Every job entails some level of stress whether we like it or not. Dealing with stress is essential to perform well at work; otherwise stress will not only affect you but your department and at some level, the company. For this reason, organizations lay great emphasis on Stress Management; some officially while others informally. Stress Management encompasses a wide plethora of strategies, techniques, exercises and psychotherapy that enable an individual to control stress. At Mobilink, we ensure that stress doesn’t take its toll by facilitating employees in managing stress. Here is what our expert has to say on stress management at work.
Hina Tasleem has been part of Mobilink family for more than 5 years. She is Assistant Manager Organizational Development & Talent Management Team at Mobilink and has been actively involved in the launch of Talent Management Program for the Senior Tier at Mobilink.
Hina has conducted around 8 different training sessions on stress and how to avoid stress. An interview with Hina Tasleem gives us a clearer picture and expert advice on how to manage stress and deal with stressful situations.
1. How does positive thinking impact stress level?
Answer: By comparing positive thinkers with negative thinkers we can clearly see a difference in the life style and the level of happiness. A positive thinker will react to a situation calmly and will handle the issue to yield positive results. A negative thinker will create a mess of the whole situation, ending up with higher level of stress and making the situation even more difficult to handle. No doubt, positive thinking reflects positively on results. As the saying goes “Every cloud has a silver lining”.
2. How is stress identified at work?
Answer: Different behaviors of employees at work show signs of being stressed out. There are two type of signs that exhibit stress; physical signs and mental signs. Employees when stressed are indecisive, poor at decision making, unable to meet deadlines, short tempered, unfriendly, stop socializing and networking. These are just a few signs that lead to recognizing that employees at work are stressed.
3. Do you think stress is ever good, useful or necessary?
Answer: There are two types of stress; Eustress and Distress. When the level of stress is very low and equal to no stress then performance is not good because there is no challenge to get stressed about and it leaves a worker bored and lazy which is a bad sign. However, if the level of stress is at the maximum level even then the level of performance is not good because then the worker is pressurized with workload and deadlines to meet and this can also lead to poor results. The best point is the threshold point on the graph, where the level of stress is equal to the level of performance. This is the point where performance is at its peak and stress is bearable and is categorized as good stress; Eustress.
4. When can stress be a good thing?
Answer: Stress is good when you have enough on your end to handle, the workload and challenges should never be too less or too much. A balance is important to keep the stress on the positive side of the graph.
5. In what kinds of situations do you observe other people feeling stressed?
Answer: Employees are more stressed when the channel of communication among the team members or the manager is not clear. Miscommunication can cause a great number of misunderstandings at work and in the end lead to distress. So, it is important to communicate your realistic goals, targets and responsibilities with your team and your manager on time. Team discussions and meetings with your manager can relieve a lot of stress.
6. How can you eliminate stressful situations?
Answer: There are different ways to handle different stressful situations. Within Eustress and Distress there are two types of stressful situation; Perceived stress and Real stress. Perceived stress is your way of thinking, what you perceive out of the situation. Counseling and talking about how you are thinking and feeling can help a lot in such situations. Real Stress is when you are physically in a lot of stressful situation and the issue cannot be eliminated but can only be handled calmly. For example of Real stress; you are stuck in a traffic jam and you are late for an interview for promotion at your office. Now in such situation you cannot eliminate the stress of being stuck in traffic but you can call in your boss and/or the interviewer and let them know your situation and ask to postpone the interview for some other time. What is required in such situations is to stay calm, think positive and not to lose temper.
7. What is the “fight or flight” response? How does it relate to stress?
Answer: Fight or Flight are the two reactions faced when one is under a lot of stress. “Fight” is the reaction when you want to face the stress and deal with the problem. “Flight” is the reaction when you want to run away from the situation at hand and just stay away from it and not solve the issue.
8. Can you give five suggestions to relieve stress?
Answer: Some of the suggestions that are most helpful in relieving stress are: have a good breakfast, drink a lot of water, proper sleep and power naps. To deal with deadlines it is important to learn time management and prioritizing tasks. Finally, positive thinking and good communication skills can all reduce the level of stress at workplace.
9. What are some positive ways people deal with stress?
Answer: To find out causes of stress I conduct an activity in workshops called “Wheel of Life”. The wheel of life is categorized into different aspects of life; Social, Careers, Family, Finance, Health, Personal Growth and Spiritual. From a score of 1 to 10 participants are asked to rate each of these aspects of their lives. Then they are asked to write down what is lacking in each aspect after rating them. Each participant is then called on stage to be helped in giving solutions to aspects in which they score low. For example, if a participant is rated low on health and family then a suggestion is given to take family on a hiking trip. Now this way the participant can give time to family, take care of his/her health and also save time by doing both the things together.
10. What do you think is the greatest cause of stress for most people?
Answer: The greatest cause of stress identified in these workshops is that mostly people think they are stressed because of finance and career development. In order to earn maximum, they feel that a lot of time is given to career rather than to family and health. However, in the end of the sessions we always come up with solutions and tips to help these participants think of ways to eliminate maximum level of stress. The “Wheel of Life” activity is a good way to identify stressors and consequently find solutions to solve stressful situations.