing programmes of this type. For example, Lockheed Martin offers screening programmes for its employees to detect signs of hypertension. The Mastering Change box provides other examples.
Finally, organizations try to help employees cope with stress through other kinds of programmes. For example, existing career development programmes, like the one at General Electric, are used for this purpose. Other companies use programmes promoting everything from humour to massage as antidotes for stress.
Of course, little or no research supports some of the claims made by advocates of these programmes. Thus, managers must take steps to ensure that any organizational effort to help employees cope with stress is at least reasonably effective.
Stress Management – Various Viewpoints to Reduce and Manage Stress
Within comprehensive social scenario, we the people are living as individual and/or group level. We can analyse to overcome the problematic as well as stressful situations through some amicable and trustful behaviour.
As such, in order to reduce as well as to manage the stress, some basic viewpoints are stated here:
We must ensure that our society as a whole is a comprehensive learning organisation. Every part and events of it are creating the new avenues of learning scenario. So every person should develop their knowledge, learning attitudes, education, mental and physical skills and efficiency to overcome the stressful situations.
Try to understand ourself and evaluate our own weaknesses, mistakes, challenges and different limitations. Determine some beliefs, thoughts, perceptions and actions by which we may create new possibilities to overcome the mistakable part at our stage.
With the best intentions, more focus may be given on our targets and concentration on creating constructive dialogue will examine the ways and means to understand the feeling of different persons.
To find the causes of a problem and learn from your mistakes, rather than acting defensively. Try to defuse feelings of conflict and anger among persons at amicable and balancing way.
At individual and group level, there is a need to list out the short and long term goals and tasks and then arrange them in priority order. Also try to identify and evaluate different conflicts and problems arising on priority basis between individual and groups. Here, each task must be involved in successful completion with planned, time tested, balancing form.
In the society every person should know and analyse the causes of threats and anxiety. We can analyse deeply the reasons for procrastination with chronic anxiety and face them squarely. Here, in order to handle the conflict as well as stressful situation, it is of utmost need to create some positive attitudes and look forward for amicable ways.
Relaxation is a technique that can easily be learned. Take time out to enjoy a regular period of relaxation in our busy daily routine. For getting relaxation, the process may be as to create comfortable position, concentrate our inner attention, deep relax to our muscles and follow the applicable meditation and body exercises etc.
It is needful to create and develop the systematic, logical and scientific values to make purity, loyalty, integrity and perfections in our life. Every part and process of our life styles may be governed by some logical values.
In order to overcome the conflicts and to reduce the stress, it is needful to make adequate coordination between ‘individual’ and ‘group’. For it, a social system may be developed by integrated relations, informality, effective communication, team spirit, loyalty, self-control, goal oriented and emotional attitudes.
In the society, our life is like a jigsaw. It is made up of different segments. We must be ensured that we make a determined time for our life with family relationship, friends circles, work place performance, leisure time and self-improvement and began to focus on our life as a whole.
Within our day to day life scenario, we make sure to do at least one thing every day and every time to think positively. Start the work with priorities, planned and hopeful views so that these situations makes the consciousness be positive and most applicable to avoid stress as well as to achieve goals.
The morale and value based education is based on the acceptance of the psychological belief that man’s actions are goal oriented. In order to create a right kind of conduct, behaviour and character, the morale and value based learning and education system must be introduced. All true education gives us right type of beliefs, appropriate motives, positive thinking, noble approaches, stability of emotions, proper attitudes and a strong and righteous will.
Within the purview of human life, the inspirations and creativity for designing a new and cheerful life is necessary which are based on emotional uplifted grounds. Every person basically a human being need to develop and recognise some motives.
In our society every person has some conflicts as well as stress which directly or indirectly affects him at his life style. An emotional intelligence creates and recognise the aspects of self-motivational process of a person. It emphasise that the persons must be motivated through their perceptions, views, feelings, desires and emotions etc.
Moreover, every person should recognise and learn different motives, feelings and desires of each other and try to develop a balancing form of these motives of different persons at a particular platform. The balancing form may be able to overcome the stressful situations by virtue of intelligences.
As such, the emotional intelligence is a part of motivational aspect. In that a balancing form of mental preparedness to achieve a cheerful life is being included.
The steps in this process may be includes as given here:
1. To recognise the self-motives and another motive also,
2. To balance our mental set up to face the situations, as arising by stressful situations,
3. To analyse and evaluate our weaknesses which are essentially a part of our life style,
4. To analyse and evaluate the achievements and desired results of individual and group,
5. To create more productive to act with poise and determination, rather than to act out of fear or anger,
6. To analyse and evaluate our weaknesses and challenging part within our working performance,
7. To create and develop the value based thoughts, concepts and ideologies for the betterment of perspective life style,
8. To analyse and evaluate the creativity, inspirations and motivational aspects to develop the emotional feelings and thoughts of persons,
9. To recognise and praise others’ performance, success and achievement,
10. To continue the learning attitudes and eagerness at every part of our life,
11. To make a mental balance with emotional perfection to learn, analyse and overcome the stressful situation in society,
12. To develop a spirit of progressive renunciation in our life scenario.
Indian ethos especially Bhagwad Geeta provides a new insight for managing stress in society.
The concepts of ‘Geeta’ in this context are given here:
1. Keeping in view all the work performance and actions, the welfare of the society as a whole are considered here. The actions should be guided by enlightened collective interest and not by self-interest alone. The idea of ‘Yogakshema’ or taking care of people’s welfare may point out attention in this direction.
2. Positive thoughts and actions are an important lesson from Geeta. ‘Nishkam Karma’ or action without attachments to fruits to action is a pioneer idea in Geeta. The positive thoughts and actions are the key source of managing stress in human life.
3. Everyone should perform his/her duties and responsibilities in proper way. Geeta provides the concept of Swadharma. In that it was emphasised that one should perform the duties on the part of his responsiveness. ‘Swadharma’ refers to one’s inherent nature and mental orientation and performance of duty as per one’s nature and natural indications.
4. Geeta also emphasise that the purity and cleanliness are also some decisional viewpoints to raise the most applicable values for ethical norms. These are the basements to make the stress less environment.
5. Within the purview of Geeta, it was emphasised that the devotion and discipline can create the dedicated working patterns. So, the dedication is needful to create better work environment as well as to manage the stress.
6. Indian ethos emphasise the conscious efforts towards developing better and healthy personality. It may overcome the anxiety and depression to reduce the stressful situations.
Stress Management – Effective Approaches to Manage Stress at Individual level
Individual level planning to manage stress focuses on developing individual behaviour that helps in the elimination of sources of stress. It helps in developing a perspective to view things that enables the person to cope with stress in a more effective manner.
Above all ‘can’ and ‘positive’ attitude matter the most in managing stress. It has been rightly said ‘They can because they think they can’.
Some effective approaches to managing stress are as follows:
Approach # 1. Maintaining Good Physical Health:
Regular physical exercises, such as aerobics, walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc., help in dealing with excessive stress. Regular sleep, and timely and healthy eating habits also help the individual to tackle stress better.
Today, yoga is fast gaining popularity not only as a stress reliever, but also as an exercise that can balance the individual’s physical, psychological, and emotional being. These physical exercises help in building heart capacity, lowering the at-rest heart rate, providing mental diversion from work pressure, and offering a means to ‘let off steam’. While exercising, the body releases a hormone known as endomorphine that makes one feel good about the self.
Approach # 2. Practising Relaxation:
Techniques such as meditation, hypnosis, and bio-feedback reduce tension. As per Forbes and Pekala (1993), the objective of practising relaxation techniques is to feel physically relaxed, somewhat detached from the immediate environment and from body sensation.
Practising transcendental meditation, yoga, ego-void activity—an activity without the sense of doership such as voluntary work in an NGO or religious place, having faith in a higher power, reading, and practising spirituality can also reduce stress to considerable levels.
Approach # 3. Developing a Psychological Support System:
It helps in effectively managing stress. Similarly, expanding social support network and finding an emphatic listener to hear and suggest an objective and broader perspective about the problem situation is beneficial. If the issue is work related, then an organizational solution is required to help the individual.
Some of the strategies that the management may consider are scientific and involves improving personnel selection and placement process, training, realistic goal setting, redesigning jobs, increasing employee involvement, improving organizational communication, offering employees vacation allowances, extending sabbaticals, and setting up corporate employee welfare programme departments.
Approach # 4. Time Management:
It contributes a great deal in handling stress. The individual should firstly avoid the superhuman urge to do more than what he/she is capable of. They should learn to say ‘no’ to tasks that are beyond their capacities of time and energy.
Scheduling meetings and prioritizing tasks leads to the completion of tasks, both simple and complex, within a given time frame. However, the individual has to be disciplined and needs to stick to the daily, weekly, or monthly agenda so as to achieve the target goals. This not only reduces stress but also ensures that targets are met on time.
Approach # 5. Physical and Psychological Withdrawal:
Scheduling of activities has another advantage. The worker is able to keep some time away from the workplace to relax and be with oneself. This time may be spent in relaxation, with family and friends, recreational activities, hobbies, travelling, or simply introspecting.
Employees who keep some time aside to physically and psychologically withdraw from work- related responsibilities are able to tackle work with renewed vigour the next day. Annual vacations and weekly offs are ways in which organizations aid the worker in withdrawing from work. Apart from that, many companies organize vacations and picnics exclusively for their staff; not only to reward them for their year round hard work but also to entertain and rejuvenate them.
Approach # 6. Accepting Your Mistakes:
Mistakes are a part of human life and work. In fact an individual’s mistakes are stepping stones to success. An individual can avoid considerable amount of stress by avoiding egoistic behaviour and owning up to errors in actions and decisions, as and when applicable. The world need not be always as the individual expects it to be.
In an organization, employees may clash over technology, skills, methods, and knowledge. Excessive worry or adamant behaviour not only causes stress, but is also viewed by others as immature behaviour. An intelligent employee not only accepts mistakes but is also open and receptive to change.
This attitude is relevant to the top-level management as it is their openness to change that directs the organization towards new avenues. Hopeless cases are rare. One should never lose faith in the possibility of change.
Approach # 7. Developing a Positive Attitude towards Life:
Adopting a positive attitude towards life goes a long way in dealing with stress. It helps the individual to deal better with the problems of daily life. Positive orientation and attitude towards life bring optimism in responding to the situations and help in overcoming worry and anxiety.
Having a positive attitude helps us in seeing the bright side of life and expecting the best to happen. It is basically a state of mind worth developing as it prepares and enables us to handle, cope with, and manage stress. An individual should learn to enjoy life and recollect happy memories. One should understand that obsession with difficulties or indulging in self-pity does not help.
Stress Management – Top 5 Techniques
1. How to use tool- Keeping a stress diary is an effective way of finding out what causes you stress, the level of stress you prefer and your effectiveness under pressure. In this diary keep track of your stress levels and your feelings, everyday. In particular, note down stressful events.
Record the following information:
i. At a regular interval, for example every hour, record routine stress.
a. The time
b. The amount of stress that you feel (perhaps on a scale of 1 to 10)
c. How happy you feel
d. How efficiently you are working
ii. When stressful events occur, write down-
a. What the event was
b. When and where did it occur?
c. What important factors made the event stressful?
d. How stressful was the event?
e. How did you handle the event?
f. Did you tackle the cause or the symptom?
g. Did you deal with the stress correctly?
2. Analyzing the Diary- After a few weeks you should be able to analyze this information. It may be interesting as you carry out the analysis to note down the outcomes of the jobs you were doing when you were under stress.
This should give you two types of information:
i. You should be able to understand the level of stress you are happiest with and the level of stress at which you work most effectively. You may find that your performance is good even when you feel upset by stress.
ii. You should know what the main sources of unpleasant stress in your life are. You should understand what circumstances make stresses particularly unpleasant and should be able to see whether your strategies for handling the stresses are effective or not.
1. How to Use Tool- Where you are not feeling motivated towards a task, either because you are bored by it, or because you are tired, then you may need to ‘psych yourself up’. This will increase your arousal so that you can perform effectively.
You can try the following:
i. Focus on the importance or urgency of the task
ii. Set yourself a challenge, e.g., to do the job in a particular time or to do it to a particularly high standard
iii. Break job down into small parts, do each part between more enjoyable work and take satisfaction from the successful completion of each element.
iv. Use suggestion, e.g., ‘I can feel energy flowing into me’
v. Get angry about something!
1. How to use tool- By anticipating stress you can prepare for it and work out how to control it when it happens. You can do this in a number of ways:
By practicing for a stressful event such as an interview or a speech several times in advance you can polish your performance and build confidence.
By analyzing the likely causes of stress, you will be able to plan your responses to likely forms of stress. These might be actions to alleviate the situation or may be stress management techniques that you will use.
It is important that you formally plan for this – it is little use just worrying in an undisciplined way – this will be counterproductive. Formal planning of responses to stress is a technique used by top-level athletes to ensure that they respond effectively to the stresses of competition.
Where a situation is likely to be unpleasant and will not yield any benefit to you, it may be one you can just avoid. You should be certain in your own mind however, that this is the case and that you are not running away from problems.
When an event is important to you, this can make it very stressful. This is particularly true where you are operating at a high level, where many people are watching, or where there is the prospect of a large financial reward, of promotion, or of personal advancement. The presence of family, friends or important people can also add to pressure.
If stress is a problem under these circumstances, then think carefully about the event – take every opportunity to reduce its importance in your eyes:
a. If the event seems big, put it in its place along the path to your goals. Compare it in your mind with bigger events you might know of or might have attended.
b. If there is a financial reward, remind yourself that there may be other opportunities for reward later. This will not be the only chance you have. Focus on the quality of your performance. Focusing on the rewards will only damage your concentration and raise stress.
c. If members of your family are watching, remind yourself that they love you anyway. If friends are real friends, they will continue to like you whether you win or lose.
d. If people who are important to your goals are watching then remind yourself that you may well have other chances to impress them.
e. If you focus on the correct performance of your tasks, then the importance of the event will dwindle into the background.
v. Reducing Uncertainty:
Uncertainty can cause high levels of stress.
Causes of uncertainty can be:
a. Not having a clear idea of what the future holds
b. Not knowing where your organization will be going
c. Not having any career development plans
d. Not knowing what will be wanted from you in the future
e. Not knowing what your boss or colleagues think of your abilities
f. Receiving vague or inconsistent instructions
D. Get a Hobby, Relax and have Fun- Talk with Friends or Someone You Can Trust about Your Worries/Problems:
i. Learn to use your time wisely-
a. Evaluate how you are budgeting your time.
b. Plan ahead and avoid procrastination.
c. Make a weekly schedule and try to follow it.
ii. Set realistic goals and priorities
iii. Practice relaxation techniques. For example, whenever you feel tense, slowly breathe in and out for several minutes.
i. Meditation can also be a good effort to bring down the stress levels.
ii. Taking exercise
iii. Effective time Management
iv. Good Food and nutrition.
When we discuss Stress and its management, we should understand that this is not the exhaustive list of the stress factors and the various techniques. Stress can be confronted and reduced if and only if we understand ourselves better, analyze the behavior and identify the stressors. The stress management techniques will work if we are honest with ourselves and adopt the techniques in their fullest spirit.
Stress management is the amelioration of stress and especially chronic stress often for the purpose of improving everyday functioning.
Stress produces numerous symptoms which vary according to persons, situations and severity. These can include physical health decline as well as depression.
Stress Management – Top 2 Methods (Functional/Adaptive Methods and Dysfunctional/Maladaptive Methods)
Pressure is unavoidable and moderate levels of pressure are necessary for life. Stress management means adopting techniques that make creative use of pressure and not allowing it to take over our lives. There are two ways of coping with stress. The first one is a functional or adaptive method and the second is called the dysfunctional or maladaptive coping strategy.
1. Functional/ Adaptive Method:
These are the methods which make creative and intelligent use of environmental pressure. These are positive and affirmative responses to negative events. All the success stories are stories of people who made adversities, difficulties and humiliations to work wonders for them. They regard potentially stressful situations as challenges and opportunities to excel and win.
2. Dysfunctional/ Maladaptive Methods:
These are the negative and incorrect ways of coping with the stress. Taking to drugs, alcohol, attempting to use violence on others or on self, withdrawing into and isolating ourselves etc., are wrong methods of handling stress and reflect immaturity, lack of awareness about stress and life in general. These are self-defeating strategies. Similarly, coping strategies can be viewed as problem focused and emotion focused approaches.
(i) Problem Focused Approach – This approach is aimed at managing the problem and therefore, involves monitoring stress levels, identifying the resources available, planning, structuring and deploying them, improving social skills in order to gain increased social support and managing stressors through negotiation and improved communication.
(ii) Emotion Focused Approach – This approach aims at reducing distress. This kind of behaviour involves avoidance. This is ineffective and dangerous in long- term use leading to isolation etc.
There are numerous functional methods of managing stress.
They can be classified as follow:
1. Social – Visiting friends, going to movies, theatre, shows etc.
2. Emotional – Holding hands, hugging, laughing, weeping etc.
3. Personal – Washing, cleaning etc.
4. Physical – Jogging, body building, martial arts etc.
5. Aesthetic – Playing instruments, singing, painting, writing poetry or diary etc.
6. Spiritual – Meditation. Praying is the oldest and still the best method of handling stress. Spiritual methods connect us with our inner core and lead to happiness. They have lasting effect on our behaviour and heal us inwardly.
7. Cognitive/Psychological – Changing attitudes, values, thinking etc.
8. Behavioural – Learning assertive behaviour.
Stress Management – Individual and Organizational Stress Copying Strategies
Stress management includes coping strategies for managing stress both at individual level and at organizational level. Stress can be managed through planned efforts both at individual and organizational level.
1. Individual Stress Coping Strategies:
Individual coping strategies for stress management are reactive in nature or proactive in nature that depends upon individual.
It includes two methods:
(a) Drug therapy
(b) Non-drug therapy.
(a) Drug therapy is not recommended because stress has become inevitable part of life and using drugs continuously to deal with stress is not advantageous method. It has side effects also.
(b) Non drug method as a coping strategy is safer one and provides long term benefits without any side effects.
Following methods can be used:
i. Exercise and Physical activities – Physical exercises and activities are necessary to keep one’s body and mind in healthy state. One of the best physical exercise is walking or swimming. Emotional strength, confidence, enhanced self-esteem, relaxation are the results one can get from these activities to keep oneself stress free.
ii. Yoga and Meditation – Yoga and meditation are the methods that are used right from the ancient time. It includes various body postures and breathing exercises to keep an individual stress free. Meditation improves alertness of mind and provides relax to mind. It brings reactivity in thinking.
iii. Recreation – Recreation provides reduction in mental tension and stress by providing an opportunity to deviate from routine work activities for some time. For example, outing with friends, gardening, dancing, music, entertainment etc. Its basic purpose is to provide relaxation to mind for some time.
iv. Acupressure and acupuncture techniques – Both these techniques can be used in order to minimize stress in today’s stressful work life. These are safe, simple, economical and drugless effective methods without any side effects.
v. Prioritizing activities – By assigning a priority to work activities one can reduce stress. One can revise all the activities to be done in a day, putting them priority wise reduces tension and stress. Most important activities should be done first and least important can be avoided if time pressure is there.
vi. Strong networking – Networking increases the chances of stress reduction at a faster speed. Strong networking can be created by maintaining interaction with trusted friends, co-workers, and others to keep oneself confident and free from stress.
vii. Nishkam Karma – The principle of Nishkam Karma can be adopted i.e. work without expecting rewards. If one work with this idea in mind, then chances of success and failure are equal. It leads to stress-free situation.
viii. Healthy personality development – Conscious efforts should be taken towards development of a healthy personality and it includes trust, confidence, loyalty, commitment and other attributes of healthy personality.
ix. Anger management – In order to manage anger one should try to keep oneself away from anger that is ‘maintaining the breaking distance’ between anger and self. Another approach is ‘set back’ from anger provoking situation. In order to avoid anger one can also adopt laughing therapy.
x. Food habits – In order to reduce stress, the food habits should be changed for proper nourishment of the body. One should avoid fast food i.e. Pizza, burger etc. and concentrate on healthy diet for keeping oneself stress free.
xi. Stop comparison – One should stop comparing oneself with others and if it is not possible then only compare with lower standard individuals not those are better off. It provides good feeling to be in the first category when compare with worse than yourself.
xii. Stop rigidity – One should not be too rigid in one’s ways of functioning and dealing with others. One should adopt the flexibility element in every situation and avoid rigidity.
2. Organizational Stress Coping Strategies:
Organizational coping strategies are generally proactive in nature and revolve round work stressors in order to minimize the same.
Some coping strategies are:
a. Healthy organizational environment – Most of the organizational stress occurs due to unhealthy organizational environment and practices. Healthy environment includes transparency, good working culture, and climate, participative decision making and hence developing harmonious working relationship among employee. This will reduce stress to a great extent.
ii. Work-life balance – Another approach can be work life balance approach that can be adopted. A proper balance between an individual and his working environment should be maintained. It can be achieved by providing motivation, quality performance, job satisfaction and lower absenteeism and turnover.
iii. Changing job contents – Monotonous and repeated work brings stress and it can be controlled by changing the contents of the job through job enrichment, improving job contents and job features etc. It leads to interesting work, motivation and great sense of responsibility and reduces stress.
iv. Role clarity – Role clarity should be provided to individuals in the organization. Each employee plays many roles at a time leading to stressful situation. Role clarity should be provided by reducing ambiguity, role conflict, role overload etc.
v. Avoid workaholic situation – One should avoid to be workaholic in order to reduce stress. Apart from work there are so many other aspects in life exist which should be undertaken by employees for stress reduction.
vi. Workshops and assistance programmes – Stress control workshops should be arranged for employees in order to reduce stress. Employee assistance programmes can be conducted for having interaction with individuals dealing with stress and reasons might be find out i.e. personal, family or work and then help should be provided to overcome stress.
One should keep in mind that “prevention is better than cure.” Hence an individual should avoid stressful situations and prevent oneself from becoming the victim of stress. By proper management of stress an individual can transform stress into an asset.
Stress Management – Approaches to Manage Stress
When we look at stress from organisational point of view, management may not be concerned about the low to moderate levels of stress experienced by the employees. The reason is, that some functional level of stress is necessary to improve employee performance.
But high levels of stress and sustained low levels of stress are a cause of action by the management. But when we look at stress from individual’s point of view even the low levels of stress are perceived to be undesirable. Keeping this in mind we can discuss the individual and organisational approaches towards managing stress.
Before discussing these approaches, we must keep in mind two points:
(i) Firstly, we must not make any generalisations. Each of us have different limits, different optimum stress levels and will perceive the sources of stress differently. One person’s overstress may be another person’s challenge and optimum stress.
(ii) Secondly, we need to differentiate between what we can do to equip ourselves and to organise our environment to prevent us from becoming over or under stressed. We label this as PREVENTION. Yet however, well we prepare ourselves and try to control our environment from time to time, we will still experience undesirable stress. It is then that we need to have developed MANAGEMENT SKILLS.
Now we discuss the individual’s and organisational approaches to managing stress.
As we know that stress has got a number of negative consequences for the individuals that is why every individual should take personal responsibility for reducing his or her stress level. There are a number of ways by which a person can either avoid stressful conditions, change them or learn to cope with them. Stress can be managed by an individual, which will enable him to regain control over his life.
Some of the stress reducing strategies from individual’s point of new are:
1. Knowledge about Stress:
In the first stage, an individual should become knowledgeable about stress. He should know about the process and effects of stress. He must find out the major sources of his stress. He must anticipate stressful periods and plan accordingly in advance. He must be honest with himself and decide what he can cope with what he cannot.
2. Physiological Fitness:
Excercise in any form can help people in coping with the stress. Noncompetitive physical excercise such as- aerobics, walking, jogging, swimming, riding a bicycle, playing softball or tennis have been recommended by physicians as a way to deal with excessive stress levels. There is evidence to suggest that individuals who excercise are much less likely to suffer from certain types of stress related excercises. With proper excercise, diet control and non-smoking habits, blood pressure and cholesterol become controlled and the body becomes more resistant to pressures.
People are more likely to get physically sick or emotionally depressed if they are overweight or poorly nourished.
3. Time Management:
Most of the people are very poor in managing their time. They don’t know that what must be done and when it would be desirable to do so. The result of poor time management is feeling of work overload, skipped schedules and tension. A well organised person can often accomplish twice as much as the person who is poorly organised. Therefore, an individual must understand how to manage his time so that he can cope with tensions created by job demands.
A few of the well-known time management principles are:
(i) Preparing a daily list of activities to be attended to.
(ii) Prioritizing activities by importance and urgency.
(iii) Scheduling activities according to the priorities set.
(iv) Knowing your daily schedule and handling the most demanding parts of a job when you are most alert and productive.
An individual should become assertive. He should not say ‘Yes’ when he wants to say ‘No’. He should start saying No to people or managers who demand too much of his time. Being assertive is an important factor in reducing stress.
5. Social Support Network:
Every person should have people to turn to, talk to and rely upon. Good friends become highly supportive during times of stress and crisis. Social network includes friends, family or work colleagues. Expanding your social support system can be a means for tension reduction because friends are there when needed and provide support to get the person through stressful situations.
6. Readjust life Goals:
Every individual must know what he really wants to do. This should relate to not only the major decisions of the life but to all activities in our life. He must know what is important for him. Because of the severe competition in life to go ahead, most individuals set very high standards and goals for themselves.
These high expectations and limited resources to reach such expectations result in stress. Accordingly, every person must readjust his goals and make sure he has the ability and resources to reach such goals. Perhaps the goals should be established after the resources have been analysed.
7. Relaxation Techniques:
Every individual must teach himself to reduce tension through relaxation techniques such as Yoga, meditation, hypnosis and biofeedback. 15-20 minutes a day of deep relaxation releases tension and provides a person with pronounced sense of peacefulness. Deep relaxation condition will bring significant changes in heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological factors. Yoga is probably the most effective remedy for stress. Studies have revealed that Yoga has cured several stress related diseases.
8. Plan Your Life in Advance:
So many times, people create situations which induce stress because they either did not plan or did a bad job of planning. The traditional Indian attitude of “Whatever will be, will be” a way of accepting the unexpected difficulties in life. This attitude may be relevant in those situations over which we do not have any control like death in the family, but for other events in life, it is better to plan in advance, so that we can confront them with confidence when they occur.
Individuals may design their own strategies to reduce stress, but it is a must for the organisations to develop programmes that will help the employees in reducing their stress. This will lead to less employee turnover, absenteeism and as a result productivity will improve.
Some of the measures which organisations can take are:
1. Selection and Placement:
Individuals differ in their response to stress situations. We know that ‘Type A’ individuals are more prone to stress. On the other hand, in the organisations there are certain jobs which are more stressful as compared to other jobs. While doing the selection and placement of the employees, these factors must be kept in mind. The individuals who are more prone to stress should not be put on jobs which are stressful. The individuals who are less prone to stress may adapt better to high stress jobs and perform those jobs more effectively.
2. Coal Setting:
Based on extensive amount of research it has been concluded that individuals perform better when they have specific and challenging goals and they receive feedback on how well they are progressing towards those goals. Goal setting can reduce stress as well as provide motivation. It will result in less employee frustration, role ambiguity and stress.
3. Improved Communication:
Sometimes due to lack of effective communication from the superiors, the employees do not know what they have to do and how they have to do it. This results in role ambiguity. Similarly, when two or more persons have contradicting role demands from an employee, it reads to role conflict if there is lack of proper communication. Effective communication with employees reduces the uncertainty by lessening role ambiguity and role conflict.
4. Redesigning Jobs:
Organisations should redesign the jobs in such a way as to give employees more responsibility, more meaningful work, more autonomy and increased feedback. This will help reduce the stress caused by monotony, routine work, and work overload or under load and role ambiguity. Job redesigning enhances motivation, reduces the stress among the employees and enhances “Quality of work life”.
5. Participative Decision Making:
If the organisations give the employees participation in those decisions that directly affect them and their job performance, it can increase employee control and reduce the role stress. The main reason of role stress is that employees feel uncertain about their goals, expectations and how they will be evaluated. These uncertainties can be reduced by the management by giving the employees a right to participate in the decision making.
6. Building Teamwork:
The management should try to create such work environment in which there is no provision for interpersonal conflict or inter group conflict. Such conflicts are the causes of stress; such should be prevented from building or eliminated if they develop. Accordingly such team work should be developed that groups and the members are mutually supportive and productive. Members of the group should consider themselves as members of the same family and seek social support from each other.
7. Personal Wellness Programmes:
These personal wellness programmes focus on the employee’s total physical and mental condition. Organisations can provide facilities at their premises for physical fitness such as gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts etc., as well as psychological counseling. They should hold seminars or workshops to make the employees understand nature and sources of stress and the possible ways to reduce it. These workshops should help those individuals who are already under stress.
Moreover, a supervisor can impact personal wellness of his subordinates through positive example, encouragement and by practicing the basic concepts and techniques of human resource management.
To conclude we can say that all these strategies or a combination thereof should be applied to make the work environment less stressful to a level which is positive and challenging.
Stress Management – Individual and Organisational Approaches
Stress can affect individuals’ attentiveness, their information processing and decision-making abilities, as well as behavior. The stressed out individuals are more likely to make errors or blunders that can cause any type of loss. Therefore, stress management is of paramount importance for an organization.
Following sections explain the two approaches briefly:
Individual approach implies that an employee can try to reduce the stress at his/her personal level.
Few of the effective stress buster strategies at individual level are as follows:
i. Time Management Techniques – Refer to the methods that can be used to avoid stress caused due to pressure of time limits.
The examples of time management techniques are given as follows:
a. Making a list of activities that are to be done on a day
b. Prioritizing the activities according to their significance and necessity
c. Making a diary in which all the future appointments are listed
d. Trying to handle the most important work when you are most alert
ii. Increasing Physical Exercise – Indicates that the physical exercise not only makes an individual more fit but also helps in reducing stress. It even helps in building stamina, which is helpful to avoid stress.
iii. Relaxation Training – Refers to certain ways by which an individual can relax his/her body and mind. For example, yoga and meditation.
iv. Expanding Social Support Network – Includes the social circle that comprises our relatives, friends, and colleagues. The social support network can help an individual in reducing stress.
v. Keeping a Stress Diary – Refers to maintaining a diary that can be helpful in managing stress. Many individuals maintain a diary to vent out their feelings by writing them.
Following things can be listed in a stress diary:
a. What are the things that made me stressful?
b. How it made me feel physically?
c. How I felt mentally?
d. How did I react to the situation?
e. What did I say to myself about the situation?
f. How can I avoid being stressful if similar situation arises again?
Organizational approach includes various approaches that can be used within the organization.
These approaches use certain strategies that are explained as follows:
i. Improved Personnel Selection and Job Placement – Refers to the fact that an organization should analyze the personality of personnel while selecting them for a job. Some jobs are more stressful than others and different people respond to a particular situation differently. If the organization does not select the candidate that suits the job, the candidate may become stressful.
ii. Realistic Goal Setting – Implies that performance-related goals of employees should be realistic. The selection of realistic goals would reduce the pressure on employees.
iii. Redesigning of Jobs – Refers to a strategy that says if the causes of stress is inherent in the job itself then the job should be redesigned to reduce the stress level. For redesigning job, the job rotation or job enrichment can be done.
iv. Increased Employee Involvement – Implies that more the involvement of employees more tension free they would feel. Increased employee involvement increases the motivational level of employees and makes them feel less stressful.
v. Improved Organizational Communication – Indicates that the better the communication between employees and top management, the better would be interpersonal relationship. This would make the employees comfortable and remove misunderstanding and confusion, which results in less stress.
vi. Establishment of Corporate Wellness Programs – Refers to the need of a strategy to develop programs that focus on the employee’s total physical and mental conditions.
vii. Supportive Organizational Climate – Refers to the act of removing faulty organizational practices and processes that act as stressors.
viii. Career Planning and Counseling – Refer to two types of strategic activities that help the employees to obtain professional advice regarding their career growth.
ix. Stress Control Workshops and Employee Assistance Programs – Refer to the programs that can help an individual to manage stress properly so that they can avoid its ill effects.