A certain level of stress at work is perfectly normal and not harmful. After all, a desire to perform well and challenge oneself is always going to put some stress onto an individual but not an overwhelming amount. There can be times, however, when the daily pressures of work feel like they are just too much. When this happens it is important to know how to calm down. Stress is dangerous to our health, both mentally and physically. Reducing stress levels at work makes for a much nicer environment for everyone.
Ever since we were children we have been told to take deep breaths if we need to calm down, and the reason for this is it works. Try spending time breathing deeply every day, even when you feel OK. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth as deeply and slowly as is comfortable. Breathing in this manner stimulates the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which encourages the production of the hormones dopamine and serotonin, otherwise known as the happy hormones. These elevate our mood and make us feel less stressed, so give it a whirl.
Taking a ‘time out’ is also something most of us probably remember from childhood. If you feel yourself getting really worked up it can be hard to calm down when you are still physically in the situation. Take a five minute break and walk away. Often a physical change in environment can trigger a change in mental activity too and make it much easier to calm down.
It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that those who exercise regularly are in general happier people than those who don’t. Stay healthy and try to exercise at least three times a week for twenty minutes, more if you have time. Exercise releases endorphins, another feel good chemical, into the bloodstream. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid caffeinated beverages as much as possible. Try to eat five portions of fruit or vegetable each day as part of a balanced diet that also includes protein, carbohydrate and fibre. Keeping your body healthy has a positive effect on your mental state.
Alter Your Work Pattern/Area
Sometimes feeling disorganised can lead to extra stress. Rearranging your workstation and then working on your time management skills can really make a difference. It may seem like the placement of office chairs is irrelevant, but ask yourself how many times a day you get annoyed because you can’t reach the stationary drawer? Try keeping track of how you spend your time for a week and eliminate any unproductive activity. This will make you feel less stressed in itself and will also leave you with more free time to practice meditation techniques or take short breaks when you start to feel things getting on top of you.