Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Six Quick Tips to Reduce Stress At Work

 We’ve all had those days at work.  The ones where the boss is in a cranky mood, your coworkers are non-stop gossip mills, you’ve got a ton of work to get through on your desk and your clients are constantly in your ear with one complaint after another.   I bet even reading those sentences had you feeling stressed.

Stress has become a never-ending part of modern life and is one of the leading causes of discord in the office.  And it makes sense.  As our stress levels go up, often our patience and abilities to concentrate go down.  And this can lead to bad work reviews and poor service.  So how can you manage this daily stress and keep your cool?  Here are six quick tips.

Step One

First, assess where your stress most often comes from.  Is it a demanding boss?  Is it a nosy co-workers?  Is it even self-created?  Knowing the source or sources of your stress is the first step to being able to do something about it.

Step Two

Next, decide whether the source of stress is something that can be avoided or has to be managed.  For instance, if the office gossip is not someone you have to work closely with, it may be best to cut off communication with this person and avoid them.  

Step Three

If you cannot avoid your source of stress, then you have to manage your stressors.  To do this, you need strategies that you can implement when you feel your stress levels rise.  One way to do this is to schedule yourself mini-breaks.  You can take a walk to the bathroom or get a cup of tea, but get away from your desk for a few minutes to clear your mind.

Step Four

Another way to manage stress is to practice mindfulness.  Mindfulness is about being aware of what is going on in the present.  For instance paying attention to the task at hand while breathing deeply – kind of like you would do in yoga – a breath in during one movement and a breath out during another. 

Step Five

A fifth way to manage stress is to practice compassion.  Compassion is a gentle showing of concern and forgiveness of a person who is struggling.  Notice your suffering in the moment and forgive yourself for feeling stressed, angry or upset.  Notice the shortcomings of those you work with and forgive them for that too.  You will be surprised how powerful the act of forgiveness and compassion can be.

Step Six

Lastly, you can use the Safe/Calm technique.  Take a few moments and think of a place in your mind that makes you feel calm, safe or both.  This can be an actual place or a place you make up entirely in your mind.  For example, many people choose to imagine themselves at the beach.  Allow yourself to really experience the beach in your mind.  Notice the sounds, smells and feelings associated with the scene.  Notice how your body responds to the image and also your breathing.  Choose a word that goes with how you are feeling.  For example, peace.  Then hold the word and the image together in your mind.  You can strengthen this by gently and slowly rocking back and forth – side to side.  Notice how calm you are now? 

Managing stress is a skill that can help you live a longer life and a happier life, especially at the office.  For more on how to improve your work environment, visit www.forwardrecovery.net.


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