Employee stress is a primary contributor to burnout, low morale, physical, mental and emotional issues, and in terms of your bottom line, increased turnover and higher insurance premiums. Therefore, it is important to provide your employees with tools for helping them to manage their stress.
There are generally three primary reactions to stress. In some cases, stress will create a physical reaction. In this case, an employee may find that stress causes headaches, backaches or stomach pain. The second possible reaction to stress is a mental and/or an emotional one. If an employee has a mental/emotional reaction to stress, they may have difficulty concentrating or worry a great deal. Finally, an employee may have a combination of both.
There are numerous stress antidotes that your employees can do that are very simple to complete. Here are a few examples:
- The simplest method for relaxation is to train your employees when they are feeling stressed, to consciously slow down their breathing rate. This simple process will help them to relax. Our breath serves as a conductor of many the body’s internal processes. When an employee slows down his or her breathing rate, he or she also slows down their heart rate and signals to the body that he or she is ready to relax. What’s positive about this simple technique of slow breathing is that an employee can continue their tasks while practicing this technique.
- Another exercise for employees who need a quick stress reliever and have more of a mental/emotional reaction is called “Stop, Breath, Reflect and Choose.” When an employee becomes aware that he or she can’t concentrate or is thinking in a worrisome way, the body literally experiences it as if it were in the present. The body cannot differentiate between imagination and reality, in fact recent research points to the fact that the same regions in the brain are triggered when something is visualized or seen in reality.
- When an employee is feeling stressed, have them follow the following procedure: First, internally say the word: “STOP,” then simultaneously take in a deep BREATH. This triggers the body’s natural relaxation response, and helps them move from an emotional response to a more cognitive one. Then have them REFLECT on the most positive thought that would create the least amount of stress and then CHOOSE that new focus. Research demonstrates that individuals who practice these types of stress management techniques develop a resistance to stress. Through supporting your employees in practicing these types of techniques, you will be helping your company through supporting your employees to be healthier, develop greater resiliency and be more productive.
Robert Lawrence Friedman, MA, president of Stress Solutions, Inc., is a corporate trainer, psychotherapist, software developer and author of three books including “How to Relax in 60 Seconds or Less.”Mr. Friedman has 15 of his stress workshops on DVD, has developed a desktop software program for employees, “Relaxation On-Demand” and has been providing his workshops and training programs to Fortune 500 corporations throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia for the past 27 years. For further information, visit www.stress-solutions.com or contact him at 718-520-1794.