I suppose stress is inevitable. As much as we try to avoid it, and try to do things to make us less stressed, the fact of the matter is, we all get a little stressed out every now and then.
Removing stress has something I’ve always been personally mindful of, meaning I’ve tried very hard to lower stress, and calm myself down in any stressful situation. Sometimes it’s tough, but overall I feel like I’ve been doing a good job.
I try to live as stress free as possible.
Stress really is the worst thing for you, and does so much damage to your body. It’s something that I’ve written about before, but I continue to write about it because it’s so important.
Like I mentioned, we all get stressed, it’s almost unavoidable, so we need to learn how to better react when stuff like this comes up.
The effects of stress can lead to employee burnout, which no one wants, so learning how to deal with these things is critical.
Nearly 75% of Americans who responded to an online survey said that their stress levels are so high that they feel unhealthy.
I’m going to talk about different relaxation techniques that you can do at work.
Most of these relaxation techniques take very little time, and cost virtually nothing, depending on how you do it.
Keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are lots of ways to reduce stress.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as doing something you love, like a hobby or signing your favorite song.
We all know what relaxes us, but here are a few ways, backed by science, to help you relax at work.
Meditation is the greatest relaxation technique in my opinion. There is so much scientific research that shows how powerful meditation truly is.
I want to highlight an app I’ve been trying for the last few days, and so far I’m really liking it. It’s called Headspace.
I’ve been seeing a lot of apps like this lately.
Apps that are guided paths, that teach you how to be better through a very structured flow.
Even if it’s a random algorithm in the background, there’s a sense that there’s a team of scientists working around the clock to make my life better.
A study found that mindful meditation reduced the reactivity of the amygdala and increased activity in areas of the prefrontal cortex that help regulate emotions, subsequently reducing stress.
The more we meditate, the less anxiety we have. Meditation has been linked to larger amounts of gray matter in the hippocampus and frontal areas of the brain. More gray matter can lead to more positive emotions, and better regulation of emotions.
It’s also been shown to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
When you’re meditating, remember to breathe deeply.
Harvard researcher Herbert Benson wrote a book called “The Relaxation Response”. In it, he used scientific research to show that short periods of meditation, using breathing as a focus, could alter the body’s stress response.
Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
The good news is, studies show that 20 minutes a day is all that’s required to get beneficial results, like stress reduction.
2. Listen To Music
Listening to music can be great for relaxation.
Music therapy is a whole industry unto itself, and it is truly amazing what music is able to do to heal the body and mind.
Here is a great documentary on the power of music in helping medical patients:
One study has shown that music can trigger biochemical measurable stress-reducing effects, which is great.
Another study found that music helped patients both before and after surgery. The study found that “patients with music reported significant reductions in perceived stress and increases in coping abilities, whereas those without music did not.”
An app that I think does a great job with this is Calm. Check it out, if you’re not hooked after 5 minutes, I’ll buy you a drink ;)
3. Keep a Done List
I think it makes a lot of sense to try and manage the way tasks are approached to help reduce some of the stress associated.
A task list, or a to-do list can get overwhelming, and lead to stress. Also, we often don’t reflect on what went right, which is important to do for your mental well-being.
A better idea, is to keep a “done list”, a list of what you got done today.
This is from a great blog post that I read recently by our friends at iDoneThis about the power of the done list.
Keeping a done list encourages reflection and awareness of the hows and whys of where you are, yielding patience and perspective, better ability to plan, and a clearer picture of where you stand.
In the post, they also talk about the Progress Principle, a book about the power of “small wins”, and their effect on motivation.