First, identify what's creating stress at work. Maybe it’s lack of control over your job. Or maybe it's worry about losing your job or how you are doing at work. You might feel stress because you're unable to express your thoughts and ideas to your boss and coworkers.
Think about why you want to reduce stressat work. You might want to protect your heart and your health by reducing stress. Or maybe you simply want to enjoy your life more and not let work stress control how you feel. Your reason for wanting to change is important. If your reason comes from you—and not someone else—it will be easier for you to make a healthy change for good.
Next, set a goal for yourself that involves reducing your stress level. Think about both a long-term and a short-term goal.
Here are a few examples:
- Shelly's long-term goal is to reduce stress by managing her frustration over things she can't control at work. Her short-term goal is to learn to do deep breathing and relaxation exercises when she gets stressed. She'll try it the next time her boss hands her a last-minute project.
- Jill’s long-term goal is to reduce stress by speaking up at work and expressing her interests and ideas more effectively. Her short-term goal is to practice being more assertive. When she’s ready, she'll contribute an idea at a department meeting.
- Raoul’s long-term goal is to reduce stress by having a better understanding of what’s expected of him at work. His short-term goal is to find out how he is doing now. He plans to schedule a meeting with his boss to talk about his performance and how he can improve.
- John’s long-term goal is to reduce stress by learning to say “no” to projects he doesn't have time to handle. His short-term goal is to get organized and prioritize the projects he has now. He is going to make a list of all of his work and then prioritize the tasks that are most important.
After setting your goals, think about what might get in your way. Use a personal action plan to write down your goals, the possible barriers, and your ideas for getting past them. By thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.
Most important, make sure you get support from friends and family in your efforts to reduce job stress. If your company has an employee assistance program, you might use it to talk with a counselor. A counselor can help you set goals and provide support in dealing with setbacks.