Stress can come from anywhere. Work and school, of course, are the main sources of stress for adults, although anything from relationships to taxes could also induce stress. But work is the most common venue for stress. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to deal with unpleasant situations and return to a calm state of mind.
Here are some ideas:
- Exercise. This is a proven way to release stress, but it isn’t always as easy to do. Some people’s schedules allow them to take a jog at lunch or go to the gym in the morning. Of course, if you don’t have shower facilities at work, a lunchtime run is not an ideal way to exercise. However, even walking during your lunch break can be a good way to build an overall sense of calm. Even a ten minute stroll during a coffee break can be worthwhile.
- Breath deeply. Breathing is a powerful tool that people almost always take for granted. People who meditate often do so by concentrating on their breath and blocking out all other thoughts. Though you don’t necessarily have to meditate, breathing deeply (so that your rib cage and stomach expand) while focusing on your breath is a great way to take a mental break from your current situation.
- Inject some nature into your work-space. This could be in the form of a plant or perhaps even a small fish tank. There are hardy plants that can survive with a minimal amount of sunlight and watering (so they can be left in your office over the weekend). Or you can take your plant home with you every day. There are small, shelf-sized fish tanks that can house hardy fish (such as goldfish, betas and minnows). Looking at these reminders of nature can be a major stress reducer.
- Music can be a stress release, but it can also promote stress. Soft, soothing music that does not contain quick beats, though it might seem boring, is better for bringing about a calm state of mind than pop or rock music. Choose something that works best for you: jazz, new age electronic music, instrumental music like classical guitars, or classical music. Just remember that this music is to aid in stress reduction, not to get your groove on.
- Find a hobby that doesn’t take much time. Whether it is solving crossword puzzles, reading or playing solitaire, choose something that you can do during a brief break from work that can act as an “escape” from those things that cause you stress.
- Avoid stress-inducing foods. Sugar and coffee are both good for short term bursts of energy and a good way to satisfy cravings and relieve hunger. However, they are also stimulants that naturally increase your heart rate and make you more prone to symptoms of stress. Opting for healthier snacks and trying to at least cut back on your caffeine intake can lead to a more calm feeling overall and make it easier for you to deal with stress when it arises.
- Keep a dedicated work room or office at home. If you have to do any work or studying while at home, only do it in this area. This will allow you to reserve the remaining parts of your living space for relaxation and general day-to-day activities that are not related to stress-inducing work.
- Confront your stress. What things are making you stressed out? Seriously ask yourself if it is worth being stressed out about these things. For many people, the natural reaction to unforeseen events is discomfort. Though it may take some practice, it is possible to develop a more detached attitude towards events at work. If you can look at them objectively, you may be able to see that most stress triggers are not really worth getting stressed over.