Are you aware of your own vulnerability?

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Are you aware of your own vulnerability?

The same comment can create stress in one employee and be perceived as constructive criticism in another. Why do we perceive problems in the workplace so differently?

“By having a more conscious awareness of the individual’s perception of stress and what can be done to keep the pressure down, we create a better working life,” says Psychologist Haakon Rydning of Stamina Helse.

In helping organisations and individuals to develop coping strategies, he likes to use a glass of water as an analogy.“If water is being poured into a glass, the glass has to have outlet holes or it will overflow. If the stream of water is too heavy over time, the glass will overflow in any case.”

The water glass can help individuals to see that stress is something they can work with on several levels: they can work on the stress (the water stream) in themselves, for instance by clarifying roles or asking for more regular monitoring and feedback. They can look for more efficient outlets to cope with the stress they are under, and can work on themselves, for example by being aware of their own thoughts and feelings (the glass).

Many people find hope and room for manoeuvre when they realise there are several ways to influence the stress experienced at work.

“Being aware of your own outlets, as well as seeing the benefit of learning new effective outlets, can have a strong preventive effect," says Rydning.“It can be a great help to employees and managers to have a shared approach to stress and vulnerability.”

This year’s Occupational Health Survey study shows that for more than half of the respondents, having a conscious relationship with what creates stress in their own life situation is considered important to bringing balance in their day-to-day lives.

A corresponding proportion find it important to establish a distinction between work and personal life, while regular activity such as exercise and everyday activities is mentioned by almost as many. The former factor is significantly more important for women than for men, while men are more concerned with creating a distinction between work and personal life.

Rydning feels it is important that employees see themselves from a holistic perspective, and reflect on what influences their own resistance and their own response patterns in a work context. A number of individual circumstances, such as socioeconomic status, age and life situation, can affect how one deals with the stresses and strains of working life.

“If I ask a group how they confront their own feelings, it often causes quite an involved discussion,” he says. If I also ask them to think about what those emotions signal, we often get some very useful information about what the problems are and how we can make things easier. 

“By mapping individual vulnerabilities in this way, we obtain extremely valuable information which can be used to develop targeted workplace actions. The mapping process is also useful because we can create awareness of which circumstances and demands are fixed or permanent, i.e. which ones can’t be changed. Sometimes this will lead to an acknowledgement that the working relationship is not optimal for either party, and that they may therefore be better off at another workplace,” Rydning concludes.

Many people find hope and room for manoeuvre when they realise there are several ways to influence the stress experienced at work.

-Psychologist Haakon Rydning, Stamina Helse

Which of the following do you feel help to bring balance in your everyday life (three things)?

 

Total

Men

Women

Regular activity in the form of training and everyday exercise

50%

49%

51%

Planning everyday life and logistics well

37%

44 %

40%

Helping to clarify expectations with my employer

12%

13%

11%

Having a conscious awareness of what creates stress in my life situation

51%

47%

56%

Setting requirements for sharing chores at home

8%

6%

11%

Restricting leisure activities for myself or family members

5%

5%

5%

Making sure that I create a distinction between work and leisure myself

51%

54%

46%

Setting boundaries with my employer (both in terms of time and type of tasks)

16%

19%

13%

Prioritising getting enough sleep to be strong both at work and at home

46%

46%

46%

None of the above

3%

3%

3%

 

 

 

 

 

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