For a few lucky people, tranquility seems to be an inborn gift — something they just have. The rest of us must teach ourselves the secrets of relaxation, inner peace and tranquility in the workplace and during troubled personal times.
Even when we think we’re too busy and overworked to relax, slowing down a little can make us more valuable employees and a happier human being in general. The keys to changing your behavior are awareness and choice. It takes time to make changes, and learning to relax can improve your life.
If you're not one of those few naturally relaxed, tranquil people, here are eight ways to reduce your stress:
#1 – Reframe the problem.
Our everyday way of seeing the world is like a form of hypnosis – we become mesmerized by our habits. Make a conscious choice to find a new way to look at the problem so that it’s easier to solve, and not a “problem” at all, but a challenge to overcome.
#2 – Mind the P’s and C’s.
Pessimism results when people give in to the P's, which means taking setbacks Personally and believing that the negatives are Pervasive and Permanent. When you give in to pessimism, you lose your creativity and you miss good opportunities. This is especially dangerous during hard economic times. People who are optimistic and stress-hardy focus on the C's: Challenge, Control and Commitment.
#3 – Learn to say NO.
Working parents need to say no to over-commitments at home. Saying no at work can be difficult sometimes, especially in an understaffed and overworked situation and even when workplace communication is good. However, life is about choice. If, at work, the physical and mental stress becomes overwhelming, you may have to make some decisions regarding job responsibilities. Be clear that your job is not you. You are a person with a job.
#4 – Ask for help.
If you try to do everything yourself, you will become incredibly resentful. Competent people often believe, "If you want something done right, or right now, you have to do it yourself." It’s important not to overload by “multi-tasking” to the point of frustration. (By the way, multi-tasking is not necessarily a good thing.) Be willing to ask for help and to accept it gracefully, without putting too many conditions on having something done exactly the way you would do it.
#5 – Practice patience.
We hear a lot these days about “rage,” and this explosive anger is just as likely to occur in the workplace as it is on the highways or the airways. Much of that anger and dissatisfaction can be traced to impatience. Cultivating patience means having a different way of approaching things, such as working on the capacity to endure difficulties with some amount of calm and self-control. Enjoy each task or experience — one at a time.
#6 – Guard against gossip at work and in your personal life.
Malicious gossip can be a destructive habit that promotes pessimism, especially gossip of the “gloom and doom” variety. It unjustly destroys reputations. Negativity is contagious and impacts morale.
#7 – Be a source of kindness.
We don’t hear much about kindness in the workplace, and it is definitely an under-rated virtue. Even something as simple as a compliment on a job well done can give a colleague a mental and emotional lift. Kindness is as essential as the air we breathe.
#8 – Start small with changes.
It’s better to tackle a small improvement in life and/or work rather than be overwhelmed with the big ones. Setting unrealistic goals is self-defeating, and, in the end, we can’t keep up with any goal that sets the bar too high.