I think it’s safe to say that we’ve never seen an election like this one, with such a polarization of political and ethical views. And the bitter war of words between the two candidates has seemingly left workers all across the country feeling more stressed out than usual. According to the a recent American Psychological Association survey, around 30% of workers reported that political discussions at work leave them feeling even more stressed-out than usual. While HR departments are trying to keep workplace stress at a minimum, it looks like this particular election is testing their efforts. On the other hand, it isn’t like stress wasn’t already one of the biggest health and safety concerns in US workplaces.

Any job has stressful elements, and even if you love what you do, at some point, you must’ve felt the pressure of work-related stress. In the short term, let’s say, you may experience the pressure to meet a deadline, but the real problem starts when the pressure becomes chronic. Unfortunately, Center for Organization Excellence recently revealed that more than 33% of working Americans experience chronic work stress. What’s more, only 36% of them say that their employers provide sufficient resources to help them combat and manage their stress. While some tensions that occur in the office are unavoidable – elections happen every four years, after all – you can take some steps to understand and ultimately, manage work-related stress.

Recognizing the Source of Your Stress

Some people are unaware of their stress, and others feel like they cannot do anything about it, but that attitude is the true cause of unhealthy work environments. In reality, a simple examination of your work life can highly reduce or even eliminate stress completely.

Common Stressors:

·        Lack of Control

Employees are mostly stressed when they feel like they have very little to no control at all over the outcome of their work. Some people feel frustrated because they cannot apply an obvious solution to a problem, because of the company’s rules. But this mostly happens due to lack of communication up and down the chain of command. Over time, automated management leas to automated staff performance, and the overall effect is loss of interest in the job, immense frustration, anger and of course, chronic stress.

·        Multitasking

New research indicates that we as humans are simply not good as good as we think at doing several things at once. David Meyer, director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan explains that when you perform multiple tasks that require some of the same channels of processing, conflict arises between the tasks. Therefore, multitasking reduces your productivity and hinders your performance, which naturally leads to stress.

·        Perceived lack of time

Technological advancements have allowed workers to take their work anywhere, but there is a downside to it. Thanks to downsizing, the only way for people to stay on top of their workload is to arrive early, stay late, and even bring their work home. Overwork leads to chronic pain, fatigue and insomnia, and can also rob you of the time you might’ve otherwise spent caring for your body. Simply put, when you spent too much time working, your life gets seriously out of balance.

·        Lack of Appreciation

Failure to show appreciation generally generates stress and endangers productivity, yet, according to a recent Gallup poll, around 65% of workers in the US feels underappreciated at work. In most cases, workers just want to know are they meeting expectations or not, and if an employer or manager fails to give any feedback 9either positive or negative), most workers feel like nobody appreciates their individual effort. Some people need more attention than others, but the fact is, everyone’s performance is enhanced if the leader openly appreciates their effort.

Coping With Stress

Once you identify the source (or multiple sources) of your stress, it’s time to focus on reducing the overall stress levels and regain the sense of control. For starters, if you are feeling overwhelmed and you need a few minutes to clear your head, deep breathing will restore balance – inhale five seconds, hold for two seconds and exhale in equal counts. It will give you all of the benefits of an hour-long yoga class in just two minutes at your desk. And make sure that you schedule short breaks throughout the day, and get away from your desk for lunch, because it will help you relax and recharge. And now, let’s talk about cortisol, the “stress hormone”.

Produced by your adrenal glands, this particular hormone regulates your blood pressure during a sudden crisis. It helps you tap into your energy resources and boosts your immune system. But constant stress can keep this survival mechanism in high gear all the time, which can lead to sleep problems, damage your immune system and cause heart disease. Fortunately, regular physical activity can help you burn up cortisol in your system, and 30 minutes of activity, four days a week is all it takes. Since cortisol also dissolves your muscle mass, you should take some high-quality fitness supplements in the morning and before bedtime on the day of your workout session.

Employers are Also Trying to Help

Traditionally, organizations haven’t placed a lot of emphasis on the role of work-related stress on the high costs of health care. But researchers from the Harvard Business School estimate that stress is responsible for up to $190 billion annual health care costs. While some companies are struggling to find affordable plans and are raising premiums on workers in order to combat escalating costs, other are implementing health programs in an effort to keep their workers healthy. Some are even looking beyond the traditional health care programs, and are trying to make changes in their management structures. After all, it is in the employers; best interest to keep the workers stress-free, both for the good of their workers and their own companies.

Author's Bio: 

James D. Burbank has worked for years in traditional as well as online marketing. He has worked in Central Asia, Europe and Australasia in recent years.