LifeWorks: Coping with Pressure at Work

A study conducted by the Northwestern National Life Insurance Company and reported on the CDC website, found that one-fourth of all employees view their work as the number one source of stress in their lives. The following tips can help you cope:

• Deal with the situation directly. Avoid complaining to co-workers, customers, or others who can’t help you solve the problem. Instead, talk with a trusted mentor or friend to come up with a solution strategy.

• Talk with your manager if he or she has shown concern for employee stress. If you feel overwhelmed, let your manager know. Bring up work obstacles, but propose solutions instead of just griping. Let your manager know if you might benefit from more training, a new software program, or having a more flexible schedule.

• Consider meeting confidentially with human resources (HR) if you think your manager is a source of your stress or if a problem remains unresolved after you have discussed it with your manager. HR may be able to suggest ways to handle the situation or tell you about helpful resources your manager hasn’t already suggested. Your employee assistance program (EAP) or the program that provided this publication can also offer support and resources on coping with stress at work.

• Control what you can in your environment and try to become better organized. Reduce the clutter at your desk or workstation. Use headphones or take other steps to reduce noises that bother you. Develop a better system for responding to calls and emails and managing other daily tasks that are adding to your stress. Even small changes can make you feel more in control at work. Focus on what you are able to accomplish each day rather than on what else needs to be done.

• Picture yourself staying calm. Close your eyes and visualize yourself staying calm before you start work each day. You can put up a calming screensaver or a photo on your desk to help you relax.

• Breathe deeply. Inhale slowly through your nose, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Try to do this 10 times once or twice a day at work. This can help to reduce stress all day. Practice deep-breathing exercises at home, too.

The LifeWorks program also provides a network of counselors who can offer you in-person support. The service is free and available 24/7, whenever you need it, and it’s completely confidential. No one at work or at home will be told that you’re using the service. You can also find online resources at including
• a new podcast, Getting Help for Depression
• Brief, online self-assessments like Are You Depressed?, Are Life Changes Causing You Stress?, and Do You Have a Drinking Problem?
• a library of helpful articles including Anxiety Disorders, Choosing a Counselor or Therapist, Recognizing a Substance Abuse Problem and What To Do, or Recognizing and Dealing with Depression in the Workplace.
• a Mindfulness Toolkit, featuring brief guided audio exercises led by well-known experts to help you manage and reduce feelings of worry and stress.
Call LifeWorks at 888-267-8126 or visit

Employee Assistance Program, lifeworks, stress management