Dealing with stress in the workplace

stress in the workplaceEntering any workplace can be akin to entering a zoo. Walk through the door and you’ll see all kinds of colourful types hollering and squawking and trying to be king of the Jungle. No wonder work can be stressful, especially if you see yourself as particularly low down in the food chain.

I find that visualisation can be an ideal way to deal with intimidating or annoying colleagues at work. If you have a boss who is more lion than lemur, then imagine them as a smaller and weaker creature, for example a mouse. In your mind’s eye watch huge mouse ears sprout from their forehead, their nose elongate and whiskers shoot out of both cheeks. Add a large pair of front teeth and a tail and then imagine them shrinking down until they are small speck on the floor. Now it’s time to change the image of you have of yourself. Just before you go into your meeting with them, picture yourself as a giant cat. Now who’s afraid?

This technique also works for fear of speaking in meetings, or presentations. Try picturing your audience as a bunch of cheeky monkeys, jumping up and down and throwing bananas. When it’s your turn to speak, imagine yourself as the biggest fattest gorilla in the jungle – think King Kong on a bad day. By seeing yourself as a large powerful presence, your fear of addressing an unruly audience should diminish.

Is stress in the workplace all bad? Not always. Stress can encourage us to perform at a higher level, spurring us on to greater achievements. And negative feedback should be seen as a gift. It gives us a chance to improve and work on our weaknesses before problems, spiral out of control. To continue the zoo analogy – it’s always better to hear the Lion arriving, than have it spring silent upon us.

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