5 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress, Written by a Clinician

Updated: Oct 3

Read on below to find out how you can work on reducing your stress level right away.

Stress in the workplace reduces productivity and can lead to serious mental and physical health issues. 80% of workers feel pressure on the job, nearly half say they need help in managing stress, and 42% say their coworkers need such help. Among the leading causes of job-related stress are workload (46%), people issues (28%), juggling work and personal life (20%), and lack of job security (6%). Left unmanaged or unmitigated workplace stress ultimately translates in loss of human capital through high turnover as employees seek better employment and decline of bottom-line profitability as costs of hiring and training new employees rise.

How can employers respond to this challenge?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends two main strategies: Stress Management Programs and Organizational Change.

Per NIOSH, Stress Management Programs teach workers about the nature and sources of stress, the effects of stress on health, and personal skills to reduce stress-for example, time management or relaxation exercises. Employee Assistance Programs(EAPs) provide individual counseling for employees with both work and personal problems. Stress management training may rapidly reduce stress symptoms such as anxiety and sleep disturbances; it also has the advantage of being inexpensive and easy to implement.

Also, per NIOSH, in contrast to stress management training and EAP programs, Organizational Change aims to reduce job stress by improving working conditions. This approach is the most direct way to reduce stress at work. It involves identifying stressful aspects of work (e.g., excessive workload, conflicting expectations) and the design of strategies to reduce or eliminate the identified stressors.

Stress management starts, however, with you! Here are five personal skills to reduce stress:

Set Priorities

How many times do you find yourself looking at your to-do list at the end of the day thinking, “This is impossible! I’ve barely made any progress!” or wondering, “Where did the time go?”. These are examples of negative self-talk usually associated with perfectionism or lack of ability to set priorities. To mitigate such self-deprecating statements, which do nothing but increase stress, try placing a few manageable priorities at the beginning of the day. As you do that, allow for flexibility around interruptions or unexpected circumstances.

Make sure that your priorities are in alignment with your higher goals or even values.