Stress is becoming an increasing problem in the workplace, and so manpower is being invested to manage it. "In recent decades, work stress has increased enormously," says Dr. Paul Koeck, founder of the stress counseling project and The figures also say this: about 29.3% of Flemish employees say they are problematically psychologically tired and 55% of the total number of days of sick leave are due to work stress.

Doctor Paul Koeck specialized in stress reduction in employees and managers of international companies. He developed the therapy 'Solution Focused Management' and helps about 4,500 people daily to reduce their stress levels. He sees a number of causes for increased work stress.

1. We work differently: more thinking than doing

"In the 19th century, people worked mostly with their hands. If you overworked your muscles, you got pain. A clear signal from your body that you should stop. Now we work mainly with our brains. If you overload that, nothing happens at first. But in the long run, something changes biologically in your brain tissue that reduces your memory and concentration, you can't focus as well, and your planning skills are diminished. Someone with chronic stress becomes psychologically tired, anxious, depressed, ..."

2. Globalization: competition is everywhere

"The world has become a village. This leads to uncertainty and anxiety, both among employees and among business leaders themselves. Our companies have to compete with companies from other continents. The old way of working or doing business no longer suffices. Everyone - employer and employee alike - must learn to prioritize."

3. The boss doesn't know anymore either

"Business leaders can also feel insecure: what do we need to do to be successful? As a result, they give unclear assignments. Mismanagement, in turn, leads to employee stress."

4. You don't find your work meaningful

"If you feel like you're not doing meaningful work (anymore), if you're not seeing results from your efforts, discouragement and frustration ensue. That's often a very subjective feeling that causes negative stress."

5. You work at a dark, noisy desk

"Too much or too little light, too much noise, being too close together or, on the contrary, having to work in isolation, ... are all factors that undermine the feeling of well-being on the shop floor. If there is open communication in a company, you can usually solve this easily. But if you can't talk about it with your boss, there's a problem."

6. You feel misunderstood

"Feeling supported by your boss and colleagues is another important factor. People want to feel that they are understood and have control over the end result of their work. If that's gone, they become demotivated."

6 anti-stress tips with immediate effect

1. Turn off your work smartphone after your hours. No one can demand that you be accessible 24/7. 2. Reorganize your internet usage. Check your emails at set times and not with every message that walks in. 3. Review your mobility. If daily traffic jams stress you out, find a job closer to home or ask your employer if you can work from home. 4. Make 15 minutes daily to reflect on yourself. Take a walk in the open air, listen to quiet music, meditate, etc. 5. Focus on the positive. Take a moment daily to think about the things you experienced as positive that day. 6. Pick one priority per day and try to do that project as best you can.

Reducing stress starts with yourself

Doctor Paul Koeck: "Many people think they can't do anything about stress because decisions are made over their heads. That is incorrect. You determine how you deal with stress. When I coach people, I mainly teach them to take action themselves. Maybe you should read a book on stress reduction, talk to a friend, or take a test on the Internet to measure your stress level. If you're really deep, you may decide to seek (professional) help from a doctor or psychologist, a personal coach, a self-help group, in meditation, ... There are many ways to learn to turn the switch. But just as important is that you practice daily until it becomes a habit to think or act in a different way. This is the only way to prevent relapse."

Caroline Stevens 6/05/16 - 08h00

Read the article on the site of HLN: Why do we experience so much stress?