Stress affects job performance. The odd stockbroker or Formula One driver might say that they thrive on it, but for most people stress is exhausting. Typically when people get stressed they find less pleasure in their work. Furthermore, Sun Life Insurance reports that stress is a major contributor to employee absenteeism. Clearly, no-one benefits when employees are stressed-out. A glass of good wine or a massage are stress-relieving luxuries enjoyed outside of work hours, but what about relieving stress at work?
Try some of these simple tactics to help alleviate your stressed-filled workday:
Mindfulness has been a buzzword in the world of psychology and self-help for a few years now but its roots are in ancient Buddhism. Work-related stress is often linked to the modern world’s overemphasis on the benefits of multi-tasking. In fact, thinking about several things at once while doing several things at once will often lead to unwanted stress. In contrast, mindfulness calls a person to focus on the single actions, thoughts and emotions of this moment. The idea is not to let your mind wander and to only focus on the task at hand. Try it for yourself, the benefits are amazing!
Our bodies closely associate stress with our prehistoric fight, flight or freeze instincts which help us in dangerous situations. Does stress make you angry? Does it make you want to run away? Does it sometimes leave you just plain confused about what to do next? Of course it does—that’s what adrenaline is designed to do and it is part of being human. Because we are naturally built to respond to stressors with adrenaline, our bodies have an in-built system to recover from its chemical effects once any danger has passed. While your workday might not have passed you can simulate those recovery responses (which are incredibly simple and wonderfully effective). Long, deep breaths that really use the abdomen are nature’s way of clearing adrenaline out of your bloodstream. A couple minutes of (mindful) deep-breathing and you will surely feel the difference.
The Mayo Clinic actually cites laughter as one of the best methods for temporarily relieving stress. Remember those deep breaths that work your abdomen and dilute adrenaline in your bloodstream? Well, a good, hard laughing-fit works the exact same muscles. What is more, laughter is the perfect way to provoke your brain to release endorphins, the chemicals that make us feel good. Who said watching YouTube is bad for business? Laughter should be part of every company’s short-term goals.
Do Some Colouring-In
Okay, this one is strictly for the lunch-break…This year has seen a major breakthrough for adult colouring books. In June, as many as five of Amazon’s top ten best-sellers were adult colouring-in books. Maybe it’s the mindfulness that comes with staying in the lines. Or the sense of creative self-expression. Maybe is just because it reminds us of the carefree days of childhood. Whatever the reason, adult colouring is hugely popular right now and its fans seem to all agree that it is a great way to relieve stress.
A Simple Choice
These methods are so simple that it is a wonder any of us need to be stressed-out at work. As little as five or ten minutes during your day spent in mindfulness, deep-breathing, laughing or colouring-in could be the difference between stressed-out and blissed-out.