Stress is an essential part of everyday interactions with society, which significantly interferes with the productivity of an individual exposed. It negatively influences mental and physical health, reduces the quality of life and satisfaction, and deteriorates interpersonal relationships (Beheshtifar et al., 2011). This paper will examine work-related stress problems existing in the contemporary world in detail. Explanation of the two widespread coping strategies, which are meditation and mindfulness and massage therapy, will be provided to reveal how they would be applied to work-related stress. Finally, a discussion of the strategies’ strengths and limitations will be given, and a conclusion of which one of the techniques is the best fit will be provided.
In the rapidly changing world, work-related stress is one of the most prevalent types of pressure an adult person may experience. It is usually referred to as an individual harmful physical, and emotional reaction to demands (stressors) complicated with a combination of factors (Beheshtifar et al., 2011; Seaward, 2016). Statistics show that 80% of workers feel stress on their job, 42% report that verbal abuse is common, 14% had felt like sticking a co-worker in the year 2005 (Workplace Stress, n.d.). Sometimes, stress is necessary for increasing a worker’s urge for changes that result in improved productivity. However, work-related stress often results in a number of negative physical, psychological, and behavioral signs and symptoms that include but are not limited to fatigue, headaches, depression, anxiety, aggression, and a drop in work performance (Seaward, 2016). Despite the fact that stress can be a positive influence provoking useful changes, it is more frequently associated with negative effects, which deteriorate a worker’s performance.
It is possible to deepen into the reasons that cause extra pressure. There are five sources of work-related stress: poor physical working conditions contributed to work overload and scarcity of time, role conflict, and lack of job security and under promotion (Beheshtifar et al., 2011; Seaward, 2016). Poor relationships with colleagues and bullying, and little involvement in decision-making and office politics are the other two factors that increase the level of pressure. It is vital to consider these stressors while discussing a coping strategy to ensure its suitability to a particular type of stress, which is a work-related one.
Besides the above-mentioned sources, two complementary individualistic traits contribute to the severity of the existing stressors. Age is the first factor known for impacting traditional challenges conceiving additional pressure. Older workers are often discriminated against because of their conditions and less capable of coping with work-related stressors compared to younger colleagues (Rauschenbach et al., 2013). In addition, such employees are often supposed to be less creative and interested in technology and lower in emotional resilience. The second factor is procrastination, defined as the avoidance of implementing an intention that frustrates an individual’s stated purposes and puts them off until it is late (Beheshtifar et al., 2011, p. 61). It is unarguable that procrastination significantly deteriorates a worker’s performance as it causes delays and low success of actions made. Such factors as perfectionism, peer influence, lack of self-confidence, low frustration tolerance, rebellion against control, depression, fear of failure, and many others lead to procrastination and, as a consequence, low efficiency, poor results, and additional stressors. The described work-related stress of the older procrastinating population is to be overcome by coping strategies.
Description of the Meditation and Mindfulness Coping Strategy
Meditation and Mindfulness is considered an effective strategy to prevent negative thinking and reduce vulnerability to distractions. It is focused on minimaxing sensory overload that is one of the basic work-related stress consequences. Methods of Meditation and Mindfulness vary in their forms focusing on one or another particular bothering aspect. The traditional approach of this coping strategy known as exclusive meditation includes mental repetition, visual concentration, repeated sounds, physical repetition, and tactical repetition. The other methodic are body scan, stretching, walking meditation, and many others. Implementation of any form of Meditation and Mindfulness coping strategy can improve psychological wellbeing and reduce job strain.
Description of the Massage Therapy Coping Strategy
Massage therapy strategy is another relaxation technique intended to reduce symptoms of stress. Muscle tension is a premier symptom of the stress response, and massage is used to reduce it. This therapy has many forms, such as shiatsu, Swedish, Rolfing, myofascial release, and sports ones. It is even integrated into some medical practices intended to benefit a patient’s wellbeing. With respect to the population chosen, which is aging, frustrating, and stressed employees, massage therapy is intended to cope with already existing signs and symptoms of stress mentioned above brain (Mahdizadeh et al., 2019). Stress has a cumulative effect, which implies that consequences that were not solved are expected to become more and more severe, while their addressing is beneficial overall. By relaxing muscles, massage is expected to improve the wellbeing after work, manage health conditions attributed to older people, and decrease the anxiety that will directly reduce the severity of procrastination (Seaward, 2016). Therefore, the discussed strategy can positively influence all the consequences of stress, minimizing their deteriorative impact on a worker’s future performance.
Strengths and Benefits of the Meditation and Mindfulness Coping Strategy
It is possible to outline several strengths and benefits of using the Meditation and Mindfulness Coping Strategy. It controls anxiety by improving stress reactivity and increasing positive self-statements. Meditation is also known for being beneficial for emotional health and reducing sights of depression (Manocha et al., 2011). One of the significant pros of the strategy for older workers is the possibility of age-related memory loss reduction. Finally, meditation and mindfulness techniques improve sleep and help control addictions and pain.
In the contemporary world, mindfulness meditation apps are widespread and known to be useful to reduce work stress and improve an individual’s wellbeing. Research conducted by Bostock et al. (2019) proves that “mindfulness meditations delivered via phone app multiple times a week for 8 weeks decreased distress in a working sample of midlife adults” (p. 137). Therefore, Meditation and Mindfulness is a reliable coping strategy that can help older procrastinating stressed workers to improve their wellbeing and increase performance.
Strengths and Benefits of the Massage Therapy Coping Strategy
For a stressed worker, this strategy is valuable for the effects of healthy touch also referred to as vitamin T. The result of such therapy is the relaxation of muscles and other soft tissues by increasing their temperature. The other benefit is pain relief, as massage triggers the release of painkillers, while the healthy touch interferes with signals from reaching the brain (Mahdizadeh et al., 2019). The next benefit is decreased anxiety and depression that is ensured by lowering the heart rate and helping the body release happiness hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Finally, massage therapy increases the feeling of content and wellbeing due to the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system activated by rest and relaxation. It assists in curing medical conditions and improving mood by activating an emotional response. Therefore, there is a set of solid strengths and benefits of the massage therapy strategy enabling coping with stress.
It is possible to refer to a randomized controlled trial conducted by Mahdizadeh et al. (2019), providing a concrete example of the value of massage therapy for stressed workers. The results indicated a reduction of the mean of total stress score by approximately 16% after therapy, while a control group did not show a significant difference between the pre and post-test scores. It is evident that the massage therapy strategy is useful for helping workers to manage the consequences of being exposed to stressors.
Limitations of the Meditation and Mindfulness Coping Strategy
Meditation and Mindfulness coping strategy can provoke adverse effects that may interfere with the efficiency of the techniques or even contribute to the level of stress. For instance, some people might re-live painful memories and emotions while practicing. There is also a chance that motivation will result in a lack of motivation that is a severe consequence for ones having trouble with procrastinating (Manocha et al., 2011). Meditations can also change sensory perception and provoke hallucinations that may be frustrating. Finally, physical side effects are also may happen, including increased pressure, weakness, fatigue, and headaches (Bostock et al., 2019). Therefore, stressed workers should be careful with the choice of a technique they will practice, as it may only deteriorate their wellbeing.
Limitations of the Massage Therapy Coping Strategy
Massage therapy coping is also not deprived of weaknesses and limitations that reduce the potential of its application. The first difficulty interfering with the strategy is the necessity of someone’s involvement. While the efforts of a relative or a friend might be almost ineffective, a professional’s service is too expensive for many among the ones in need. Also, there is a difference between massage used for medical purposes and the one more suitable for relaxation. It is frequent that an inappropriate form of therapy is chosen to suit a patient of a client’s preferences, which may reduce a positive effect. Finally, some injuries or therapists that lack experience working with them may completely nihilate the expected relief. Therefore, there is a set of weaknesses of massage therapy coping strategies that should be considered to achieve desired outcomes.
Despite the fact that both of the described strategies are beneficial for workers, it is possible to reveal massage therapy as a more optimal way to cope with work-related stress. It can be explained with a more expressed effect, as physical relief resulting in enlightening of mind is known to be more effective than an opposite approach, offered by Meditation and Mindfulness strategy. It is also a pro that an individual is less likely to harm himself in any way if a professional is present and does most part of the process. Therefore, if the limitations of Massage therapy are considered and potential negative consequences are prevented, this coping strategy can significantly improve the performance of the older procrastinating stressed workers.
Beheshtifar, M., Hoseinifar, H., & Moghadam, M. (2011). Effect procrastination on work-related stress. European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences, 38(38), 59-64.
Bostock, S., Crosswell, A. D., Prather, A. A., & Steptoe, A. (2019). Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being. Journal of occupational health psychology, 24(1), 127–138.
Mahdizadeh, M., Jaberi, A. A., & Bonabi, T. N. (2019). Massage therapy in management of occupational stress in emergency medical services staffs: a randomized controlled trial. International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork, 12(1), 16-22.
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