Everyone has heard about stress and how it affects our health, and it often seems like it’s presence has become a norm in everyday life. However, it is scientifically proved that stress is not always negative. Read below the difference between positive and negative stress, also reveal some tips for improving stress tolerance in the work environment. 

Positive or Negative?

Health experts have classified stress into two categories – negative stress and positive stress.

Positive stress acts as a motivating stimulus, makes us focused, energized and allow to achieve our desired goal, for example, waiting for an important event or go in front of public and to not forget your speech. Negative stress (also known as distress) occurs when a person feels unable to perform or to cope with any kind of situation, distress can be short or long term.

However, most often we see and feel stress with its negative meaning. Stress arises from a variety of circumstances, and it’s different for everyone. Due to stress, there are many people who eat less than they should, they are struggling with sleep and it causes fatigue or nervousness or even led people to anxiety, that affects daily chores. In any case, constant stress can affect our body badly and can lead to mental and physical problems. 

What causes stress?

Although it may seem that stress is most often caused by external conditions, such as job responsibilities or unexpected situations or conflicts, in fact, stress begins with a person’s inability to cope with his emotions and the inner world.

Studies by the American Psychological Association show that nowadays the main reason that causes stress is our job – job responsibilities and pressure from the employer.

However, we must understand that these external conditions are one of the reasons for our stress. Stress is caused by the inability of a person to understand the circumstances that are sometimes impossible to influence. Thereby, we can conclude that we ourselves are the ones that allow us to absorb stress and we ourselves are the ones who can eliminate the presence of stress.

What should we do?

In order to avoid stress, it is important to keep up with your mental balance and to learn to listen to your body in order to be able to assess the correct behavior in high-stress conditions. 

By allowing stress to take over, we are threatened by a situation that affects our ability to concentrate and think rationally, which means that we are not able to have a qualitative performance during our workday.

Recommendations, that should be put in practice in order to reduce the negative effects of stress, have been heard by most of us, but it is known that not everyone succeeds in practically applying it. However, it is important to understand that all the suggestions, including those mentioned below, are attributable to one category, which is “Caring For You”.

Our feelings and self-confidence significantly affect how we see the world and how we react to external and internal events.

First of all, people should start with themselves by controlling their inner world and emotions, because if we are gonna be negative and angry, we can give nothing good for others and most importantly – it will only affect us negatively. Therefore, respect yourself and other people, and do not allow yourself to lose emotional balance.

5 Tips For Improving Stress Tolerance In The Work Environment

Here are those 5 tips for improving stress tolerance in the work environment that we promised.

1. Relaxation

First of all, it is very important to learn how to relax and find the time during your day where you could rest and forget your work and other duties just for a minute. It could be a 20-minute long walk, few minutes of meditation or any other activity, that allows you to forget your daily chores and “restart” yourself.

It is worth taking this relaxation time to look at yourself, your thoughts and your feelings, assessing why these feelings are exactly what they are.

If, “entering yourself”, you feel anxiety associated with any day’s events or responsibilities, do not be afraid to spend time evaluating why you have these feeling, because only that way you will able to learn and understand the cause of your stress and keep it in balance. 

By regularly giving time to self-observation, you improve your personality and create your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to feel and understand your feelings in different situations, controlling the emotional condition and finding a balance between mind and emotion.

Improving this ability is important for everyone since it could help you in any situation of life. Life does not stop, it just goes forward and new events or unexpected situations are an integral part of it, so if we do not learn to control and recognize our emotional state, everyday events can make our lives very stressful, negatively affecting the quality of life.

2. Planning

An important prerequisite for improving the quality of life and helping to avoid over-stress is to schedule a day in advance.

Evaluate priorities and create your “to-do” list, determining which duties should be done first. It is important to separate your job duties from your daily routines so that you can objectively plan the amount of work that you can do during work and everyday duties that you need to do in your spare time.

Remember, it is important to understand that “more” does not mean “the best”. Often, worrying about the duties that we need to do during the day, we put ourselves under stress, that can lead us to anxiety and uncontrollable fears. Therefore, in order to avoid such unfavorable outcome, evaluate your day-to-day responsibilities and organizes them according to the priorities and time allocated to them. For planning, you can use a variety of solutions starting with MS Excel tables and ending with professional planning solutions like Evernote or Asana. Remember, stress will not take you over if you gonna plan your day rationally.

3. Hobbies

Despite the fact that you should plan your everyday responsibilities, it is very important that you do not forget about your hobbies which brings you positive emotions. It’s a myth that only people who do not have many duties and have a lot of free time can have hobbies. True, it’s harder for those who have a job and other responsibilities to find time to relax on their already busy schedule and give themselves a permission that they could do nothing for a little while or do what they enjoy (your hobbies).

Nowadays, people talk so much about boosting their productivity with hard work, that when you spend your time relaxing or doing what you really love, people often feel guilty, because our subconscious gives us signals, that we should do something “useful”. 

The idea that you should work more in order be productive and complete as much as possible, is false. In order to concentrate and create new ideas, it is necessary to have breaks, where you do not bother your mind about the job. You should focus on something totally else. Therefore,

it is essential to relieve your brain of thinking about work and do a hobby that you love, because that is one of the ways of how to relieve stress and gain positive emotions.

In order for your hobby to help you in stress tolerance, it is important to further use the first precondition for self-identification as it will facilitate the “switching” from work duties to your way of relaxation. Hobbies are an important indicator of the quality of life that gives a new horizon and increase creativity.

4. Positivism – be optimistic

Absolutely misleading is the idea that being a positive means to smile every day and all the time and not to be sad about what happened differently from what was expected to happen.

Positivism is the ability to accept the situation as it stands and appreciate the experience that it gives us, so any experience is rationally evaluated and brought to the positive side.

This feature cannot be separated from the emotional intelligence, in order of its development, we gonna learn how to control it naturally and understand our emotions. However, to gain this ability, it is essential to enjoy both – positive and negative emotions. 

It is important to understand that positivism is closely related to changing attitudes and rational assessment of the situation – it is the ability to distinguish between experience and outcome. It is essential to accept your negative feelings, to evaluate them, understanding their causes and consequences, looking at the result through the prism of experience.

In this situation, there appear many feelings, that are both – positive and negative, However, these feelings are essential for your emotional intelligence. Negative situations are inevitable and you should face them, but you do not have to admit them. Remember, negative emotions can be changed by changing our thinking, knowing ourselves, creating a new understanding of the situation. So remember that stress usually comes from how subjective and emotional we perceive each situation and whether we can look at it objectively.

5. Physical activities

Even a fast 20-minute walk could help you as a tool in order to decrease your stress level.

Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to calm your mind and body. It is not necessary to go to the gym or fitness workouts, but any regular movements are a great friend for your health.

Including walking or any other activity in your daily schedule, you ensure that your brain and body will relax, at the same time giving you an extra energy. Therefore, company’s should introduce “group” walks (taking walks with your co-workers) or introduce a physical activity competition program. Thus, motivating their employees with some awards. Physically active employees are healthier, productive and friendlier with their colleagues.

Bear in mind, that stress tolerance is an ongoing self-improvement process and a regular exercise, that requires self-discipline.