impact of emotional stress

How to prevent emotional stress from impacting your job

Maintaining good health and wellbeing is important for mental and physical fitness. With daily life throwing a huge amount of problems, issues, and obstacles our way, stress levels can sometimes rise so that they feel unmanageable. When these high amounts of emotional stress spill over into the workplace, it can create problems. 

Work performance, attendance, interactions with colleagues, and a host of other areas can be affected. Those with high stress or demanding jobs can become less resilient to stress over time, causing emotional health to suffer while attempting to juggle emotional feelings and work life. Along with the routine demands of the workplace, there are external factors that can seep in and compound emotional strain.

Some of these factors can be things such as:

Relationship problems

Divorce or break up

Problems with children

Struggling with addiction

Moving house

Death of relative or spouse

While many professionals have the ability to ignore these external forces and remain focused on their job, for others it can become increasingly challenging to keep the negative influences out. 

Often this can affect decision-making as mental thought processes become dulled or distracted, and work performance can begin to slip. In worse case scenarios these issues, if left unmanaged, can lead to disciplinary proceedings or even dismissal.

What to do if you are suffering from emotional stress

Even though many of us manage a reasonable amount of stress as part of day-to-day living, there can come a time when the number of emotional issues becomes more than can be handled. If you find yourself in this situation it is important to pay attention, be aware, and take steps to reduce emotional stress levels immediately. 

JBE Heath specialises in providing webinars and onsite training courses to help key employees cope, thrive, and succeed. Managing emotional stress in the workplace creates a better environment and produces positive and ongoing benefits for those that attend training. Events like the popular Happiness Programme have received acclaim from organisations who have incorporated the training into their employee wellness programmes.

If you are struggling with emotional stress and don’t have access to emotional health training or support, there are still some things you can do on your own. Managing your emotional stress effectively can bring about many benefits, and while it can take a bit of practice, following these steps will help you to cope better while avoiding triggers.

Maintain a good diet

Hippocrates famously said ‘Let food be thy medicine’ and this statement still holds true. Keeping to a healthy balanced diet of good nutritional food and drinking lots of water can give the body all the protein and minerals it needs to maintain a healthy balance. The opposite is also true, binging on high sugar food and junk can leave you feeling bloated and lethargic. Emotional eating can be a problem with the tendency to ‘eat our feelings’, so try and curb the cravings for sugar or unhealthy foods and replace them with fruits and healthy snacks. You will feel brighter, better, and less sluggish.

Get plenty of exercise

Apart from keeping us fit and healthy the benefit of regular exercise reaches far beyond simple physical fitness. It releases powerful hormones and ‘feel good’ endorphins that actually change the brain chemistry and create a more positive, uplifted outlook. It also helps to clear brain fog and improve mental focus, not to mention providing better energy levels throughout the day. So if you are experiencing emotional stress, go for a jog or workout before your work day begins. Mind and body are connected so helping one will support the other. 

Take time for yourself

Stress can build up if unmanaged, and while it’s tempting  to leave work and launch into other much-needed tasks like fixing things in the house or picking the kids up from school, having time to yourself is also important. Try and carve out 15 to 30 minutes a day to do something just for yourself – put it in your diary to help you commit to it, and then listen to some music, read a book, or just sit peacefully with your eyes closed and breathe slowly. Relax in the bath, do a crossword, or whatever else you enjoy, as long as it is something just for you. Spending just a few minutes a day uninterrupted can promote a peaceful more relaxed outlook that supports emotional wellbeing.

Create a distraction

Sometimes, dwelling on problems for too long can be unhealthy and taking your mind off things can be a welcome escape from negative or stressful feelings. Try a hobby or do something to occupy your brain space that creates fun and enjoyment. Play your favourite video game, attempt to draw or paint something, walk the dog, or play sport with the kids. If you really want something to occupy your mind you could volunteer and help other people with their issues. Nothing puts your own problems into perspective better than helping people that are struggling or in crisis.

Practice meditation

A great technique for relaxing and reducing emotional stress is meditation. It can take a bit of practice to reach a meditative state but once you become proficient it is an excellent way to let go of negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Meditation can provide great emotional benefits from helping to organise racing or unclear thoughts, to increasing patience and tolerance. Managing emotional stress in this way can have a positive effect on things like creativity and imagination while gaining self-awareness and achieving clearer perspectives on current situations. Meditation forces you to be in the present and clear away the ‘mind chatter’ that can easily crowd your thoughts and become overwhelming.

Use your writing skills

Keeping a record of your thoughts and feelings so you can analyse and understand them more clearly. For many people, journaling or keeping a diary is an invaluable tool when it comes to managing emotional stress. Documenting day to day events, interactions, or occurrences and your reactions to them can reveal patterns or coping methods. Record keeping in this way can identify things like the underlying causes of emotional stress and highlight incidents that can trigger responses. Once thoughts and feelings are identified, find ways to replace the negative feelings with positive ones and combat emotions at the root. Having a written account of emotional stress factors and reactions can highlight the changes needed to support growth and healing. 

Practise mindfulness

Become fully focused and more aware by being mindful. This differs from meditation by focusing on your body’s responses and reactions in the moment and by being more aware of your reactions. This helps you understand how you react and respond physically, mentally, and emotionally to certain events or triggers. By knowing how your emotions impact you, changes can be made to alter the process for future events. Over time this can help with identifying stress triggers and knowing which techniques to use to bring yourself back to a place of calmness.

Final Words

Using these methods will help maintain better, positive emotional health while being aware of the factors that create stressful patterns. For more information on emotional stress in the workplace please visit JBE Health. Training courses can be viewed and booked online and the Happiness Programme offers a FREE Taster Session webinar for interested companies. 

Book the Happiness Programme Taster Session today and support your employee’s emotional health.

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About the Author

Jon is a highly experienced wellbeing specialist, trainer and clinician who helps busy, overwhelmed people to boost joy, bounce-back-ability and performance in and outside of work.