Stress in the workplace can help contribute to poor performance, sickness and decreased mental health. Perhaps you blame a virus or bacteria for your ill health, or family traditions for not having the willpower to stop overeating, or an overactive mind for keeping you up at night; but in reality, stress may be the perpetrator.
Stress affects all aspects of life when left unchecked. It can cause a long list of health concerns[i], such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, anxiety and mental illness. It also increases confusion, lack of motivation and being absent minded, which can bring about low performance and dissatisfaction while at your place of employment. Although stress is an unavoidable part of life and impossible to eliminate, there are stress management[ii] skills that can help to reduce your stress level at work.
Be Mindful of Stress
Being mindful of your stress level is the first step in avoiding undue health risks and improving your mental wellbeing[iii]. Learning to recognize when you are under stress is very important, because when you are devoid of stress, you can become healthier, happier, and more accomplished. Life is more enjoyable and rewarding when you are able to control your stress levels.
Workers all over the world practice stress management, and they do so for good reason. Keeping stress levels down brings a sense of contentment, a zest for life, a sense of meaning and purpose, improved relationships, balance of work, play and rest, more self confidence, inner-peace and happiness. By incorporating de-stressing techniques and creating habits to manage stress, you can increase your mental health and wellness, which will improve all aspects of your life.
Techniques to De-stress
Studies have proven successful that a few techniques for stress management at work are: yoga, meditation and exercise.
Practicing yoga[iv] to reduce stress can be done at any age. It incorporates deep breathing to balance the body, mind and spirit. Those who practice yoga regularly report that they feel less stressed and have a better quality of sleep.
One of the main goals of practicing yoga is to achieve serenity of the mind and a sense of wellbeing. Yoga supports a calm mind to help you focus on the present moment and to see things more clearly, which lowers stress[v] and increases tranquility within. It brings about feelings of contentment, relaxation and an increase in awareness. It lowers irritability, improves self-esteem and enhances an optimistic attitude. Practicing yoga also helps you to handle stressful situations and events more easily, as well as decreases anxiety and depression, all of which will help you to increase productivity and fulfillment at work.
Meditation can be a powerful tool to calm your mind and ease your nerves to be more efficient and assiduous. The calming action of meditation increases concentration and creativity, which increases mental acuity and efficiency at work.
One of the best ways to manage stress is through deep breathing[vi] meditation. It is a simple coping method that can be practiced any time of the day, at virtually any location. In as little as 10 minutes per day, deep breathing meditation can help you reduce your tension levels and lower anxiety. In addition, practicing it regularly can increase relaxation.
Another form of meditation that is gaining popularity is the relaxation response[vii] created by Harvard physician Herbert Benson in the 1970s. This technique is gaining popularity with therapists and practitioners universally as a means of reducing stress and improving mental health. The calm action of meditation increases concentration and creativity, which increases mental acuity and productivity[viii] at work.
Staying active is one of the best stress opponents. Exercise[ix] not only improves your overall health and wellness, but it helps deplete stress hormones and releases feel-good chemicals into the brain, all of which helps you to manage stress better and be more motivated to excel in all aspects of life.
Some of those feel-good chemicals are called endorphins, which are often referred to as the happy hormones. All types of physical activity lead to the release of these blissful neurotransmitters. The increase of endorphins into your body heightens your sense of cheerfulness and decrease stress, which aids in productivity.
To decrease stress and improve your mental health to be more productive at work, include these three techniques into your daily routine.