Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.
Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal to join your body and mind.
Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have examined yogas effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety .
However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.
In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.
Develop A Positive Self
The way you talk to yourself matters. Harsh self-criticism, self-doubt, and catastrophic predictions aren’t helpful. If you’re constantly thinking things like, “I don’t have time for this,” and “I can’t stand this,” you’ll stress yourself out.
It’s important to learn to talk to yourself in a more realistic, compassionate manner. When you call yourself names or doubt your ability to succeed, reply with a kinder inner dialogue.
Positive self-talk can help you develop a healthier outlook. And an optimistic and compassionate conversation can help you manage your emotions and take positive action.
The Effects Of Stress On Your Body
Stress can be normal, especially that it is already part of our daily lives. When you experience stress, a part of your brain, specifically the hypothalamus reacts, allowing the release of stress hormones. Stress hormones are the same hormones that make you sense the fight or flight response of your body.
When you are threatened, stressed, or having an intense emotion, you will feel that your heart is beating fast, as your heart rate increases. Your breath also becomes faster, your muscles start to shake, and for some, it leads to uncontrollable shedding of tears.
Chronic stress can affect your body, both in terms of your physical health and mental health. If left untreated or unmanaged, it may result in consistent irritability, anxiety disorder, depression or major depressive disorder, insomnia, headache, back pain, shoulder pain, diarrhea, constipation, stomachache, and nausea and vomiting.
For some, stress is diverted to overeating, substance abuse , as well as social withdrawal. It can even lead to certain illnesses and serious health conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, heartburn or acid reflux, erectile dysfunction for males, and irregular, heavier, or more painful menstruation for females.
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Ways To Eliminate Stress At Work
The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate. Modern workers are interrupted seven times an hour and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. And four out of 10 people working at large companies are experiencing a major corporate restructuring, and therefore facing uncertainly about their futures. This may be why more than 40% of adults say they lie awake at night plagued by the stressful events of the day.
“People are asking me for answers,” says Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of just released Success Under Stress. “Everyone feels overwhelmed and overly busy.”
Is there a way to maintain steady focus throughout the day? Is it possible to do everything that needs to get done and still have energy left over after work? How do you keep cool under so many demands? Informed by 10 years of Harvard research and field-tested by more than 6,000 clients and trainees, Melnick offers the following strategies to take your work stress down a peg, before it takes over your life.
Act Rather Than React
Take A Deep Breath
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance, says Melnick. Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose. “It’s like getting the calm and focus of a 90-minute yoga class in three minutes or less at your desk,” she says.
Schedule Your Day For Energy And Focus
Name What Youre Feeling
When youre experiencing an anxious episode, you may not realize whats going on until youre really in the thick of it.
Recognizing anxiety for what it is may help you calm down quicker.
Name that this is anxiety not reality and that it will pass, says Kim Hertz, a psychotherapist at New York Therapy Practice. When you are in a heightened state of anxiety, you want to disrupt that cycle, and for some people, thought-stopping techniques are effective and as simple as saying stop to the internalized messaging that heightens anxiety.
In other words, consider recognizing that what youre feeling is anxiety and talking yourself through it.
Embrace absolute truths, says Steven Sultanoff, clinical psychologist and professor at Pepperdine University. I will get through this one way or another.
Naming your sensations and feelings may help you step away from them. This is anxiety, it is not you and it wont last forever.
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Do Something To Make Yourself Laugh
Think back to the last time you laughedand I mean laughed . You probably felt way less stressed in that moment, right?
There’s a reason: People often hold a lot of their stress in their face, and laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension, according to the APA.
That’s why Chapman says scheduling time to interact with friends and family on FaceTime or by playing virtual games on apps like Houseparty, should be a regular events during physical distancing. Talking to and laughing with family and friends will get rid of those not-so-positive thoughts that can come with feeling isolated.
Ways You Can Calm Nerves At Work
While nervousness may feel out of your control, there are many simple, easy, and effective tasks you can follow that will reduce the challenging aspects of feeling nervous, and in fact improve your performance. Heres 15 ideas for you to try:
Try deep breathing. Breathing exercises are one of the simplest and easiest activities you can practice to reduce symptoms of nervousness, such as slowing your heart rate, improving oxygen exchange, and reducing the fight, flight or freeze response.
Channel your nervous energy into positivity. This may sound difficult, but there is a distinct connection between the feelings of motivation and eagerness, and fear and nervousness. These two states are called eustress and distress – the two sides of the stress coin. You will feel similar reactions to both, such as a raised heart rate, so if you can view your upcoming activity positively, you may find your nervous energy actually boosts your performance. If you’re in a particularly challenging situation, ask yourself “What can I learn from this situation that will help me in the future?”
Practice the task you are nervous about. If you have the time, try practicing what makes you nervous. By running through your presentation, speech, or meeting, youll demystify much of the process, and identify any weak spots which you can improve before the real thing.
If you feel nervous often, it may be worth reading up on the effects of overwhelm and learning how to best manage its effects
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How To Relieve Stress: Sound It Out
Youve heard the om sound yogis make when they meditate, right? Well, Joshi says using a buzzing sound is another way to use your voice to calm yourself when youre stressed. Bhramari, a humming bee sound, can be done by closing the eyes and making the humming sound like a bee, she says. These sound vibrations calm down the thought waves and relax the entire nervous system. External sound frequency resonates with the internal rhythm of the body and mind, creating peace and tranquility within. Research from India has shown Bhramari to improve cardiovascular patterns. Press your ears closed for an even stronger vibration. Check out these other ways to unwind that dont involve booze.
Advantages Of Stress Management In The Workplace
So far, the discussion has been about the effects of stress at work, but wed like to turn the focus to the benefits of a low-stress work environment.
- Strong company culture: Employees have a major role in a companys culture. Healthier employees operating under manageable levels of stress will be happier and more positive, helping to maintain a strong, healthy workplace culture thats conducive to creativity and productivity.
- Less sick days: Stress is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in the workplace. Not only will less stress in the workplace result in less mental health days, but it will also reduce the amount of sick days taken by employees due to a weakened immune system as a result of excessive stress.
- Employee retention & talent acquisition: Employees who arent overly stressed are much more likely to stick around, and prospective employees are much more likely to work for an employer that promotes a low-stress work environment and takes the initiative to help keep their employees healthy.
- It shows you care: Actively working to reduce stress through measures like stress management programs and policy shows that you care about your employees and their health and happiness.
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To Cope With Stress Try Learning Something New
There are typically two ways people try to deal with work stress. One is to simply buckle down and power throughto focus on getting the stressful work done. Professional workers often have a bias for action and want to find a solution quickly. The other common tactic is to retreatto temporarily disconnect from work and get away from the stressful environment. Unfortunately, both of these approaches have pitfalls. Continuing to work while stressed and fatigue can tax us and lead to worse performance. And while a reprieve from work can offer temporary relief, it doesnt address the underlying issues causing the stress in the first place.
Research suggests a third option might be more effective at helping us manage stress and its effects: focusing on learning. This can mean picking up a new skill, gathering new information, or seeking out intellectual challenges. In two recent research projects, one with employees from a variety of industries and organizations, and the other with medical residents, researchers found evidence that engaging in learning activities can buffer workers from detrimental effects of stress including negative emotions, unethical behavior, and burnout.
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Tip : Break Bad Habits That Contribute To Workplace Stress
Many of us make job stress worse with negative thoughts and behavior. If you can turn these self-defeating habits around, youll find employer-imposed stress easier to handle.
Resist perfectionism. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself, youre setting yourself up to fall short. Aim to do your best no one can ask for more than that.
Flip your negative thinking. If you focus on the downside of every situation and interaction, youll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid negative co-workers, and pat yourself on the back about small accomplishments, even if no one else does.
Dont try to control the uncontrollable. Many things at work are beyond our control, particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control, such as the way you choose to react to problems.
Look for humor in the situation. When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress in the workplace. When you or those around you start taking work too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or funny story.
Clean up your act. If your desk or work space is a mess, file and throw away the clutter just knowing where everything is can save time and cut stress.
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Incorporate Other Memory Strategies
For example, you might use mnemonics as a way to chunk different units of information. If you are going to the grocery store and need bananas, eggs, nectarines, and tea, you can create a word out of the first letters of each item you need: BENT. Once you remember the keyword, you will then be better able to recall the items represented by each letter of the acronym.
How To Relieve Stress: Check Your Thoughts
When your thoughts start to spin out of control during a stressful moment, stop and reframe your thinking. By your choice of perspective, you direct how your body will respondin fight or flight, or in creative choices and solution-based responses, says Lauren E. Miller, stress relief and personal excellence expert and the author of 5 Minutes to Stress Relief.
If youre stressed about something you fear happening, such as Im not going to get this project done and then my boss will fire me, think instead of what a great opportunity it is to show your boss youre a hard worker. Resist the urge to cast yourself as the main character in dramas that have not even occurred, Miller says.
Also, instead of asking why something is happening, ask what you can do to fix it. Asking why pitches you in an endless loop of questions, whereas asking what sets you into problem-solving mode, says psychologist Deborah Serani, award-winning author of Living with Depression and a psychology professor at Adelphi University. Moving forward instead of being lost in the circle of worries and whys helps to reduce stress. Try these simple mindfulness stress relievers.
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How To Relieve Stress: Look In The Mirror
You know how movie characters always look at themselves in the mirror when faced with a tough situation? Well, giving yourself a quick pep talk in the looking glass can actually help relieve stress. Mirror work is done by looking in a mirror and vocally speaking positive affirmations to yourself with affectionate conviction, to release worry or to improve your self-confidence, Whitaker says.
To relieve stress in the moment, she suggests using a restroom mirror, your cars rear-view mirror, or even a compact. Calm your mind by saying encouraging affirmations aloud to yourself, such as, I am excellent at what I do,Ive got this! I am amazing,I am an asset to this company, or I am awesome!’ she says.
How To Relieve Stress: Say Thank You
When stress attacks, it can feel like your whole world is crashing down. Remind yourself whats good in your life with a quick gratitude round-up. Studies show gratitude techniques like counting your blessings can be a significant stress reducer, Serani says. Gratitude research reports that those who utilize daily gratitude reflections have higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism, and lower levels of depression and stress.
Reminding yourself of the good things in life can put stress in perspective. Studies show that cultivating an optimistic mindset can help you maintain a positive mood, Whitaker says. When you are positive and grateful, you are able to handle difficult situations better. Just look out for these stress relievers that actually backfire.
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Talk To Someone Friendly
Another very effective technique is to talk to someone you like and trust, especially on the phone. Don’t be shy about your anxiety – tell them you feel anxious and explain what you’re feeling.
Talking to nice, empathetic people keeps your mind off of your symptoms, and the supportive nature of friends and family gives you an added boost of confidence. If you’re suffering from a panic attack, it also helps you feel more confident that if something were wrong, you’d have someone that can watch over you.
How Can Work Stress Affect Well
Long-term exposure to work-related stressors like these can affect mental health. Research links burnout with symptoms of anxiety and depression. In some cases, this sets the stage for serious mental health problems. Indeed, one study shows younger people who routinely face heavy workloads and extreme time pressure on the job are more likely to experience major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
High levels of stress at work and outside of it can affect physical health, too. Repeated activation of the fight-or-flight response can disrupt bodily systems and increase susceptibility to disease. For example, repeated release of the stress hormone cortisol can disturb the immune system, and raise the likelihood of developing autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimers disease. Chronic stress can also affect health by interfering with healthy behaviors, such as exercise, balanced eating, and sleep.
Work stress can also harm companies or organizations. Burnout reduces job productivity and boosts absenteeism and job turnover, and also leads to conflict between coworkers, causing stress to spread within a workplace.
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Bring Some Diversions Into The Office
The team that plays together, works better together.
There are an infinite number of fun activities you can bring in to reduce workplace stress, whether theyre permanent fixtures or for a special occasion. Here are a few ideas:
Ping pong table
It may sound counterintuitive to bring diversions into a place of work, but allowing your employees to let loose during the day will help them deal with stress in the workplace and boost employee productivity and morale.