Students at Work: Stress Control System

Stressed Student

When it comes to the finish of a studying or working day, one person feels okay to go to the theatre, museum or stadium and has a great mood, while another one feels exhausted and worried. Why are they in such different states of mind? Stress controlling system called “Demand-Control” will help you find answers to this question. Psychologists say that the reason is hidden in demands put by a professional position occupied by this or that person. If a person is in control of their work and there is a freedom given to them, they will be more effective and less vulnerable to stress.

About the System

This system was developed in 1979 by Robert Karasek. He determined two main parameters influencing the person’s stress level: demands for work and freedom of choice.

  • Demands for work: those are stressors from a working environment, like close deadlines, complicated goals, regular irritators and distractors as well as pressure and conflicts.
  • Freedom of choice (autonomy): it is about the level where people can control their job.

During his researches, Karasek noticed people having high working demands and a small freedom of choice at the same time. At the end of their working day, they felt themselves empty, they felt it difficult to wake up in the morning and they were more likely to fall into depression and stress. He noticed, that high demands combined with a maximal freedom of choice do not lead to such consequences.

Using a System

Despite this system being far from perfection, you can use it in order to get more freedom (or to present it to your team if you are a leader), especially in demanding situations. As a result, you’ll get a higher satisfaction from your work and will reduce your stress level significantly.

Lower Stress Consciously

First, you need to enlist situations causing stress. You can write a diary during a week and analyze your life. Once you get a list consisted of several points, think about possibilities for you to get more freedom when doing your job.

For instance, if you feel tension because of deadlines, you can consider following possibilities:

  • Start the project immediately, do not wait for a moment when there is no choice at all. Overcome your procrastination.
  • Get ready for a task in advance. The fact that you were not tasked to finish a project yet does not mean you can’t do a thing. For instance, if you are an artist and you know that soon you’ll receive a creative task for a certain topic, collect additional info about it, develop your skills, read literature. And when you get your project, you’ll be able to start it at once, without devoting time for preparations.
  • Minimize the quantity of distracting factors when at work. Most people waste half of their time to speak about what a difficult task they’ve got instead of working on it. Stop surfing the net pointlessly, watching football, playing games: you’ll be able to let yourself do that after the project is finished.
  • Talk to your boss about lowering the quantity of unnecessary processes. Almost any company suffers from bureaucracy, and workers spend their time not for work but for expecting to get the required paper with a permission.

Set and Control Limits

“Limits” are excellent ways to concentrate on the point. You focus on your own needs and goals. Remember that you have a task that has to be completed before the deadline expires and with a required level of quality while there are other people demanding your attention and taking your time.

When you put limits, you need to control them attentively. If you see colleagues regularly breaking them, then show assertiveness: learn to refuse politely, maintaining good relationships with people. Keep a thought about having your right to refuse in your mind, because otherwise you gift your time to another person and sacrifice your own goals. The habit of saying “yes” to every irritator can lead you towards excessing the deadline and getting a huge dose of stress.

Build Good Connections

You can’t stay without communication at work. If you built good relationships with your colleagues, you’ll have a great mood.

Friendly Student

We mentioned the need to put limits and to say “no” to other people’s requests. But things are not that simple. Be wise and help colleagues if necessary, because connections can be your priority.

That is a very thin balance between helping yourself and the others. You can plan your time in the way to be good in both components if you master the art of time-management.

Minimize the Number of Irritators

Create another list, and now write down all irritators. Don’t feel shy, place even the most negligible ones. 30 seconds for looking through the browser should be included there, too.

Pay special attention to activity that seems to be controversial. If you drink coffee 3-4 times per day and it takes 2 hours of your time, ask yourself if that is not too much.

You have to enlist coupe dozens of irritators. Excluding a half of them may make you lose nothing but add you some more time.

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