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Employee Well-being

The Role of Motivation in the Management of Stress

eye 5813 Published on 07 Mar. 2022
tag #Motivation

Motivation in its simplest form means “drive”, and it is this drive that propels us to think, feel, and respond in a certain way to ourselves, to the people around us, and to our surroundings. The influence of motivation is so widespread that it is sure that it has an impact on the stresses we face, considering our present worldwide scenario.

Motivation is shaped by a number of factors such as physical well-being, psychological growth, and social satisfaction. And in this pursuit of well-being, growth and satisfaction, we are bound to face stresses due to the demands we have of ourselves as well as those we should meet.

Stress is a normal physical and psychological response to these demands, and a small amount of it can even have a positive impact. However, is it when we encounter multiple stresses in our daily lives and are pushed beyond our capabilities, both physically and mentally, that we find it difficult to cope.

It has been found that those individuals who have a purpose in life tend to have higher levels of psychological well-being and lower levels of depressive symptoms.1 Therefore, when an individual is highly motivated in the fulfilment of their purpose, stress can be easier to overcome.

Since motivation is such a key predictor of how we can manage stress while accomplishing our purposes, it is essential that we are able to accurately know what truly motivates us as an individual; and below are two ways to identify this -

  • Via an Elementary Introspection. By answering the question “What looks like a great day (at work)?”, one can easily detect a trend in what one finds most fulfilling for them.
  • Via a Motivation Inventory. Based on robust psychological principles, a Motivation Inventory (like MOTIVATION+) can provide an in-depth understanding of what are an individual’s primary and secondary motivators.

It is due to the alignment of an individual’s motives with the goals they have set, that they are able to sustain themselves despite the challenges and the stresses they face - it is because they have clarity of the why and how.

However, when motivation diminishes, it is important then to follow this three step process (in order to also prevent a further increase in the amount of stress experienced) - 

  • Identify the cause of reduction in motivation (and cause of stress)
  • Devise ways to increase motivation (and reduce stress)
  • Implement methods to increase motivation (and manage stress)

Following are four recommendations to increase motivation -

  • Make sure that the pursuits that need to be accomplished are as clear as possible.
  • Note down every single thing that needs to be carried out to achieve the purpose aimed at.
  • Know exactly what needs to be done in the present in order to realise the goal.
  • Make sure nothing is missed out in the pursuance of the purpose or goal.

Having a few stress management techniques also come in handy like the ones below -

  • Deep Breathing. One of the most widely used techniques, deep breathing creates a sense of peace while improving focus.
  • Self-care. “Health is wealth”, and therefore taking adequate care of oneself is essential via healthy diets, proper sleep, etc.
  • Listening to Music. Calm and soothing music has been affirmed to reduce stress, while offering an effortless way to do so.
  • Find a Hobby. A powerful way to engage one’s mind yet de-stress is spending some time on a hobby.
  • Be Positive. Self-affirmation is an easy way to pivot into a new and fresh perspective, while developing a positive mindset that takes away stress.

Whether one is a Human Resource Professional aiding others to remain motivated or whether one wants to boost their own motivation in the face of stress, the above suggestions can be easily adopted and in no time!

“People often say that motivation does not last. Well, neither does bathing. That is why we recommend it daily.” - Zig Ziglar

1. Li, F. et al, (2016). The Role of Stress Management in the Relationship between Purpose in Life and Self-Rated Health in Teachers: A Mediation Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 13(7), 719.

Diksha Unni

Assistant R&D Manager & Senior Consultant, Central Test

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