It doesn’t matter what relaxation techniques you practice…

Stress vs Relaxation Techniques: Stress wins - Article 5(5)

In article 1-4 we have explored what it means to be stressed, how to recognise stress in yourself and others as well as at some health risks that comes with work-related stress. Now we will look at what can be done by you and your organisation.

If you or a co-worker is already suffering from symptoms of stress related illnesses such as forgetfulness, difficulty planning, light-headedness or tummy issues, there is need for so called tertiary interventions.

Tertiary interventions are designed to treat the illness, be it physical or psychological. These interventions are most often managed by health care providers, so contact your general practitioner (GP) for help if you are showing symptoms.

However, if you are in a stressful situation but are not yet ill from it, you are in need of so called secondary interventions as well as primary interventions.

The purpose of secondary interventions is to help you cope with and manage the stress you are experiencing. There are many different approaches to this and the interventions span everything from relaxation techniques to cognitive therapies and conflict resolution training. Even a well chosen spare time interest can work as a secondary intervention.

Finding an intervention that helps you can take some time but is time well spent. One relatively simple thing you can do is to take a 20 minutes walk during lunch. Regardless of speed you walk it will help your body to deal with overflow of stress related hormones.

What is good to know when you choose your spare time interest is that you will help your brain relax by doing something different compared to your workday.

If you have a spare time interest that stimulates the other half of your brain than what is normally stimulated during work you will feel more refreshed and relaxed afterwards than if you don’t.

That is, if you have a very theoretical job, with focus on facts and analysis, a creative and/or artistic spare-time interest will help your brain relax. Of course the other way around applies as well, if you have a creative or artistic job you will benefit from fact and analytical spare time interest such as reading a biography or solving a Sudoku.

What is always needed, regardless of if you are already suffering from stress related illnesses or have not quite reached that level of stress yet, are what is called primary interventions.

Primary interventions are aimed at your workplace. They focus on finding what tasks or situations in the workplace that causes you stress and doing something about it.

Wouldn’t you feel less stressed if that high pressure task you preform each day was done by your computer? Or if you and your colleagues communicated better with each other? What about a bit more verbal appreciation for hard work you put in, wouldn’t that also make you feel a bit better?

The primary interventions will make the work environment healthier for both you and your co-workers and reduce the risk of you developing a stress related illness. If you are already there, it will reduce the risk of you developing permanent health issues.

Let’s face it, there is no amount of relaxation techniques and no spare-time interest that can fully counter the effects of workplace stress. The only long-term solution is an improved work environment.

How long will you let your workenvironment stay the same?

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