managing stress at work

Popular medical dramas tell us that a handsome emergency room doctor can ease a beautiful patient’s panic attack with simple breathing exercises. He saves her life, they fall in love and before you know it, you are wiping away tears of joy as they ride off into the sunset after a lavish and impromptu emergency room wedding.

A panic attack in real life is not glamorous.

Panic attacks are distressing, exhausting and may be difficult to climb out of once you’re deep in its throes. For many of us, panic is a voice in our head, loudly and constantly reminding us of all the things we should be worrying about.  

The best cure is to avoid panic entirely by mitigating the factors that cause it.  

Sounds simple. Unfortunately, life will always throw unexpected challenges at us to try and knock us down. So while it is not possible to avoid all panic all of the time, you can reduce the external factors that contribute to panic attacks at work.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to build a culture that fosters positivity and employee well-being, which will greatly help your team and yourself manage stress at work. The first step to organizational transformation is to invite a mental health keynote speaker to join an all-staff event as a presenter. Expert like Adam Markel will inspire your employees to focus on self-care and show you how to implement stress management techniques at work to improve well-being and reduce overall job stress. 

The work you do together will cultivate a more positive and productive workforce, ultimately leading to growth and sustainable success for your organization.

Beyond the Bottom Line: Why Managing Stress at Work Matters 

Workplace stress is a major factor that may contribute to an employee having a panic attack at work. Stress also significantly impacts an organization’s bottom line. According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress affects 83% of U.S. workers and costs businesses up to $300 billion annually in lost productivity and absenteeism.

As a leader, you have an opportunity and responsibility to implement strategies for managing stress in the workplace.

This means being proactive by offering resources and stress management activities for employees. Part of your role is cultivating a positive workplace culture where the well-being of employees is paramount. Additionally, it is important to recognize the signs of workplace stress if it does arise and take decisive action to mitigate its effects. Eliminating or reducing stressors at work goes a long way toward improving employee morale, reducing turnover and increasing productivity. 

Demonstrating to your team that their mental health and overall well-being matter builds a positive and productive workplace culture that will help your organization grow exponentially. 

Top 6 Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace to Reduce Panic and Increase Productivity

Even if you do have a Hollywood emergency room doctor on staff ready to magically cure any panic attack that occurs at work, it is still important to implement effective strategies for managing stress in the workplace.

Following these six steps for managing stress at work will transform your team from panic to productivity, resulting in a workplace culture of employee well-being where each individual feels supported and encouraged to be their best self.

1. Promote Self-Awareness 

Self-awareness is more than just a buzzword, it’s an ability that can and should be developed.  

The greatest leaders recognize this and encourage employees to be mindful of their thoughts, feelings and emotions at work. By becoming more aware of their inner experiences compared to external influences, employees can increase their ability to cope with stress at work and in life. Managing stress before it becomes overwhelming is key to avoid having a panic attack at work.

That inner voice telling you everything you need to worry about doesn’t always interpret reality accurately. It tends to ignore external factors while intensifying feelings of stress and panic. The first step in dealing with stress at work is to become more self-aware. Heightening self-awareness can silence this voice and reduce stress, which can virtually eliminate panic.

Elevating self-awareness can also help unearth the underlying causes of stress and start creating practical solutions to manage it. Support your employees on a journey of self-discovery by encouraging them to reflect on their thoughts and emotions. This might include offering a safe space and allocated time for wellness daily rituals such as journaling, meditation or mindfulness practices at work.

Promoting self-awareness naturally fosters a supportive workplace culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their feelings and seeking help when needed. It’s an effective way to cope with stress at work and deepens connections within the team. It also strengthens their trust in you, which combats the effects of stress and improves overall well-being.

2. Practice Mindfulness at Work

Mindfulness means being fully present and attentive at the moment without judgment or distraction. As a leader, practicing mindfulness at work and encouraging your employees to do the same creates a culture where the well-being of employees is first and foremost.  Mindfulness helps employees improve focus, manage emotions more effectively and increase their ability to remain present and engaged with their work. 

Some effective mindfulness strategies you can implement for managing stress in the workplace are to offer meditation or yoga sessions and create time and space for journaling or self-reflection. Ensure that you model the mindfulness behaviors you wish to see in your team and encourage them to participate.

By cultivating a culture of mindfulness, you will help employees feel more grounded, centered and focused, which will ultimately result in increased resiliency, productivity and a more positive work environment. 

3. Encourage Breaks to Eliminate Panic Attacks at Work

There is a reason why we take breaks at work — research shows that allowing employees time to step away from their responsibilities and refresh their minds and bodies is critical to workplace performance. Taking a break, even a short one, can lower stress, boost concentration and creativity and enhance both mental and physical health. Encouraging your employees to take breaks generates energy and motivation to avoid fatigue and burnout.

The best way to encourage breaks is to offer a comfortable and relaxing space where employees can engage in activities that allow them to recharge, such as light exercise, meditation, self-reflection, reading or simply socializing with coworkers. 

More than implementing stress management in the workplace, encouraging your team to allow their minds and bodies a break is simply the right thing to do. When you prioritize breaks, you are building resilience, increasing productivity and creating a workplace culture that puts employees first. 

4. Foster a Supportive Work Environment

Without support, things fall. Whether it is buildings, bridges or people, having the right foundation of support is essential. As a leader, you can demonstrate your support by conducting regular one-on-one meetings, providing opportunities for feedback and giving recognition for a job well done. By encouraging collaboration, communication and consideration, you are creating a sense of community and “got your back” culture

A supportive work environment also helps your team develop greater resilience, which is critical to their ability to bounce forward through challenges and stressful situations. 

When you show your team that you support and value them, you are helping them build the skills necessary for dealing with stress at work

5. Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is one of those warm and fuzzy feelings that can make a stormy day seem like summer. As a leader, offering that to your team by acknowledging their contributions and expressing appreciation for them and their work. It’s one of the most rewarding things you can do.

Incorporating gratitude into your routine can be as simple as starting meetings with a few words of appreciation or keeping a daily gratitude journal, but its effects are profound. Not only will practicing gratitude cultivate a sense of appreciation and positivity in your employees, but it will also make your day meaningful.

Gratitude is contagious.  

The feelings and words of gratitude that will pass from employee to employee generate one of the best stress management techniques you can deploy in the workplace.  Before you know it, the culture will transform into one of positivity and support, resulting in increased growth and accelerated success for your organization.

6. Provide Stress Management Resources and Training

Providing resources and training is another important stress management technique at work that you can offer as a leader. For instance, inviting a mental health speaker to your corporate event raises awareness about mental health and shows your team that their overall well-being matters to you. This expert speaker will offer practical tips for managing stress at work that will help transform panic into productivity. 

You may also consider providing resources such as counseling services, employee assistance programs and wellness activities. Offering these stress management activities for employees to participate in demonstrates your commitment to creating a positive and more resilient workplace culture.

Transform Panic into Productivity by Reducing Workplace Stress

When it comes to transforming panic into productivity, the answer is to be proactive.  Implement the strategies outlined above and engage a mental health keynote speaker to eliminate the work stressors that lead to fatigue, burnout and eventually, panic attacks. Focusing on stress management in the workplace will also demonstrate that your employees’ mental and physical well-being is of utmost importance.

When stress is ahead, ensure employees avoid panic by being a supportive leader.