Family, social and work situations

We spend about a third of our life at work, a further third sleeping and the remaining third with our family and friends.

Many people find that the most distress in their lives arises from relationships with others, both in the family and social setting, and at work. Look back at the Life Events list and you will see how many are associated with relationships for example, marital disharmony, problems with children, problems with neighbours, problems with the boss or co-workers. Similarly, there are a number of events relating to work. Work is commonly cited as a major cause of distress and there are many reasons for this, for example:

‚ work overload – simply having too much to do

‚ time pressures and impossible deadlines to meet

‚ how well and to what extent you feel your skills and abilities are being used

‚ poorly defined or understood job role

‚ changes in procedures

‚ poor communication – not knowing what is going on and not feeling part of the organization.

Sometimes these demands may be imposed on you by others and you feel pressured and not in control. Use the identifying stress at work questionnaire on pages 96-7 to assess your level of job satisfaction. Being dissatisfied with a particular aspect of your job may not mean you find it stressful so you should also rate your perceived stress experience for each item.

There is no scoring system for this checklist but carrying out this exercise will help you to focus on those aspects at work which may be sources of stress for you. This is a first step for dealing with stress at work. Using the coping strategies described in Part Three, you should be able to find ways of resolving problems.

Work stress can also be self-imposed for example, setting unrealistic goals, attempting to change too much too quickly.

You may need to stand back and ask yourself how your stress is arising. Are you asking too much of people who work for you?

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