Having to keep up with deadlines, workload, long meetings, and work hours can get very overwhelming and stressful. Studies show that 65 percent of American workers are stressed because of their workplace. Of these, 19 percent admit to quitting a job because of stress and 1 in 4 admit to being reduced to tears because of it. It was also discovered that most Americans end up with headaches, neck cramps, and disturbed sleep at the end of each work day.
Effects Of Stress On Productivity And Health
Research indicates that the higher the stress levels, the lower the productivity gets.1 2 To add to this, if ignored, stress can lead to chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. It also affects the immune system, such that one becomes more susceptible to viral infections.3
So if you find yourself saying, “I’m so stressed out,” a lot and would like to tackle it effectively, we’ve got 7 easy ways to go about it.
Tips To Efficiently Tackle Stress
1. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This technique requires you to tense and relax your body, one muscle group at a time. You could start with your hands and work your way down to your toes. Here is an example:
- Make a tight fist with your right hand.
- Hold it for a few seconds.
- Pay attention to the difference between your fist and your left hand (which is relaxed).
- Take a deep breath and relax your hand.
- Repeat with your left hand.
This technique has shown to help with anxiety and depression. It is also linked to a better quality of life.4
2. Sip On Green Tea
Have you ever gulped down cups after cups of coffee on a stressful day? As it turns out, caffeine amplifies stress. In fact, it might make your perception of stress even worse.5 Instead, sip on green tea. It consists of L-theanine, which is an amino-acid that reduces stress and anxiety and may treat depression as well. Regular intake of green tea prevents diabetes, weight gain, aging, liver disease, cancer, and arthritis as well.6
3. Make A Calming Jar Or A Snow Globe
There is a good chance you’ve come across a do-it-yourself video of a calming jar already. Often recommended for kids, these jars can help calm you down and distract you in difficult times. Here are all the things you’d need for one.
- Food coloring – preferably calming colors like blue and purple
- Glycerin or glue
- Warm water
Whip these well in a bowl and transfer them to a jar. If you’re making a snow globe, skip the color and super glue your favorite toy to the lid of the jar. Although there isn’t any research to back the benefits of a calming jar, it makes for a fun activity to engage in with your family or friends. Not to mention, it looks pretty on a desk.
4. Laugh Out Loud
It might not be such a bad idea to scroll through funny memes and watch stand-up comedy for a bit at work. Research shows that laughter improves our emotional well-being and make us feel optimistic.7 A good laugh lowers blood pressure and stress. It also increases endorphin levels.8
5. Take A Break And Chat With Your Colleagues
Take a break from work more often to talk to your colleagues. Stepping back from work for a bit will help you gain some perspective on it and feel less overwhelmed. Studies also indicate that social support makes it easier to cope with stress.9 And some also show that stress increases the feeling of depersonalization and social support helps improve self-worth.10 If you’d rather talk to a loved one, step outside the office and make a quick call.
6. Take A Deep Breath
Most of us can’t find time to do yoga in our daily lives. But there’s one yoga technique we can practice at work – pranayama. Here is how you can go about it.
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Close the right nostril with your right thumb.
- Breathe in and out through the left nostril.
- Close the left nostril with your left thumb.
- Breathe in and out through the left nostril.
- Repeat for as long as you can.
Research has shown that this breathing technique helps slow down the heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure and thus relieves anxiety, panic attacks, and stress.11
You may not be able to do much about reducing work load or taking a few days off. But these tips are easy to follow and cut down your stress to a major extent. Try a few or all of it and let us know how well it worked out for you!
|↑1||Yerkes, Robert M., and John D. Dodson. “The relation of strength of stimulus to rapidity of habit‐formation.” Journal of comparative neurology 18, no. 5 (1908): 459-482.|
|↑2||Workplace Stress. The American Institute Of Stress.|
|↑3||Wein, Harrison. “Stress and disease: New perspectives.” National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services (2000).|
|↑4||Li, Yunping, Ranran Wang, Jingqun Tang, Chen Chen, Ling Tan, Zhongshi Wu, Fenglei Yu, and Xiang Wang. “Progressive muscle relaxation improves anxiety and depression of pulmonary arterial hypertension patients.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).|
|↑5||Caffeine’s Effects are Long-Lasting and Compound Stress. Duke Health.|
|↑6||Chatterjee, Anirban, Mini Saluja, Gunjan Agarwal, and Mahtab Alam. “Green tea: A boon for periodontal and general health.” Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology 16, no. 2 (2012): 161.|
|↑7||Gervais, Matthew, and David Sloan Wilson. “The evolution and functions of laughter and humor: A synthetic approach.” The Quarterly Review of Biology 80, no. 4 (2005): 395-430.|
|↑8||Crawford, Shelley A., and Nerina J. Caltabiano. “Promoting emotional well-being through the use of humour.” The Journal of Positive Psychology 6, no. 3 (2011): 237-252.|
|↑9||Baqutayan, Shadiya. “Stress and social support.” Indian journal of psychological medicine 33, no. 1 (2011): 29.|
|↑10||Mills-Fry, Shirley A., and Shirley J. Roddy. The Effects of Social Support on Work Stress and Burnout. No. AFIT/CI/CIA-88-224. AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH, 1988.|
|↑11||Sharma, Vivek Kumar, Madanmohan Trakroo, Velkumary Subramaniam, M. Rajajeyakumar, Anand B. Bhavanani, and Ajit Sahai. “Effect of fast and slow pranayama on perceived stress and cardiovascular parameters in young health-care students.” International journal of yoga 6, no. 2 (2013): 104.|