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List everything that could cause you excessive stress, and don’t stress over how incredibly long the list might be. Relationships, first day of school, redecorating the kitchen, global conflict, global climate, loss of a pet, caring for a dying relative. … You get the idea.
Ask 10, 100 or even 1,000 adults to do this and what likely will appear most often is job stress. In all the years HeartMath Institute has researched stress and its causes, stress in the workplace has most often topped or appeared high on people’s lists. That includes people seeking HeartMath’s help and hundreds of participants in multiple scientific studies through the years.
Learn more about job stress, how it’s affecting you or someone you know and what you can do about it in Stress Got You Down on the Job?, in HMI’s Articles of the Heart blog.
Workers who say their jobs are stressing them cite heavy workloads, too few breaks, too many hours, co-workers, poor communication and job insecurity among other leading causes.
HMI’s research shows, however, that it is workers’ perceptions of workplace matters and their emotional responses to those perceptions that actually are raising their stress levels. Consider how an individual might perceive the possibility of losing a job: It would be awful; How will I support my family and me? Where will I find another job this good, one I like as much?
The person begins worrying constantly, fears what the future will hold, etc. Yet this individual is still employed. It isn’t "awful." There’s no need to go job hunting. In fact, nothing has happened, except an increase in stress because of the emotional response to a possibility.
HMI has asked study participants experiencing a negative emotion – fear, for example – to make an emotional shift to a positive emotion. They could choose, compassion, care, love, any emotion as long as they felt it sincerely. Many have chosen appreciation – for a loved one, the good in the world, etc. That certainly would be appropriate in the above worker’s case. Say, appreciation for having a job you like.
As soon as participants intentionally shifted to a positive emotion, an amazing thing happened: Nearly everyone experienced an immediate sense of relief or well-being, or at the very least felt better than before the exercise. Most soon learned from researchers that whatever the new good feeling was, it corresponded to a marked change in their heart-rhythm patterns: Where before the patterns may have appeared erratic or unbalanced, now they were smooth and coherent.
A workplace stress-reduction study – Learn more about the causes of stress and a program HeartMath implemented to reduce stress-related blood-pressure spikes and improve emotional health. Click to read.
Did you know when a co-worker experiences elevated stress in the workplace, there’s a good possibility others’ stress will increase? Studies confirm a unique characteristic of workplace stress is that it’s contagious.
What’s more, worker surveys show job stress quite often doesn’t dissipate at the end of the workday. It surfaces in home life, interactions with our children and friends and in other areas of our lives.
The process that’s occurring applies to more than the workplace and to workers or anyone else. It can happen anywhere in your field environment. According to HMI’s research, each individual’s thoughts, attitudes and emotions emit energetic fields into their respective environments. These energetic field environments, as they are termed, not only influence you, but also can affect family members, friends, your neighbors – or anyone else within close proximity.
Learn more about how you are affecting the field environments in HMI’s blog article, Each Individual Impacts the Field Environment.
Try this exercise before, during or after work to ease job stress.
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Learn how the emWave Pro can help you manage job stress by creating the optimal state of heart coherence.