Staying balanced during the work day will not only help you to improve productivity by removing the barriers to focus and creativity, but can keep you more healthy physically and more centered mentally so that you can solve problems as they arise instead of reacting stressed and overwhelmed. Instead you can be the person who your co-workers go to feel motivated and to feel more calm when things start to get difficult.
Here are 5 simple tips for reducing stress at the workplace:
1. Take a worry vacation during your commute. Promise yourself that you will stop any worrying on the way there. If you feel like you really need to think something through, do it before the commute, and tell yourself you can thoroughly think it through just once, then you have to practice letting go of the tendency to re-think the same thing through again.
Remind yourself of your commitment and acknowledge that thinking it through again and again (ruminating) only uses up more mental energy.
Instead try putting your mind on other activities that are relaxing:
Focus on taking deep breaths with measured counting: Breathe in (1-2-3-4-5-6-) pause (1-2-3-4-5-6) and breathe out (1-2-3-4-5-6).
Listen to positive or uplifting music that you know makes you feel happy and relaxed (like classical). Research has proven that high vibration quality music can improve your health both physically and mentally. The vibrations of music affect the nervous system. The brain receives the signals from your nervous system, and uses them to identify how we are feeling. So if you listen to music that has harsh lyrics or a strong bass it makes your nervous system responds with stress, weakening your immune system and putting you in an irritable mood.
You can visualize everyone at the workplace getting along, things running smoothly and basically picture the opposite happening from what you have worries about. Strong visualizations and positive intentions have been proven to improve performance.
2. Learn how to deal with conflict positively when it arises. If you are someone who is a people-pleaser, or someone who does not like to confront bad behaviors or treatment from the boss, or if you are just sensitive to criticisms, practice being neutral and not reacting emotionally. Take a step back from the situation, and return to a response when you can approach it calmly and from your center.
3. Throughout the workday be sure to take 5-10 minute breaks. This may seem hard, but if you don’t practice this not only are you going to become less effective work- wise, but you are also more likely to have a large drop in energy later on that may affect your mood and concentration.
Instead, when you have been working for several hours– give yourself a nicely planned break to bring your energy up again and to take care of your health in order to prevent problems later on.
Taking breaks will help you to:
- Recharge your eyes (from staring at the computer). Optometrists recommend taking your eyes off the screen at least once every hour to prevent damage from constant fatigue.
- Recharge your brain. Give yourself a chance to go for a quick walk, go up and down the stairs, etc. so that you can pump your heart and send fresh energy throughout the body. And instead of another coffee or caffeinated drink you get to go outside for a breath of fresh air and exercise, helping to prevent the heart disease that results from sitting all day.
- Prevent repetitive motion injury. Take time to stretch where you have been performing repetitive movements without breaks– like your wrists and arms to prevent carpal tunnel. Or you can do a forward bend to relieve backaches from sitting too long, doing unsupported heavy lifting, or from having bad posture at your desk.
- Take a mental break. A moment to relax and let things be without struggling harder. Psychology research has shown that the best thing to do when problem solving is to leave the problem alone for 5 or 10 minutes and simply just do other things. While you are doing other things, the answer will often pop into your head.
4. Make a choice to fight fatigue naturally. If you do get to a point where you feel stressed or your energy drops, train your brain to say, “I need to stop what I’m doing and fix this.” This will stop you from automatically continuing to feel low so that you can turn yourself around and bring it up again. If you are stressed or frustrated, it is a lot harder to complete more work effectively—you are more likely to make mistakes, solutions get blocked so you stay stuck on problems longer, and you are more likely to want to go gossip or complain to other co-workers and then before you know it there is a whole group of you co-workers feeling low.
5. The best stress-reducing activity that you can do is to learn to meditate. If you already know how to meditate– meaning you have taken a class and know a technique that really works for you (otherwise keep looking)–then meditate every morning for at least 5-10 minutes and if you can again after work or before bed to help you get proper rest and sleep better through the night. Taking care of yourself by doing activities that prevent stress and keep you balanced are priceless in helping you to have a better day at work.
And above all else, keep a positive attitude! This has the power to change everything. If you can feel joy at the workplace, and be enthusiastic about what it is you are there to do– then not only will you reduce stress, but you will become a more magnetic friend and employee.
And this attitude will attract success not only at work, but help you to find the joy that comes from within you.