Ease Work Stress

Ease Work Stress

Do you work with people who are cranky, antsy, or fed up to the point of negatively acting out toward you and others? If so, you're not alone. A recent survey says 43% of Americans have been targets of workplace rudeness no thanks to a shaky economy.

Here are three great reasons you shouldn't put up with it:

  • It infects your home life. Rudeness has a ripple effect. Bringing home bad vibes can make things tense there. Rinse off tension with a stress-relieving walk at the end of the day.
  • It's a health threat. Negativity and chronic stress boost your blood pressure and the threat of heart disease and lung problems. Being positive and polite does just the opposite. Give stress the pink slip and avoid these chronic diseases.
  • It's bad for business. Half of all workers who've been targets of a nasty work situation waste work time dodging or worrying about the next attack. One in five doesn't work as hard, and one in 10 finds ways to spend less time on the job. Work stress costs the economy $300 billion a year, and plenty of it is "people stress."

If you're stuck in a toxic work environment, try these steps to help you rise above the ugliness and bring back respect:

  • Practice the Golden Rule. Respect others, look for the best in people, speak kindly, and bite your tongue when you're about to gossip about a coworker. Really listen to colleagues. Genuine kindness will help you build stronger connections and give your longevity a boost.
  • Outsmart the office jerk. Every watercooler's got one: the complainer who always sees the dark side. To protect yourself, consider changing your break time to avoid the verbal toxin. And think upbeat thoughts after a run-in. Being optimistic can boost immunity. Here's why.
  • Find an ally. If there's rampant incivility at work, talk with your boss or have a chat with human resources (especially if you're a target). Business-psychology experts emphasize that real change only comes from the top.
  • Find meaning in what you do. Work's not easy these days, but renewing your commitment to your job can help you shrug off the ill effects of incivility (and make you nicer, too). Even if you have to dig, find satisfaction and purpose in all that you do -- even if that means finding a new passion or retraining for a new job.
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