Being placed in situations that demand the impossible almost inevitably lead to stress. Unrealistic deadlines to meet useless goals, enforced by unreasonable managers – are an all too common scenario. But individuals who find themselves in such circumstances still have options.
There are a dozen small, stress-relieving exercises that can help ease the symptoms while working toward the long-term cure. Stress produces a number of well-documented physiological effects like muscle tension, shallow breathing and compromised immune system. To combat these, you can take direct action.
Take a few deep breaths, slowly. No need to go into some kind of Zen state, just allow yourself to expand the chest and relieve tension around the center of the body. Stretch the arms and shoulders. Gently work the head from side to side. Flex the calves.
Take a few minutes to work on your mental processes as well. Stress often inhibits the ability to focus or concentrate effectively. It decreases memory retention on needed items because the irritation causes focus to shift to the fact of being angry.
While you’re breathing deeply, close your eyes and meditate for a couple of minutes. Again, that doesn’t require any form of deep relaxation, just a moment to let the external world go. At the same time, you don’t want to focus solely on the anger or stress you’re feeling. Focus on an internal image of something pleasant – a child’s face, the family dog, a great golf swing, anything that works for you.
Now that you’ve tackled the symptoms, go after the roots of the problem.
Many choose to start their own businesses. That choice brings with it a whole new set of challenges, but the overarching benefit is the freedom to meet them. You’ll find yourself working long hours with little recognition. But, even in the absence of large external rewards, the internal rewards – the satisfaction, the feeling of being the ‘commander of your own ship’ – is frequently cited as a major incentive for those who keep trying.
Many others will try to work for positive change within their current organization. Even when those efforts are only partially successful, individuals report that they gain satisfaction from the knowledge that they are not simply accepting their unpleasant fate passively.
You can make efforts to transfer to another job within the organization, or look forward to the day when that unreasonable boss will have moved on. Remember, very few things in any company stay the same for more than six months to a year.
While you’re waiting for better circumstances, focus on the process less than the results. Keep a realistic attitude about what is and what is not within your control. Try not to let the latter matter very much. Seek out the cooperative individuals in the company and don’t burden yourself with trying to change the others.
By all means, let off some steam to trusted friends and family members outside work. At work, stay focused on the task.