Stress relieving tactics to make you happier at work

Stress relieving tactics to make you happier at work.

The average business professional has 30 to 100 projects on their plate, is interrupted seven times an hour and is distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. Is there any wonder the workplace can be full of stress?

But here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be.

With 10 years worth of Harvard research and field-tests under her belt, business psychologist Sharon Melnick, spoke to Forbes about the number of different ways you can bring those workplace stress levels down.

Act Rather Than React.

“We experience stress when we feel that situations are out of our control,” says Melnick. “It activates the stress hormone and, if chronic, wears down confidence, concentration and well-being”. Melnick advises you identify the aspects of a situation you can control and the aspects you can’t. “Be impeccable for your 50%,” she advises. “And try to let go of the rest”.

Breathe.

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”, says Melnick.

Schedule Your Day for Energy and Focus.

Melnick suggests scheduling breaks throughout the day to walk and exercise in: “Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project has shown that if we have intense concentration for about 90 minutes, followed by a brief period of recovery, we can clear the build-up of stress and rejuvenate ourselves”.

Eat Right, Sleep Well.

“Eating badly will stress your system,” says Melnick, who advises eating a low-sugar, high-protein diet. “And when you’re not sleeping well, you’re not getting the rejuvenating effects”. If it’s your stress that’s keeping you up at night, Melnick suggests a simple breathing exercise that may just do the trick. Cover your right nostril and breathe only through your left for three to five minutes. Simple.

Identify Self-Imposed Stress.

“Learn to stop self-imposing stress by building your own self-confidence rather than seeking other’s approval,” says Melnick, “If you’re too caught up in others’ perceptions of you, which you can’t control, you become stressed out by the minutia or participate in avoidance behaviours like procrastination. Ironically, once you shift your focus from others’ perception of your work to the work itself, you’re more likely to impress them”.

Prioritize Your Priorities.

Reorganise your to-do list, focusing on those projects that are best aligned with your goals.

Be Your Own Best Critic.

60,000 thoughts make their way through your mind each day, Melnick says, “internal negativity is just as likely to stress you out as an external event. The fix? Instead of being harsh and critical of yourself, try pumping yourself up. Encouraging thoughts will help motivate you to achieve and ultimately train you to inspire others”.

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