Today, many of us struggle with high levels of work stress without really knowing the reasons why. We tend to believe that if we feel stressed at work, it naturally means that the stressors come from our work. However, this may not always be true! There are some unexpected things adding to your work stress, that might not be from the work itself.

1. Tech Addiction

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Emails alone is making us stress enough. With the combination of smart phones, people are now obsessed with checking emails outside of work hours. It was found that 40% of people check their email first thing in the morning, while another 40%, checking emails are the last thing they do at night.”This simple habit is making it difficult for us to “switch off” after work, hence we do not get enough time to rest and wind-down.

What you can do: Check your emails everyday right before you start work and before you leave office. Once you are outside of office, make it a conscious effort to not check your work email. If you continue this long enough, your brain will recognise the office setting as an environmental cue to help you get into work mode, which helps you to be more productive.

2. Unclear expectations of your work

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You would think that having high expectations of your work is what causes stress. However, having unclear expectations of your work can actually cause you as much stress, or if not more. We mankind does not respond well to uncertainty. Trust me, it’s evolutionary.

What you can do: Always clarify your work expectations with your manager until you are 100% sure of the expectations. If your boss fails to give a clear direction, make a list of measurable goals for yourself and have your boss approve them.

3. Having no say in the decision-making process

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Likewise, many believe that greater responsibilities result in more stress. While that is still true, the lack of empowerment in your work can be an even greater source of stress. The next time you want to stay out of the decision-making process to avoid responsibilities, remember that you might be making yourself feel more stressed! Imagine having to produce work that you do not believe in on a daily basis. Not fun. Not fun at all.

What you can do: Learn to speak up, even if you hate to. It also might not be easy if your bosses are not very accommodating, but it is the only way to have your voice be heard.

4. Other life stresses

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If you are permanently feeling stressed at work when nothing is apparently wrong, then maybe it’s what’s happening outside of your work that is making you so stressed. So don’t be so quick to conclude! Perhaps its a fight with your family, or a physically illness – find out what it is so you can solve the problem at the roots.

What you can do: If you sum up all your problems into one big piece of pizza and try to eat them all at once, it could be too much! But if you split the pizza into smaller meals along the day, it is much more manageable. Leave your external stressors for after work hours – you have enough to think about at work. 🙂

5. Diet

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Yes, that’s right. What you eat can also either amplify or reduce stress! For example, food containing high levels of caffeine, refined sugar and sodium can cause physiological effects – such as faster heart race and higher blood pressure, similar to the effects of stress. The next time you are feeling anxious out of the blue, think about what you ate for lunch that day!

What you can do: Keep your diet in check. Especially during busy days and stressful periods, avoid these food. Instead, opt for healthier snacking options, such as nuts and dried fruits. Did you know at BoxGreen you can choose over 40+ healthier varieties, all in controlled portions and delivered to your doorstep?

6. Sleep

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I believe we all have experienced the effects of sleep deprivation in one way or another, and it is safe to say that we do not enjoy it. Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation can have a large effect on mood. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that subjects who only slept for 4.5 hours a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. However, once the subjects resumed normal sleep pattern, they saw an immediate improvement in mood.

What you can do: When you feel that there’s so much to do and no time to sleep, thats when you need sleep the most. If the high levels of stress is keeping you awake at night, here’s 10 tips that will guarantee you a good night sleep, regardless how stressed you are.

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