10 Stress Busters – For when you’re feeling the strain

It is National Stress Awareness Week (4th to 8th November 2019) the perfect time to recognise how stress can affect you and your colleagues. So take some time out, grab a cuppa and your favourite chocolate bar. Breathe and read these 10 stress busters. Suggested by Professor Sir Cary Cooper, an American-born British psychologist and 50th Anniversary Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at the Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.

Be active – Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you to deal with your problems more calmly.

Take control – There’s a solution to any problem. If you remain passive, thinking, “I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse. That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.”

Connect with people – A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.

Have some ‘me time’ – Here in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often don’t spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.

Challenge yourself – Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.

Avoid unhealthy habits – Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. “Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behaviour,” says Professor Cooper. “Women are better at seeking support from their social circle.”

Help other people – Professor Cooper says evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient.

Work smarter, not harder – Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference. “Leave the least important tasks to last,” says Cooper. “Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.”

Try to be positive – Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful.

Accept the things you can’t change – Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.

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