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Archive for the ‘Stress Management’ Category

Hostile Emails at Work

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Emailing in Business CommunicationIt’s a common, maddening occurrence: You innocently open an email from a colleague, customer or boss only to suddenly feel ambushed by its contents. The sender blames you for a problem you didn’t create, unfairly accuses you of sabotaging a project, or negatively interprets something you said. Even worse, he or she cc’s the email to your superiors.

As you stare at the offensive message, your vision blurs. You feel blood rushing to your face. Your heart beats faster. Your stomach drops. Your strongest impulse is to render justice by striking back.

Though it’s hard to remember, you do have a choice in that moment. You can either react out of anger, and fire back a harsh retort, or you can close the infuriating email, and calm down.

Which do you do? Our survey reveals that the usual response is to get ticked off, and retaliate. You then get into a battle with that person that can last for weeks at a time.

Opportunities to take offense in the world of email are high. Email is a form of communication without buffers, interpreters or pauses. The cc mechanism lends itself to either “tattling” on your co-workers or being told on to your supervisors.

But if your goal is to resolve workplace conflicts without hurting your reputation, reacting in anger doesn’t work. Why? Because you’re likely to send your first (and worst) thoughts to the recipient. Angry email responses injure the relationship, and damage your credibility.

The first thing to do when an email makes your blood boil is to calm yourself down. Draft files were created to hold (and filter) our angry e-bursts. Why is it that so few people are able to answer hostile emails in a cool and professional way? Because the temptation to immediately “fire back” an email when you think you’ve been attacked is very strong.

The next time someone sends an e-missle your way, take whatever steps you can to cool down before responding. We recommend: closing the email, getting up from your desk, stretching, taking a few deep breaths, splashing water on your face, or walking around your office floor to collect your thoughts. If you can cool off, you’ll have a much better chance of responding in a calmer, more professional, more effective way.

By Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley. Used with permission. Visit their website: http://www.ksquaredenterprises.com/

Need help in this area? Working With You is Killing Me, hosted by Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley, provides the antidote to becoming “hooked” by a toxic co-worker, showing exactly how to take responsibility for addressing the problem and put a stop to it all.

4 Steps to Reducing Worry at Work

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Kent frazzled_medWorrying. It doesn’t feel good, yet at the same time it can seem as if we’re doing something necessary and even right when we worry. It might even seem as if not worrying means we don’t care or won’t take steps to prevent things going wrong. And we might wonder…without that nagging sense of worry, will we become apathetic blobs, sitting on the couch and watching television instead of taking action to remedy the problems in our lives?

Contrary to what many people believe, worry is not a natural state. It doesn’t help us plan, find ways to mitigate risk, or generally stay out of trouble. Quite the contrary: our brains are hard-wired to become less creative and responsive when we feel fearful or threatened – and what’s worry but an experience of threat, anxiety, and low-level fear? (more…)

Stress Busters: Tips for Dealing with the Stress of Leadership

Monday, April 7th, 2014

What can leaders do to better manage stress? Here are a few tips and tools from a team of experts from the Center Leadership Success Trainingfor Creative Leadership: Vidula Bal, Michael Campbell, Joan Gurvis and Sharon McDowell-Larsen.

Know the signals. Learn to pay attention to your body’s response to stress. What triggers a feeling of stress and what are your physiological responses? Do you feel your heart rate going up? Do you get hot? Do you clench your jaw? Get a headache? The sooner you recognize that your body is going into stress, the sooner you can do something to manage it.

Create a ritual. Make it a habit to have a stress break. For example, every 90 minutes get up from your desk and walk around or get out for some fresh air. Do some deep breathing, shoulder shrugs, or just close your eyes for one minute. Taking a mental or physical break is an important strategy for dealing with day-to-day stress. When things are extra stressful, you can rely on these same tactics to get you through.

Get away. Find effective ways to set boundaries between work and home life. Whatever works for you – listening to music on the commute home, turning off the cell phone and email during personal or family time, participating in a social activity or hobby – make time for it and keep your commitment to having a life outside of work.

Focus on fitness. A regular exercise program is the best way to minimize the negative health outcomes associated with the demands of the job. Under stress we build up certain hormones; exercise dissipates some of that. Make a commitment to exercising at least 30 minutes twice a week. Also, incorporate healthy practices such as adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet while reducing added sugars, fat and sodium. (more…)

Understanding Stress and Workplace Stress

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Stress is normal. Everyone feels stress related to work, family, decisions, your future, and more. Stress is both physical and mental. It Workplace Stressis caused by major life events such as illness, the death of a loved one, a change in responsibilities or expectations at work, and job promotions, loss, or changes.

Smaller, daily events also cause stress. This stress is not as apparent to us, but the constant and cumulative impact of the small stressors adds up to big impact.
In response to these daily stresses, your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to your muscles. This stress response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to any high-pressure situation.
However, when you are constantly reacting to small or large stressful situations, without making physical, mental, and emotional adjustments to counter their effect, you can experience stress that can hurt your health and well-being.

Stress can also be positive. You need a certain amount of stress to perform your best at work. The key to stress management is to determine the right amount of stress that will give you energy, ambition, and enthusiasm versus the wrong amount which can harm your health and well-being. (more…)

Basics of Time and Stress Management

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Stress Management TrainingThe role of leader can be very stressful! Management studies have suggested that these roles include a very wide mix of activities, most of which cannot always be controlled or even predicted. New managers and supervisors – especially supervisors – are almost overwhelmed with the demands of the job. They were probably promoted to be in charge of people, mostly because of their success in a previous role that was focused on developing a particular product or service. Suddenly, they’re faced with being in charge of people, which is much less predictable and has much less control than the supervisor had before. Consequently, the ability to manage time and stress is absolutely critical to the success of the roles of manager and leader.

The two topics of time management and stress management are often addressed together because they are so closely interrelated. (more…)

Becoming More Resilient – in 3 Easy Steps

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Becoming More Resilient in the WorkplaceResilience is the ability to be flexible in the face of adversity and apparent setback. Or, to put it in the words of one of our emotional intelligence experts, resilience is “the ability to bounce or spring back into shape after being stretched, bent, or compressed.”

In nature, we see resilience in trees that bend with the wind instead of breaking. In business, we see resilience in the organizations and individuals who adapt as situations evolve.

While some people seem to be born with naturally high levels of resilience, others of us struggle. The good news is that everyone has the capacity to become more resilient. (more…)

The Good News About Stress Management: How “Good” Stress Keeps Us Going & Growing

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Author: Barbara Schiffman, C.Ht.

Every health and lifestyle magazine contains articles claiming stress is bad for us. They list dozens of ways to relieve stress, from exercise to eating healthy foods. A wide range of relaxation techniques have also been proven to help manage stress in our crazy-busy world, especially for people who take care of others and tend to neglect themselves.

But stress is not always as bad as these cautionary articles insist. In fact, some stress is actually necessary to keep us going and growing. (more…)

Fight or Flight: The Evolution of Stress

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

IMAGINE you are a caveman out innocently picking berries when suddenly you come nose to nose with a saber-tooth tiger. While you were simply gathering, the tiger was actually hunting, and the sight of you makes his mouth water. (more…)

Calming Yourself Down – The Key to Not Making Matters Worse

Monday, September 20th, 2010

On the surface, organizations are about making money, delivering goods and services, and producing results. Scratch the surface of any organization, though, and you uncover a hotbed of emotions: people feeling anxious about performance, angry with co-workers, and misunderstood by management. Leaders are burnt out and workers are buried in resentment. Because many organizations call for unemotional behavior, individual feelings are often suppressed. Workers think their only options are to suck it up or quit.

People want to be productive and happy at work, but instead feel emotionally trapped. We have all had experiences with co-workers who drive us crazy. We get drawn into their personal problems, bad work habits, and irritating behaviors.

These situations drain our souls and harm our organizations, because the strength of an organization is in its employees. When there are problems in the workplace, it will affect the bottom line sooner or later.

What are some of the outcomes or consequences of unhealthy relationships at work?

• Employees don’t enjoy going to work

• People feel overwhelmed or disrespected on the job

• Tardiness, absenteeism, sick leave

• Reduced productivity or work quality

• Mental replay of conversations or interactions; inability to “get over it”

• Fatigue, illness, exhaustion

• Headaches, tension, stress

While handling workplace conflict is a multifaceted process, the first step you should take when you become frustrated – BEFORE you address the other person – is to calm down physically.

It’s a fact that when you are angry or upset, physical activity can often help you calm down and see the situation more objectively. It doesn’t have to be a 30-minute run – any type of physical movement can help you relax and think. Taking a physical break can often defuse your frustration and put you in a better position to think about the situation.

As an example, think about a time when you attended a meeting and something was said that upset you. What was your response? Did you become angry and then “check out” mentally? That’s a coping mechanism, but not one that offers you control. Deep breathing to calm yourself and release a little anger can help you check back into the meeting and respond objectively. Some other ideas for helping you physically calm down before dealing with a workplace conflict:

• Deep breathing

• Walk the hallway

• Step outside and enjoy the weather

• Splash cold water on your face

• Count to ten

Once you have gained control of your body and mind, you can more clearly think about the conflict situation and how to address your concerns with the other person.

Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to the video program Working With You is Killing Me.

Training Resource: Working With You is Killing Me offers practical advice on how to “unhook” from emotional traps at work and save yourself from needless stress.


 

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