How To Handle Stress At Work – 7 Practical Steps

How to handle stress at work

So you want to know how to handle stress at work? I get it. Work is one of the primary causes of stress in life, especially if you have to deal with difficult people. How to handle stress at work

Stress at work comes in all different forms and shapes. Some of it is actually good stress like deadlines and potential promotions. These motivate us to work harder and actually get things done.

Then there are the crises. An angry customer. A broken machine. The grumpy boss. An unanticipated blunder.

Too many of us go into panic mode when dealing with these issues. But there are many ways to deal with them for productively. Try these 7 things instead:

1. Be Prepared

If you expect your work-life to ever be 100% stress-free, then you are setting yourself up for disappointed. Stresses are a part of life, and especially a part of work. After all, doesn’t the word ‘work’ indicating doing something stressful?

The first thing you can do to leverage work stress is to be prepared for it. Make mental notes of things that can possibly go wrong. Now make mental notes of how you will deal with each situation should they ever arise. This way, you will prepared and ready when such situations occur.

2. Focus on your priorities

When facing a work crisis, it is very easy to get lost in the drama and forget priorities. The key here is to remain focused on what matters: your priorities. Forbes Magazine also recommends prioritizing as a way of dealing with work stress.

Simply put, no matter what the crisis is: figure out your priorities for the day focus on getting those done.

3. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Muslim Matters has a really awesome article on Sunnah relaxation techniques. Adopt the ones that work best for you and utilize them during such stressful situations. Even simple steps like washing your face, taking a walk (my favorite) or breathing exercises will go a long way in helping you stay calm under pressure. Research the topic further and find what works for you. (Just make sure to keep it halal, so no smoking!)

4. Work on long term deadlines in advance

One easily avoidable cause of stress are looming deadlines. This usually happens when we procrastinate and leave work until a few days/hours/minutes before the deadline. An easy way to overcome this is to simply start working on a project as soon as you receive it, and don’t wait for the deadline.

In my time management eBook, Getting The Barakah, I explain an easy method to do this. I call it chunking. Basically, you just break the project up into easily done daily tasks and work on one such task a day until the entire project is done. In this way, you get things done ahead of the deadline with minimal  stress. Check out my eBook Getting The Barakah for more details.

5. Deal with a crisis one step at a time

A simple answer to the question: How to handle stress at work? One step at a time!

The crisis is in front of you, you have choice: stress about it or roll up your sleeves and get to work. The productive option is obviously. Figure out what needs to be done to avert the crisis and start working on it, one step at a time. Don’t stress about the entire solution, just focus on the step at hand until it is done. Then move on to the next one.

In this way, step by step you will solve the problem and avert the crisis.

6. Remind yourself that it will pass

A new day, a new work crisis. Nothing lasts forever, and every work crisis will pass. Remind yourself of this whenever you feel overwhelmed. Whatever we are dealing with today will pass if we stay focused on the solution. So there is no need to panic. And no benefit in losing our minds.

Remind yourself about this every time you face a work crisis, and you will be able to tackle it with a clearer mind.

7. Learn from the experience

In my Self-Confidence eBook Best Of Creation, I dedicate an entire chapter to the importance of learning from one’s mistakes. Mistakes and crises are important work experience. How you deal with them will reflect on your resume.

When people say they are looking to hire someone with experience, this includes having experienced work stress and crises and dealt with them appropriately. At the end of the day, how you deal with crises shape the kind of worker you are. These are the experiences that make you valuable, so embrace the challenge and tackle it with a positive mindset and the humility needed to learn!

And that is how to handle stress at work!

Shaykh Ismail Kamdar is the author of multiple eBooks and the founder of Islamic Self Help. Check out our blog for more articles by him.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Stress Management

What is Positive Stress?

What is positive stress?

Any stress that pushes you to do your best and improve is positive stress. We all need a push to improve. Without such a push, we just fumble through life without accomplishing anything. For success in both worlds, stress is necessary, and there are many examples of positive stress in both our spiritual and material lives.

An example of a spiritual form of positive stress is the fear of the Hellfire. As Muslims, we believe that the Hellfire is a real creation of Allah, and it is the final destination of those who consciously reject Allah and His message. It is also a temporary destination for those who choose to live lives of sin, despite believing. Fear oPositive Stressf the Hellfire keeps people from committing sins and avoiding obligations. This is a good type of stress if balanced with hope in Allah’s Mercy

This only becomes a negative form of stress if it is misunderstood or unbalanced. In some communities, the Hellfire is overemphasized and Paradise is rarely mentioned. Youth growing up in which communities grow up under a lot of stress to be perfect, and perfection is impossible. The result is that many young people lose hope in Allah’s Mercy, they crack under too much stress of His Punishment, become despondent and fall into a life of sin and hopelessness. Balancing fear and hope is key in making this a positive stress in the lives of believers.

We all face situations in which we are tempted to commit great evil, and nobody is watching us except Allah. If our faith is strong enough, then at such moments the stress of thinking about displeasing Allah is enough to prevent us from committing such major sins. If not, then it is at least strong enough to make us feel guilty and make us repent from our sins, as Allah is the Accepter of all repentance.

This is a good example of a positive form of stress that we cannot afford to live without. We need this stress to keep us from making mistakes that can harm us in both worlds.

Likewise, in our worldly lives, there are many examples of positive stress. A good example of this is the concept of deadlines. Deadlines exist to keep us stressed enough to get our work done on time. Without deadlines, many people will never get their work done ever. As someone who has spent the past few years in a management position, I know that deadlines are critical for successfully managing a team. Yes, they do stress employees out, but it is stress that motivates them to work and get things done, and this is positive stress.

Likewise, bills are a positive form of stress. If people did not have bills to pay and things to buy, they wouldn’t work. People who don’t need to work often end up lazy, unproductive and wasting their lives away. Knowing that you have bills to pay at the end of the month is a positive stress that leads you to excel at your career and work hard, and the world benefits from hardworking people.

The desire to fulfil your dreams and goals before death is a positive form of stress. Knowing that our time in this world is temporary pushes us to seize the day and make each day count. In this way, we strive to accomplish our goals and make the most of our lives. Without the fear of death, there would be no urgency to seize the day and make it count.

I hope this has made you realize that you do not need to eliminate stress from your life altogether. Embrace the positive stressors in your life, and accept them as a motivational source to help you excel and be your best. It is only negative stress that needs to be eliminated or reduced significantly.

The advantages of Positive Stress can be summarized as the following:

  1. They get us to work
  2. They push us to be our best
  3. They protect us from sin and laziness
  4. They give us a reason to live
  5. Without stress, nothing would ever get done

This article is an extract from Abu Muawiyah’s upcoming book on Stress Management, available early 2016.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Stress Management