Masterfully Manage Your Stress in the Workplace

According to leading researchers from the American Institute of Stress, more than 80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly 50% say they need help in learning how to manage stress, and 42% say their coworkers need such help. Surprisingly, more than 14% felt like hitting a coworker, 25% felt like having a screaming/shouting outburst, 10% were fearful of another who they thought might become violent, 9% were aware of an act of assault in the workplace, and more than 18% personally experienced some sort of assault in the past year.

With these statistics piled up, it’s easy to see why “stress” is the number one cause of health-related issues in our society today. So, if stress is inevitable, the real question to begin to ask ourselves is: “How do we best manage it?”

Based on my experience and study of the human physiology, I’ve assembled a list of tips and tricks to help you do just that.

1)    Breathe

Believe it or not, something as simple as breathing is often the linchpin to added stress in our lives. In fact, most people go through an entire day without one full, deep breath.

You can practice at home in preparation for your next “high stress” situation. Begin by sitting upright in your chair – good posture is key. Now, begin taking a long, deep breath beginning from your sacrum (just above your nether region), and focusing on following that stream of breath all the way up your stomach, through your lungs, up your chest, and traveling out your mouth. Continue this for one minute.

2)    Meditate

With the emergence of yoga and other eastern practices, meditation is quickly growing in popularity in the western world. One misnomer is how easy meditation is, largely due to the misunderstanding with what it is. Meditation is simply the practice of focused, conscious thought, and thus doesn’t require any of the fancy props you might think are necessary to carry it out.

Find a place where disturbances can be kept to a minimum and you can silence your mind. Assume your preferred posture, whether it’s seated upright (in a chair) or crossed legs on the floor. Close your eyes and warm-up your mind by focusing on a specific color. What shade is it, what texture, and what other features are present? Now that your brain is warm, think about something that brings you joy. Place yourself in that emotional situation again, and allow the feelings of happiness to transverse your mind. Take your time, and allow the feeling of “contentment” to takeover. The whole process can be complete in less than 5 minutes, and will allow you to return to your workday revitalized!

3)    Eat

The rise of low-glycemic, high-sugar foods in the world has resulted in epidemics ranging from obesity and diabetes to hypoglycemia and malnutrition. The further you get from the essential, organic foods with high-glycemic indexes, the easier it is for your brain to be “hijacked” by uncontrollable signals and resulting impulses.

By maintaining a well-balanced, nutritional diet on a regular, repeatable schedule (eating every 2-3 hours), you’re nourishing your body (and mind) with the substance it needs to perform at its highest level. If you’re someone who suffers from any of the diseases above, it’s prudent to bring some snacks with you to work everyday to ensure you’re prepared. Granola bars, raw vegetables, and dried fruits are great sources of nutrition and glycaemia for snacks. As a general rule of thumb, if you feel hungry, you’re already too late..

4)    Exercise

In addition to being good for your overall health, physical activity is a great way to boost the release of oxytocin and dopamine into your system. These naturally occurring chemicals promote pleasure and well being throughout your body.

Commit yourself to 15-30 minutes a day of physical activity, ideally before your stressful meetings for the day. Even if you’re not looking to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, the key is to get your heart rate high enough to trigger these chemicals to be released. By doing so, you’ll build substantial layers of armor to “protect” you from taking any impulse actions and looking like a fool to colleagues or clients alike.

5)    Sleep

This one is typically the most often overlooked of the ways to deal with stress. As adults, our bodies need an average of 7 hours of sleep per night, but most only get 4-6.

Starving your body from sleep is no better than starving it from food or water, causing a laundry list of side effects to occur. A well-rested body is a well-rested mind, leading to sharper, clearer thinking. And if you are one of those who did not get the proper hours in, just do it Google style and take a 15-minute “Cat Nap.” Doing so is like getting injected with a dose of night’s sleep, giving you the boost necessary to get through the rest of the workday unscathed.

About Justin Nimergood

After several successful years and various accolades to match, Justin decided to leave his job in Corporate America and pursue his passion for service as an Entrepreneur. As a Personal Coach and Business Consultant, Justin aims to redefine organizational culture across the globe, beginning with the heart of the matter – its people.

Justin holds his Master of Science in Management and Leadership from Pepperdine University and Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from The University of Texas at Austin. When he isn’t helping others, he can be found working out, playing sports, traveling, reading, or enjoying time with his wife, Christina.

August 6, 2014

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