Fight stress with humor. A good laugh
can be one of the most effective stress
relievers. Try to find the lighter side of
a situation. Laughter fires up and then
cools down stress response and increases
heart rate and blood pressure resulting in
a good, relaxed feeling. 9
Manage schedules. Don’t try to squeeze
too many tasks into a day. Review schedules and leave some gaps. These will either
be used for unexpected situations or free
time. Without a doubt, people frequently
miscalculate how long things will take.
Be the early bird. Getting into work
even a few minutes early can help someone
ease into the daily workload. Conversely,
by arriving late for work opens up many
opportunities for unexpected negative
stimuli and a day long game of catch-up.
In regards to physiology, some people
get irritable when blood sugar is low, or
they didn’t get enough sleep, or other
physiological challenges. Recognize these
stressors and take the appropriate steps to
remedy. Diet and exercise can influence
the way stress is handled by the body.
Stress can increase cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone associated with the fight
or flight response. Prolonged increases in
cortisol can affect the body’s sugar intake
as well as the immune system. Exercise is
an excellent way to reduce stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Virtually any
form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga,
can act as a stress reliever.” 10
The manager as role model. As individuals master their own stress levels,
they may observe a beneficial effect on
staff. Indeed, the general level of tension
in the department may diminish.
By recognizing the early warning signs of
work related stress, and by using EI, it is
possible to greatly reduce negative vibra-
tions in the department. Furthermore,
several techniques can be used to ward
off common or recurring stressors. Many
times, help can be found by reaching
out to more senior level management.
All managers should be sensitive to the
needs of their staff, this should include
the manager’s manager. If discussing
stressful situations with one’s immediate
supervisor is not an option, there may be
help within the institution’s Employee
Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs offer
counseling services to help deal with
work related issues that may affect job
performance, health or well-being.
It is also important to listen to one’s
body; it may be sending a message via
muscle stiffness, headaches, or fatigue.
Try to be self-aware of inner emotional
experience so challenges can be handled
effectively. Pay attention to state of mind
and consider how this may affect the
decision making process. Overlooking
emotions can obscure personal motiva-
tions and needs.
The capacity to sustain self-control
under stressful conditions will yield pos-
itive results not only for the individual,
but will carry forth to coworkers and
staff. Improved employee satisfaction
will manifest itself in increased patient
satisfaction and that surely leads to inner
1Stress in the Workplace. American Psychological Association. Available at: https://
aspx. Accessed October 20, 2013.
2National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health. STRESS . . . At Work. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. Publication No. 99–101. Available at: http://www.
October 20, 2013.
3Workplace Stress. The American Institute of
Stress. Available at: http://www.stress.org/
workplace-stress/. Accessed October 20,
4Goetzel RZ, Anderson DR, Whitmer WR, et al.
The relationship between modifiable
health risks and health care expenditures:
an analysis of the multi-employer HERO
health risk and cost database. J Occup Environ Med. 1998; 40( 10):843–854.
5Stress at Work: Tips to Reduce and Manage
Job and Workplace Stress. Helpguide.org.
Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/
Accessed November 12, 2013.
6Frankl V. Man’s Search For Meaning. Beacon
Press: Boston, MA. 1946.
7de Fonseka I. “Stress and Knee-Jerk Reactions—How Can We Make it Better?” Life
Works. Available at: http://www.indikade-fonseka.com/stress-and-knee-jerk-reac-tions-how-can-we-make-it-better/.
Accessed October 28, 2013.
8Scott J. How heathcare leaders can increase
emotional intelligence. Radiology Management. 2013;35(Supplement): 11–16.
9Mayo Clinic staff. “Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke.” Mayo Foundation for
Medical Education and Research
(MFMER). Available at: http://www.mayo-
Accessed October 29, 2013.
10Mayo Clinic staff. “Exercise and stress: Get
moving to manage stress.” Available at:
December 15, 2013
Daniel DiPaola, MS, R T(R), CRA is chief technologist of
the Nyack Hospital Center for Diagnostic Imaging in
Nyack, NY. He is a founding member of the AHRA
Northeast Group, a regional branch of the AHRA
dedicated to education, sharing of best practices,
and networking. Daniel can be contacted at
Special thanks to Susan L. Mazzarella, LCSW, CEAP,
Director, Nyack Hospital EAP.