According to careerbuilder.com’s recent survey, more than half of workers report significant stress at work. And in this competitive world of deadlines and increasing job expectations, workplace stress can have a significant impact on your productivity and your emotional/physical health. Persistent stress increases various hormones in the body such as cortisol, which can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, altered immune responses and gastrointestinal problems. Studies have also linked stress to weight gain, chronic pain syndromes, depression, anxiety and exacerbations of diabetes.
It’s important to get a handle on these, so I offer these tips.
1. Clean/organize—Disorganization is a major contributor to stress. Clutter equals stress. Set
time to regularly organize your space.
2. Get realistic—Recognize what you can and can’t change; we are human, not superheroes.
Recognize that you can’t do it all. Set realistic goals, then prioritize them, creating a list of your
tasks and completing them in order of importance.
3. Exercise—Regular exercise releases “feel-good” chemicals, which helps your body combat the
effects of stress. Plan 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least four days a week.
4. Sleep—Sleep studies have shown that at least eight hours of sleep “recharges” your brain and
prepares your body for the next day’s challenges.
Find balance—Leave work at work when possible. Plan regular vacations to recharge.
5. Socialize—Develop friendships with coworkers, who can offer support and laughter during
6. Take a breather—It’s been shown to decrease stress. Take 5 minutes to close your eyes, take
deep, slow breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat positive
affirmations such as “I am calm” and “I am in control.”
7. Get help—If you’re overwhelmed quite often, consult with a licensed mental health
professional who can help you manage stress effectively.
Dr. Kelvin Hamner is the founder and practicing physician of the Phoenix Medical Office in College Park, Ga. Board-certified in internal medicine, Hamner has dedicated his efforts to preventive medicine and helping African Americans achieve better health.