We begin our professional life with a lot of thrill and enthusiasm. But, soon both these feelings get converted into dullness and frustration. The prime reason behind this happening is- work stress. It drains all our energy, robs us of joy, and hampers our overall well-being. As a result, we experience physical pains, emotional imbalance, and mental chaos, which together eat away our productivity at work. The loss of productivity further makes it challenging for us to shoulder our work responsibilities well and thus, raises our work stress level even more.
This way, stress leads to loss of productivity, which further leads to even more stress, and the vicious circle seems never-ending. But, it is not never-ending in actuality.
There is one technique through which you can break the vicious circle of work stress and also reclaim your well-being and productivity. The technique we are talking about is no other than effective stress management.
Given below are 10 effective ways of stress management by practicing which you can manage work stress and also reclaim your productivity.
1. Cultivating an Exercise Routine
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is one of the best ways of stress management. This is because exercise stimulates the production of ‘happy hormones’ in your body. Happy hormones such as Dopamine, Oxytocin, and Serotonin, lower the level of Cortisol-the major stress hormone and induce stress relief. Along with this, exercise also triggers the secretion of ‘endorphins’ in your brain.
Endorphins are the hormones, which trigger a positive feeling in the body and also act as natural pain relievers. So, they work well in uplifting your mood and relieving stress-induced pains such as headache, chest pain, and muscle pain.
All these stress-relieving impacts of exercise, together make it important for you to cultivate an exercise routine. Given below are two effective tools which you can use to cultivate an effective exercise routine:
- Workout Apps — Workout Apps make your smartphone a mini gym. They help you practice different exercise routines, track your diet, and also measure your workout performance. Nike Training Club, FitOn, and 7-minute workout are examples of some workout apps which you can download for both Android as well as iOS.
- Workout Channels on YouTube —You can also exercise along with YouTube videos. Adam Rosante, Amanda Russell, and Be Fit are some popular workout channels available on YouTube.
Further, exercise techniques whether simple or complex both yield equal benefits in inducing stress relief. So, you can also depend on simple exercises such as running, jogging, and skipping, for work stress management.
2. Keeping Your Workspace Clean and Organized
It might surprise you but keeping your workspace clean and organized can help you manage work stress. This is because a cluttered workspace creates waves of confusion in your brain. As a result, your thinking ability gets negatively impacted and your stress level gets elevated. On the contrary, having a clean and organized workspace makes your mind feel comfortable and easy. In order to experience this effect, you can try the simple activity given below.
- Arrange the icons on your desktop in a haphazard manner.
- Keep looking at your haphazard desktop for at least 1 minute.
- Observe how you feel.
- Rearrange your desktop icons in an orderly manner.
- Keep looking at your desktop screen for 1 minute.
- Observe how you feel.
Did you feel some sort of uneasiness while looking at the haphazard desktop screen? Did the orderly arrangement of desktop icons feel relieving? The obvious answer is ‘yes’.
Now that you know how a cluttered workspace can make your brain feel uneasy, make sure to keep it well-organized.
3. Being Mindful
In general, we are rarely present in the now. Although we are physically present in the now, mentally we are somewhere else. We are either engrossed in thinking about the past or brooding over the future. This act of remaining occupied with thoughts and being absent from the present moment is one of the major causes of stress.
For instance, while working on a presentation, you may get engrossed in thinking what will happen if your manager didn’t like it? This mere thought results in anxiety and triggers the production of stress hormones. But, who knows whether your thoughts will become reality or not? There are equal chances of your manager liking or disliking your presentation. So, there is no need for you to stress yourself out. Rather, you should give your best in the ‘now’ by focussing on creating an excellent presentation.
Further, you can give your best in the now, only if you are completely present in it. ‘Mindfulness’ is the technique by practicing which you can learn the art of being completely absorbed in the present moment.
In order to practice mindfulness, you have to perform everything with consciousness. For example, if you are making a presentation on your laptop, you should try doing so while feeling the temperature of the laptop, the slight sound of the keys, and their softness.
4. Making Friends at Work
Your friends can be of great help when it comes to stress management. This is because spending quality time with friends enhances the production of Oxytocin in your body. Oxytocin is a happy hormone that acts against Cortisol- the major stress hormone and induces stress relief. The Mayo Clinic has also validated this fact. Thus, it is important for you to spend quality time with your friends. But, meeting your friends daily may be hard to implement because of your busy professional life.
Under such circumstances, it is best to make friends with the ones, with whom you spend most of your time every day. Here, we are talking about your office colleagues. By making friends with them, you won’t have to make any special friends’ time. All your office hours will be your happy hours with friends. Although you may only get the chance to engage in hearty conversations during lunch break, that would be enough to reduce your work stress considerably.
5. Taking Regular Breaks From Work
Your brain functions much like a wave. It experiences its productivity crests and troughs regularly. As your brain approaches productivity troughs, it needs some time to replenish its productivity. This implies that it needs a break. But, many times, even after your brain reaches the trough you keep working.
Further, working continuously for long hours can elevate your work stress level. This is because by working continuously, you deny your brain the much-needed rest and relaxation. As a result, your brain feels drained out and your work stress level increases. So, it is important for you to not work for long periods of time in a go. Rather, you should try taking regular breaks from work.
Now, you might be wondering about how long it is actually long? It all depends on you. You can take a break from work any time after having worked for at least 25 minutes to a maximum of 1 hour. It depends on you to select your work interval. But, whatever be your work interval, make sure to take a 5-minute break after its completion. Further, after completing four consecutive work intervals, you should take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Detaching From Your Emotions
Just like your personal life, your professional life also makes you experience plenty of emotions every day. Although these emotions may be positive or negative, here we are going to discuss only the negative ones. This is because negative emotions like sadness and anger, are the ones that expose you to work stress. In order to prevent these negative emotions from doing so, it is important for you to detach from them. Given below is a step by step procedure by following which you can do so:
- Inhale a few deep breaths — This is the first and foremost step to follow for detaching from your emotions. It involves consciously inhaling a few deep breaths. While doing so, you have to pay only subtle attention to your breath.
- Recognize your emotions — This is the second step of your journey to detach from your emotions wherein you have to recognize them. For this, you have to take a deep plunge into your inner core and find out the blend of emotions lying there. It is important to do as you may be thinking that you are angry, but in reality, your anger may be springing from your sadness over an event. So, make sure to recognize every emotion you are feeling.
- Experience them fully — Once you have recognized your emotions, it’s time to experience them fully. For this, you have to let your emotions bloom. For instance, if you are angry, try making a tight fist and exert as much pressure as you can. By doing so, you can experience your emotions fully. Once you have experienced them completely, you can proceed towards bidding them adieu.
- Relax —This is the final step of the process. It involves closing your eyes, relaxing, and feeling that you have become empty of your negative emotions.
7. Releasing Your Emotions Out
Releasing your emotions out is a great way to work stress management. When you release your emotions out, you free yourself from their burden and experience stress relief. Given below is a list of three effective ways through which you can release your emotions out.
- Talk yourself out to a loved one — Your loved ones are your greatest support system. They include both your family and friends. Depending on your comfort level, you can release your emotions out by talking to a dear friend or a family member.
- Indulge in the mirror talking — If you are an introvert and find it hard to disclose your worries and troubles to others, you can indulge in the mirror talking. For this, you have to stand in front of a mirror and speak your heart out.
- Write your feelings in a diary — Writing your feelings is another way to release your worries and emotions. So, you can keep a diary and write your feelings on it.
- Talk yourself out to an object —This may seem like a crazy thing to do, but it is beneficial for work stress management. It involves talking yourself out to some object like your cell phone, pen, notepad, anything you like.
8. Reconnecting to Inner Stillness With Meditation
The ancient technique of ‘Meditation’ works wonders for work stress management. It enables you to reconnect to your inner stillness, where stress and worries can no longer exercise their negative impact on you. It is not that meditation makes stress disappear from your life. Rather, it empowers your resilience against stress and enables you to counter its negative impacts. Further, WebMD also validates the importance of meditation in stress-relief. So, you can manage your work stress level, by inculcating a habit of meditation. In order to practice meditation, you have to make no investments other than your time. Given below are some effective tools which you can use to learn meditation.
- Guided meditation YouTube videos — There are a number of guided meditation channels available on YouTube. Great Meditation and the Art of Living are two of them. You can play the guided meditation videos on your preferred channel and meditate along.
- Meditation Apps—There are a number of meditation apps available on the internet. You can download an app of your choice and learn meditation. Calm, Insight Timer, and the Mindfulness app are some examples of popular meditation apps.
9. Letting Go of the Urge to Control or Modify Things
Much of the work stress breeds from the urge to control or modify things. The moment you let go of this urge and start accepting things at their face value, work stress decreases. For instance, if your manager’s rude behavior stresses you out, try accepting it. Let his behavior just be. Don’t expect it to change even slightly.
The moment you do so, your expectation to receive good treatment, settles down and you unlock the doorway to stress relief. Here, we are not saying that you should accept everything and don’t expect to receive good treatment. Rather, it is just that you should try leaving your expectations when you know that they are only troubling you.
10. Cultivating a Hobby
Cultivating a hobby is an excellent way to work on stress management. When you practice a hobby, your thoughts narrow down and you find peace. You are no longer worried about your office problems or work-related worries. Instead, you become lost in a type of joyous flow wherein only inner silence remains. So, it is important for you to cultivate a hobby and practice it daily.
If you are not quite sure what your hobby is or what you like doing, try experimenting with different art forms and sports activities. Dancing, Singing, Playing Badminton, sketching, and cooking are some hobbies which you can practice at home.