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What causes stress?

In today’s high pressured world, stress is a sad but true reality for most working men and women. However, There are ways to deal with it.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 14, 2009 20:47 IST

The economic slowdown has taken its toll on everyone —salary cuts, layoffs, job insecurity, constant anxiety. Living in a pressure-cooker-like situation causes constant stress. This in turn leads to hypertension, diabetes and various lifestyle diseases. Workplace stress is common these days. Here are its main causes:

1. Meetings and more meetings: There are offices where the employees are always in meetings. Discussion and ideation are healthy exercises, but doing them all the time implies that while the staff is talking and exchanging ideas, there is less time to implement them. This again leads to stress. If meetings are long, they should be held less frequently.

2. Job Insecurity: Psychiatrists say that people are pushing their limits and overworking because they are afraid they might be sacked. “This leads to competition within the team. People try and outdo each other. This can stress everybody out — those who are trying to shine as well as those who feel they are the underdogs,” says Dr Gorav Gupta, psychiatrist at Tulsi Rehabilitation Centre, Delhi

3. Politics At Work: Experts say that a lot of anxiety at the workplace is the result of interpersonal relationships that are going downhill. Psychiatrist Dr Deepak Raheja of Hope Foundation, Delhi, says, “Politicking colleagues are the major cause of stress these days. Everyone wants to know what others are doing. This leads to a lot of irritation and cumulative frustration.”

4. Inability To Maintain Work Life Balance: People carry their domestic problems to work and vice versa. This leads to the mixing of the two domains and things slip out of control. Says Dr Raheja, “Since Indians have not yet adapted themselves to the culture of long working hours, they fail to attain the required balance. If your wife yells at you, you take it out on your colleagues and go home and scream if things haven't gone well at work.

5. Tight Deadlines: There is increasing competition and by the time people achieve one target, they find that they have another, bigger target to meet. This might mean they are either overburdened or are not too good at time management. And once they find that the mountain of work is too high for them to scale, they vent their frustration with angry outbursts.

The solutions

When you are about to get into a fight with a colleague over something trivial, take a step back and leave the room for a while. Do some deep breathing. Get back inside only when you can think clearly

Foods like chocolate are supposed to help focus your mind. Have a small bar before a meeting, especially if it's later in the day. It will help you shake off the mid-day lethargy. Coffee gives you a bigger jolt, but tea has almost the same effect and nutrition-wise it is a far better option

Practise yoga at home. Besides helping you concentrate better, this may correct sitting postures that often leave you feeling tired and irritated. .

To maintain a good work-life balance, make the most of your time at work keeping distractions at bay, but make sure to leave the office when you are supposed to, for some me-time.