One of the most common complaints expressed by new clients is work stress; an environment with constant pressures, deadlines, expectations, power differences, and various transitions (e.g., new employees) can lead to feelings of depression, helplessness, anxiety, anger, and restlessness. The following represent simple tips and techniques to improve work satisfaction and happiness, while also helping you feel more in control and power over various work circumstances.
- Remember how you felt upon first accepting the position; what were those aspects that created excitement and passion? Now, consider reasons or aspects that you currently like about your job. Consider keeping this list in your wallet or desk drawer to pull out when you are feeling frustrated or upset.
- Express your feelings; if you are angry, write a letter to the co-worker or employee. Write whatever comes to mind and what is in your heart. You may need to write the letter 3-4 times before feeling better. If it is appropriate, consider giving the letter to the person making you upset. If it isn’t appropriate, consider destroying the letter and throwing it away.
- Increase the comfort of your office; you may want to add a plant to your office or pictures. Alternatively, buying fresh flowers every week to keep on your desk or putting quotes around your office for daily encouragement and support. Bring in your favorite jacket or blanket to keep in your office if you want to wrap up in something that is meaningful or special.
- Use your body as an instrument; monitor your non-verbal behavior and posture. Are you speaking too loud and aggressively or too soft and submissively? Consider when you can increase the volume and when it is better to reduce the volume. Make eye contact when you are having a conversation and use an inviting tone by not crossing your arms or closing your body off.
- Keep it work related; individuals often become frustrated at others because values and goals are incongruent with his/her own. When you feel like being angry or criticizing someone, reflect on if it relates to actual job performance or if it’s more related to someone’s styles and if it is that difference that really bothers you. Write out facts and let go of subjective differences in personality or style.
- Use counting; when you feel unmotivated or apathetic when beginning a task, set a timer of 10 minutes. If after the 10 minutes is up and you still don’t feel ready, move on to another project. You will still accomplish something in 10 minutes and chances are once you get started, your motivation will increase because you are back in the present moment.
- Monitor your reactions. One of my favorite quotes is “life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it.” Make it your intention to notice on how much you react today. Are your reactions based on other people, external demands, circumstances, or internal factors? Attempt to notice these reactions, and try to do the opposite of what you normally do. This will increase your self-control and power over the situation.