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Four Ways To Pull The Plug On The Negative Effects Of Workplace Stress Don't let stress affect your health and performance, nip it in the bud before it's too late.

By Shoug Al Nafisi

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The pile-up doesn't go unnoticed, but it only really strikes you when you realize that your performance is slipping and you're off your game. Stress can be detrimental to your health and subsequently your performance- some projections put the cost of stress leading to poor health at millions of dollars each year. If you nip the stress attacks in the bud, you'll be coasting in the clear.

Control comfort food cravings A change in workplace routine or responsibilities is usually associated with stress. How soon we adapt to that change is most likely one of the most important factors in triggering stress. When that adaptation takes too long to kick in, that change serves as one of the bases for the buildup of stress. Then come those hefty feelings of being powerless and losing control. Not only can stress kill your productivity, but it also has its toll on emotional and physical health. Things to take note of include a loss of appetite, insomnia, fatigue, grinding teeth, and impaired digestion. Studies have shown that stress also has an affect on food choices– tending more towards "comfort food" that is characterized by its high fat and sugar content. Stick with your healthier options and prevent adding ill diet to the list of problems you need to address.

Be proactive about being active Physical activity has proven to be one of the best ways to handle stress. Numerous studies have indicated that physical activity is integral in its capacity to enhance the body's stress response and in developing psychological resilience. You can also use your determination towards better physical performance as a means to tame the urge for unhealthy food choices. You work out and you well eat well, then you are in a better mental and physical state to cope with your onslaught of work-related pressures that come your way.

Own a challenge on time On a positive note, stress has its advantages as well. Setting short-term, attainable, personal goals, and working towards them can give you back that lost sense of control. That, and a "mission accomplished" never fails to make the day. Organize your week with productivity in mind. Allocate time slots to tackle tasks at work, but don't restrict your time-off afterwards. Whether it's a cup of coffee at sunset or an iced tea by the beach, give yourself enough quality time to re-energize and start anew the next day.

Get engaged and feed off of the energy If your social life has made you happy at some point in the past, it'll probably work again. Fall back on your social network for an emotional upper, and engage in activities outside of work that have proven to enhance your mood. Caring for and helping others is also scientifically proven to boost morale and that will help you regain control. It also helps to surround yourself with positive people, as they are the ones to get you back on track. All this will kick you back into action, strong and with fresh perspective.

A nutritionist, and public health advocate, Shoug Al Nafisi has worked in domains that ranged between community nutrition, emergency relief, and social media. A humanitarian at heart, she works to promote her firm belief in the wellness of the human being as a powerful and productive entity within the community. As a writer, she has co-authored a scientific publication, and has many writings as a contributor and guest blogger covering topics such as wellness, productivity, and empowerment.
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