“Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more….” For countless numbers of unhappy employees these immortal words made famous by country singer Johnny PayCheck still resonate as loudly today as when he first sang them in 1977. How many days do you get up wanting to quit your job? Are you bored with your work, disgusted, restless, unmotivated or unchallenged? Are you worried someone else wants your job? Are you experiencing harassment or conflicts with bosses or co-workers? If so you are a good candidate for job stress and you are not alone. According to Northwestern National Life Insurance Company, 25% of Americans view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.

It is estimated that the average person works 40 – 50 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. That translates to 75% of our waking hours and most of our energy being spent on the job. When work conditions are unsatisfactory our health and well being are highly impacted. Job stress is defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when job requirements do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker. Numerous studies link such occupational mismatches with a wide range of illnesses. The National Institute of Occupation and Safety (NIOSH) warns that job stress can put workers at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, muscle and skeletal disorders, workplace injury, and mental health problems including depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and emotional exhaustion. In a study of over 21,000 nurses published in May of 2000, Harvard researchers concluded that unsatisfactory working conditions can sap a person’s health just as surely as smoking or a sedentary lifestyle.

Overcoming workplace stress is vital to our well being because it has a ripple effect into every aspect of life. Job stress not only impacts our self image and self esteem, it affects our relationships with family, friends and co-workers. Workplace problems extend far beyond the time we spend there and are not easily left behind at the end of the day.

What is making our jobs so stressful? Work is an integral part of human life. Work expresses our basic need to accomplish, create, experience satisfaction and feel meaningful. However, when workplace conditions deny people the opportunity to utilize their creativity, intelligence and decision-making ability there is a breeding ground for dissatisfaction. Office politics, tedious paperwork, long hours, crushing workloads, unrealistic deadlines, meaningless work and demanding bosses are but a few of the factors that contribute to work place stress. Lack of recognition, job insecurity, harassment, fear of layoffs, inadequate pay, and lack of promotional opportunities are others. One of the greatest stressors is the lack of control most people feel over their job and/or their work. Too little down time plays a role as well. With the advancement of technology, workers have less and less time when they are actually away from work. Today’s workers are constantly connected to their jobs by laptops and cell phones, even in the bathtub and on vacations at the beach.

Stress is often confused with challenge. Challenge energizes us psychologically and physically. It’s what motivates us to learn new skills and master our jobs. When a challenge is met, we feel relaxed and satisfied; therefore challenge can be a key ingredient for healthy and productive work. It’s when challenge becomes overwhelming that it starts becoming stressful. Paul J. Rosch, M.D. and President of the American Institute of Stress, described the fine line between challenge and stress as follows: “Increased stress increases productivity – up to a point, after which things rapidly deteriorate, and that level differs for each of us. It’s much like the stress or tension on a violin string. Not enough produces a dull raspy sound and too much an irritating screech or snaps the string – but the correct degree of stress creates a beautiful tone. Similarly, we all have to find the right amount of stress that permits us to make pleasant music in our daily lives.”

How do you do that? It’s not likely you can adjust your job to suit yourself or change your boss or co-workers, and you may not be in a position to change your workplace. There are, however, ways you can temporarily relieve pressure during the work day. Get organized when you arrive at work. Getting your priories straight will help keep you focused on what is important. Leave perfectionism at home. Work at your own pace and maintain a steady rhythm. Make the most of breaks. Even a mini break of ten minutes can refresh your mental outlook. Take a brief walk, chat with a co-worker about a non-related job topic, or simply sit quietly with your eyes closed and concentrate on your breathing. If you are feeling angry, get up and walk away. Make every attempt to leave work on time. While all these strategies will help, they will not solve the underlying problem. Stress comes from within, and that is where it must be addressed.

While there is no one strategy that meets everyone’s needs, there are many recognized stress management courses, seminars and therapies that will help. The most effective ones address the underlying causes rather than treating the symptoms. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is one of the therapies that will do that. EFT identifies and desensitizes the underlying triggers that are driving the stress. EFT is an easy to learn self-help technique that can be used anywhere to defuse emotional situations and soothe the body’s energy system. If you already under tremendous pressure at work, learn EFT or seek some other kind of therapy. It is important to start taking action now before serious damage is done to your health. Not only your welfare, but that of your entire family might someday depend on it.

Author's Bio: 

Judith Albright, MA, EFT-ADV, is an advanced EFT practitioner and PSYCH-K® Facilitator in Ft. Collins, CO who works with people of all ages to neutralize stress and offload emotional baggage.She is convinced that EFT and PSYCH-K® are a powerful and unbeatable combination that can literally change the world, one person at a time. For more information visit www.stressfreewitheft.com or call 970 218-8643.