Being in control helps overcome stress

‘Workplace stress’ is frequently used to describe the negative elements that can make our places of work unpleasant and difficult environments.

Stress is the body’s response to a threat or challenge, with the main psychological response being anxiety. So how do we deal with effectively with anxiety?

We need to recognise that mild to moderate anxiety is a normal, healthy response because anxiety helps us to take action to avoid a negative consequence.

Embrace the anxiety and ask yourself the following:

‘what’s the negative consequence that I’m trying to avoid and what action do I need to take?”

Make notes; sight is the dominant sense, when we see things written down, we feel more in control.

Channel your emotional energy appropriately; don’t put lots of effort into the issues you can’t control, let them go – save your energy for the things that you can control.

It’s important to remember that the only person whose behaviour you can control is your own; redefine success in terms of your behaviour, not other people’s.

It’s important not to define success as the boss doing what you would like him or her to do. Success comes from preparing well for the meeting and conducting yourself in a calm, professional and dignified manner. If the boss does what you would like them to, that’s a bonus!

As the American theologian Reinhold Niebur put it:

‘… grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference’.

Bosses can help too. Employees feel more in control, and less stressed when they have an input into decision making in the workplace.

Employees involved in decision making feel more committed than those who have decisions imposed on them.

However, it’s important to help employees understand that being consulted doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to get everything they would like!

For more information about MOHS’s counselling and CBT therapies, call 0121 601 4041, email or go online at

Dr Rick Norris is the author of ‘Think Yourself Happy – the Simple 6-Sep Programme to Change your Life from Within.