The bulk of the tension stems from the feeling that we can never get enough done, and that office demands are draining us of energy we’d rather save for family and relationships – Carol Kauffman, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School.
Carving out just minutes a day for a few simple, soothing activities can make all the difference between getting crazed and staying calm. These 13 tips will help you to fend off that frazzled feeling:
1. Stop using the “S” word
Stress is a loaded term where it is automatically being associated with anxiety, tension and fatique – Scott Shepperd, PhD, author of Who’s in Charge? Attacking the Stress Myth.
Think of your work as challenging instead of stressful, then you’ll be able to approach any situation with a more proactive mind-set. You’ll be in the position to better able solve the problem.
2. Ask co-worker about their weekend
You may get more done if you don’t squander precious time chatting with colleagues. But avoiding them may actually heighten anxiety. Studies have shown that people without supportive friends at work are more likely to have higher blood pressure.
Spending a few minutes catching up each morning helps build a relationship that can provide ongoing support.
3. Keep track of success
It easy to forget how you’ve succeeded in the past when you are struggling to finish a demanding project – Stacy Shaw Welch, PhD, Director of the Anxiety and Stress Reduction Center of Seattle.
Save a folder of notes and emails of appreciation from bosses and co-workers. This records will help motivate you.
4. Take control of the email inbox
Emails is one of the biggest interruptions in our workday – Marsha Egan, author of Making Good Meetings Great.
When people are distracted, it’s hard to complete any one thing. This can be frustrating and may lead to more stress. Dedicate a few minutes every hour or two to shift through your emails. You’ll get more done when you focus on one project at a time. It will help you to stay calm.
5. Let the mind wonder
Prolonged period of intense concentration can fatigue your brain – Eric Klinger, PhD, Psychology Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, Morris.
Allow yourself a couple of minutes to daydream can provide just enough rest to regain focus and be more creative and productive.
6. Linger at lunch
When you are stressed out, the body divert its resources to release hormones that help you cope, decreasing the hormones associated with digestion – Ashley Koff, R.D., a Los Angeles dietitian.
So eating while under duress, you’ll likely experience indigestion or bloating. Take half an hour break; turn off your email and concentrate on eating your food.
7. Scent your desk
Adding a relaxing aroma to your cubicle may boost your concentration – Japanese study. Such aroma will make you better able to focus and stay mellow when things get tough.
8. Lend an ear
Trying to solve other people’s issues puts excess pressure – Kevin Barrows, M.D., director of mindfulness programs at Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University California, San Francisco.
Listen and sympathize when someone tries to enlist your help; don’t play Dear Abby.
9. Take time for some fresh air
Ringing telephones and non-stop emails can put people in a state of constant anxiety, which will elevates levels of stress hormones like cortisol – Jeffrey Brantley, M.D., director of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at Duke Integrative Medicine.
Spending time alone can lower heart rate and blood pressure. So sneak out for a short lunchtime stroll to clear your head.
10. Get physical everyday
A less-than-hardcore sweat session still does a body good - Kevin Barrows, M.D., director of mindfulness programs at Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University California, San Francisco. The perks comes from the mental time-out and the physiological changes of exercise, including greater levels of mood-lifting endorphins.
11. Bring hobbies to work
Studies shows that people who pursue a passion feel less anxiety and depression, and enjoy more positive moods. Working on hobbies puts people in a zone, allowing them to forget about other stressors - Carol Kauffman, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School.
12. Tack much needed extra time onto projects
When your day is packed with back-to-back meetings, planning on activity takes about 20% longer – Linda Sapadin, PhD, a Psychologist in Valley Stream, New York.
Factor an extra half an hour for every 2 hours task will help alleviates panic.
13. Hit the hay earlier
Not having the enough energy to make it through the day can become the source of stress - Carol Kauffman, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School.
Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
Shared from article:
Shape Your LifeShape, November 2007