Jan 292013

Yes! is usu­ally the imme­di­ate response to this question.

And when people answer it, they’re rarely refer­ring to ‘good’ stress…the kind of stress that keeps us buzz­ing, excited, ener­gised, chal­lenged. Cary Cooper, co-author of The Sci­ence of Occu­pa­tional Health: Stress, Psy­cho­bi­o­logy, and the New World of Work, describes good stress as “stim­u­lat­ing and motivating”.

Neither are they think­ing about the sort of stress that’s caused by hav­ing to escape from wild beasts — unless the boss is par­tic­u­larly Neanderthal!

The stress that people are con­cerned about is caused by psy­cho­lo­gical rather than phys­ical threats. And there’s a lot of it to be found in the workplace.

Stress is considered

the #1 health risk for busi­nesses in the UK

& the #1 health prob­lem in America.


violin in arms / stressThink of stress like ten­sion in a violin string:

Not enough pro­duces a dull, raspy noise and too much res­ults in an annoy­ing shrill or snaps the string.  How­ever, just the right amount cre­ates pleas­ing sounds

Dr. Paul J. Rosch, pres­id­ent of the Amer­ican Insti­tute of Stress

So how do we get that bal­ance that pro­duces “pleas­ing sounds”?

Of course there’s a lot of prac­tical advice around about decreas­ing stress levels through sleep, diet, exer­cise, relax­a­tion tech­niques and the like.

Then there’s the evid­ence that those in lead­er­ship roles suf­fer less stress. If get­ting into that kind of pos­i­tion isn’t on the cards, try to increase the level of con­trol that you have over your cir­cum­stances at work.

Also, research shows that get­ting mean­ing and a sense of pur­pose through your work is another way of redu­cing stress. Even if you’re not doing the work of your dreams, it is pos­sible to find pur­pose in it bey­ond the wage. If not, mov­ing towards work that would give you this is a worth­while goal.

Did you answer “yes!” to the open­ing question?

Is there one thing you could do today to reduce your stress at work?

Your well-being’s worth it.


If you like this post join our news­let­ter to receive monthly barrier-breaking ideas for your soft skills development…PLUS imme­di­ate access to a 16-page art­icle from The Jazz of Busi­ness: Lead­er­ship in a New Groove