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Paul Abraham: Stress management using Kaizen

By Paul Abraham of www.headingonwards.com

In 2020 research of British adults in employment showed that a staggering 79% commonly experience work-related stress.

This makes work-related stress the most common form of stress in the UK, compared to 59% in 2018.

There are many reasons that can be attributed to the huge rise in identified cases of stress in the workplace, but the impact on the individual can be devastating.

Here are some stress management tips, based on the Kaizen methodology developed whilst working with some blue-chip companies to help you cope with the ever-increasing stress levels our working life put us under.

Keep a positive attitude, at times easier said than done, but just by having positive comments and affirmative written on post-it notes placed on mirrors around the house or on your laptop screen will enhance a more positive attitude.

Accept that there are events that you cannot control. Do not waste time worrying about things you have no control over. You cannot influence the outcome; it will only cause you additional stress.

Be assertive without being aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions or beliefs in a calm, lucid way. Try not to become angry, defensive, or passive, keep calm and put your argument and views across in a controlled manner. Having control will release the stress hormones that can become really damaging.

Learn and practice relaxation techniques, if you’re feeling stressed then walk away and spend a couple of minutes doing a mindfulness and relaxing routine such as closing your eyes, breathing in through your nose for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of four and then exhaling through your mouth for a count of four. After just five of these cycles you will feel calmer and focused.

Exercise on a regular basis. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit. But this doesn’t mean having to go jogging for ten miles a day or pumping weights in a gym for an hour, it can start by marching on the spot in front of your television for a minute and then building it up to five or ten minutes, then walking to and back from the end of your street.

Remember you are not trying to prove anything to anybody, it’s your fitness programme and small steps and victories are the way to succeed in the long-term.

Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Instead of a late evening sandwich have some pieces of fruit or fat-free yoghurt. Re-evaluate your diet, are you getting all the nutrients that you need to stay healthy and cope with any stressful situation.

Set limits appropriately and learn to say no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life. Decide how much time you can devote to something and cultivate the art of saying no. You may be surprised at how much better this can make you feel

Make time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation. We all need “me” time, whatever takes your mind off the stresses of work and everyday life is a massive benefit to your mental strength and coping mechanisms.

Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events. If you do not allow your body to recover both physically and mentally the risk of illness increases exponentially. You wouldn’t allow your mobile phone to run out of charge regularly, why would you do it to your body?

Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or other compulsive behaviours to reduce stress, they don’t! Any initial benefit will be short lived and can lead to additional problems in the long run. Practice breathing techniques, meditation, or mindfulness to help keep you calm and in control of your emotions.

Seek out social support. Spend enough time with those you enjoy being with and can relate and open up to. Admitting that you are feeling under stress is not a weakness but is a strength as you realise you need some help and advice. Take support when offered, there is no shame in needing help at times.


“We don’t become heroes overnight – One step at a time, eventually discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Next article “Studying in a Kaizen way”.

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