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Workplace Stress and Your Health

Experts explain the dangers of work-related stress and provide solutions.

How to Respond to Stressful Situations continued...

Next, she suggests, "Express your opinion about the situation. You can say, 'I don't think it's possible for me to work at a faster capacity.'" And, when you explain yourself? Leave the histrionics behind.

Don't end it there. "Ask for what you need," Kauffman tells WebMD. Be specific, in terms of resources, time, or whatever it is that will help you do your job.

Finally, urges Kauffman, "Reinforce the relationship." Show appreciation for the support you get from your boss.

Just can't seem to get along with someone at work? You're not going to click easily with everyone, but you can learn to make a relationship work. "If you don't have a natural rapport with someone, you've got to create it," says Karen Leland, president of Sterling Consulting Group and author of Watercooler Wisdom: How Smart People Prosper in the Face of Conflict, Pressure, and Change. Here's how. Learn to understand and evaluate a co-worker's style," Leland tells WebMD. Then, you can be "in step" with just about everyone you work with, whether they have a quiet and analytical working style or an expressive working style.

Ready to walk away from your job altogether? "Take some opportunity to step back from the situation and really assess what's going on. Most decisions that people think they need to make immediately, they don't. Look at some alternatives. Talk to people you trust before making a decision," Tuzman offers.

Behaviors That Promote Stress Relief

Even if you don't suffer a severe illness from work-related stress, it can leave you feeling fatigued and run-down, or anxiety-ridden. To combat these unhealthy, unbalanced feelings, try activities that are considered both "invigorators" and "soothers," encourages Scott Meit, PsyD, vice chairman for psychology with The Cleveland Clinic's department of psychiatry and psychology.

To get invigorated, exercise. "Exercise is very important for your emotional balance," Meit tells WebMD. What about those busy executives pressed for time? "Schedule exercise. If you treat it like a board meeting, it gets done," Meit says. Simply too tired? "The research is very clear that exercise, within your capacity, gives back energy," Meit says.

Soothe with relaxation. Garrison, who teaches stress management programs, says that of all the stress-relieving techniques he suggests, his students report the most relief from relaxation techniques.

"From traditional techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation to tai chi and meditation, these seem to be the No. 1 way for people to find balance," Garrison tells WebMD.

"Once you start to engage in these activities, it starts to provide a solution," Meit says.

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Reviewed on September 12, 2007

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