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Finding Joy in a Stressful Work Environment

I have been working as a sales associate for my current company for just over two years now, and I love it. However, sometimes the work and pressure can be very stressful, even for me.  I know I am not alone, and that working in any company does have its share of stressors, even if the environment has a reputation of being somewhat casual. Yes, there are times when one must quit, especially if the job is not the right fit for them or if the pressures of work start to negatively impact your physical and emotional health.  However, sometimes quitting is either not an option, or is not worth it.  So, how can one not only survive the stress at work, but also find joy and satisfaction in daily work? Here are some things I have learned over the past few years about how to have some measure of joy, even when some things are stressful:

  1. Go to work not only for the paycheck, but also for a higher purpose.—So many people in our society, go to work solely for the paycheck. While that can be a good motivator to do a good job, that is not always an effective way to maintain joy in stressful situations, especially if layoffs or the cutting of hours is happening in your company. For instance, while I admit that I do go to work for a paycheck; that is not my only motivator.  I also go to work so that I can make a positive difference in other people’s lives and serve God.  I enjoy helping other people—whether it is helping a customer find an item they need, or speaking words of encouragement to a co-worker or manager who is stressed-out or hurting inside.  For instance, if you work in a doctor’s office, you can work to help patients be more comfortable in the waiting room by giving them quick, efficient service, or just by being a positive, encouraging presence to them. If you flourish as an author and/or a blogger, find ways to help others be passionate about what you write about.
  2. Along with going to work for a higher purpose overall, find at least one person each day with whom you will intentionally be kind and encouraging.– This could be someone who you know is going through a rough time, someone who is a little bit difficult to get along with, or it could be anyone else. For instance, one day when I had some extra free time, I decided to write encouraging notes to people at work who I thought needed it the most. However, you could even do something as simple as getting to know someone who is lonely or that you don’t normally talk to, or saying encouraging words of appreciation to a co-worker that is doing a good job. A few of you may think this is just cheesy and won’t make a bit of a difference, but as Rachel Scott, once said, “You never know how far a little kindness can go.” Being intentionally kind to those who are feeling depressed and anguished inside, even though they may appear to have a smile pasted on their faces, may even save their lives!
  3. Be willing to help out when needed.—If time and energy allow, be willing to work earlier or stay later to get what you (or others) need to done. That way, the pressure and stress of having to do all that work in a shorter amount of time does not leave you, or anyone else, frazzled and stressed out.If you work in an office, and your coworker needs copies made of a certain document, offer to help out, especially if you also have some copies to make. If you work in a team, be willing to help out a struggling team member. Don’t allow them to take advantage of you, but also be willing to teach them how to work more effectively and learn the concepts needed to do the job well.  If you are that struggling team member, do not be afraid to ask for help and clarification, but also don’t give up on trying to do the best you can.
  4. Look for the positives of working at your company, and don’t focus too much on the negatives.—Every company has both positive and negative traits to it. We usually hear WAY more about the negatives. While there can be benefits to talking about the “What-needs-to-improve” part of the companies we work for, if we are also actively seeking solutions to the negative parts, our morale can drastically improve if we focus more on the positives! For instance, the positives for me in working at my company are good hours, a common camaraderie among most of the people I work with, and that most of the managers are understanding and kind. When I focus on the good parts of my company rather than the bad, it makes the stressful parts a lot easier to handle.  I have hope that even in the stress and tough times, things will get better because of the positives that I have experienced.  This principle also works when you have to work with or under a person or persons that you don’t particularly like.  Find the positives in that person that you have a tough time getting along. If you can’t find any just yet, look deeper into that person’s soul and being until you find something positive. 95% of the time, you will find at least one positive quality about them.

These are the ways that I seek to find joy at my job, and it has worked most of the time for me.  If I don’t focus on these things, and delve into negativity, I find that I am more stressed and that even my work quality suffers.  So, I know that by applying these principles to my work life, I will not only be more joyful at my job, but also more effective. What are some ways YOU maintain a measure of joy at work, even when things are stressful? Please feel free to comment.

12 thoughts on “Finding Joy in a Stressful Work Environment”

  1. I love the points you mentioned in this articles. Too bad I didn’t know them when I was working in my previous nightmare job. However I still treat my job mostly as the source of my paycheck, that’s why I’m thinking of changing my work.

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    1. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience in your previous job, Natalia. Sometimes, we find ourselves in places where we feel we don’t belong. Some environments are even too toxic for one to handle, and I understand and emphasize with that. I hope you will be able to find a job where you will be passionate and excited about going to someday. Sure, there will be always some work-work aspect of a job. That’s why it’s a job. However, if you are miserable and dread your job, I totally agree with doing something that you can tolerate better.

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  2. I’m not very motivated by money so I absolutely agree with regards to finding a higher purpose. This can give us such meaning in our day. Surrounding ourselves with positivity is a fantastic bit of advice too… If we can be kind and encouraging to one person a day then the world will be a better place (and we will consequently enjoy our jobs more). Great post 💚

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  3. You raised some great points here to find pleasure in a stressful workplace. I like the tip of finding a higher propose I find goals drive me

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  4. as someone who has been in the situation where i got stress in my previous job, i would say this one is a helpful tip. but then again, at some point when you can’t handle it, i think it’s not wrong to think about quitting when it feels too much. after all, your mental health is important too. 🙂

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    1. I agree. Sometimes, we are called to quit, and that is totally OK. However, sometimes I see that people in general have a falling out with ONE person, and don’t even try to work it out, and then quit their job, even though they may have brought something of value to it if they stayed and worked things out. Sometimes, I will have a bad day and consider quitting, but then I go back to my purpose for being there in the first place, and that helps me continue working productively there.

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  5. These are some amazing points to remember. As I have been understanding the law of attraction I feel if we keep looking at the positive aspects we will receive all the positive possibilities.

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  6. I’ve worked in so many stressful environments and these are some good tips to help in those situations! You’ve gotta find your “reason” for being there, and focus on that.

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