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5 easy ways to help cope with work-related stress
No matter how much you love your career, chances are that you deal with job-induced stress at least once a week. In some ways, this is good - it means you're passionate about your work. In other ways, it's extremely detrimental to your mental health and professional performance. The good news is, you don't have to live with stress, as there are plenty of simple ways to handle it that don't involve tearing your hair out. According to a market research survey from ProOpinion, here are five of the most popular ways to cope with work-related stress.
1. Tapping your fingers
Tapping your fingers might sound more like a nervous tick than an accepted mode of stress relief, but it's actually a great way to release some of that nervous, anxious energy. According to Driving Peace, tapping is sometimes referred to as the "Emotional Freedom Technique" and is linked to traditional Chinese medicine practices.
Where and how you tap does make a difference, however. The source explained that you should tap your fingers on pressure points, like the top of your head, your eyebrows, under your nose, next to your eye or under your eye. Other good places include your collarbone, chin and underarm.
You should tap gently, but maintain a steady pace as you go. When tapping for stress relief, make an effort to keep it up for between three to seven minutes. While you tap, repeat statements about how you currently feel and why, and then repeat how you'd like to feel. For example, tap yourself while saying "I feel stressed out because of this deadline. I'd like to feel calm and focused."
Yoga doubles as an effective exercise routine and a wonderful stress-relief practice. It unifies the body and mind for complete anxiety release. Yoga is an ancient tradition, and people have been practicing it for centuries due to its numerous healthy benefits. Online fitness resource Active explained that while the original creators of yoga may have not been aware of its clinical benefits, they knew that it helped calm people down. Today, however, science can explain just what happens when you do yoga while stressed.
Active reported that your nervous system has multiple parts. One is the sympathetic branch, which is home to your "fight or flight" response, and another is known as the parasympathetic branch, which controls your "rest and digest" state. Your fight or flight response becomes more intense as you get stressed out and you're unable to access your rest and digest response. During a yoga practice, however, you focus on breathing from your diaphragm, a technique that calms down your entire body. This lets you slip out of fight or flight and into rest and digest, explained the source.
Stress is often exacerbated by your own racing mind, which keeps piling thoughts on top of thoughts, jumping from one problem to the next. One effective way to reduce stress is by quieting your mind, a state that can be achieved through meditation. Buddhist meditation organization Wild Mind explained that meditation helps adjust your nervous system in the same way as yoga - by quieting your flight or fight responses and allowing your rest and digest state to take over.
The source noted that meditation also helps you unlock inner resources that can prevent you from getting severely stressed. It increases your mindfulness and awareness, which can help you maintain a big-picture perspective when the responsibilities and problems start to feel overwhelming. Additionally, meditation is often used as an anger management technique, so it can be helpful if your reaction to stress is to get mad and lash out.
4. Visualizing a positive experience
You may have heard that when you're nervous about something, like giving a presentation, you should picture yourself doing a flawless job in order to gain confidence. Visualization can come in handy in many different situations, however, including instances when you're looking for some stress relief.
Fast Company magazine explained that positive visualization can help with both short-term and long-term stress. For example, if you're stressed out about hitting a deadline, simply picture yourself going through the process of doing the work and submitting everything right on time. If you're more concerned about achieving a long-term goal, like getting a promotion, create an image of yourself in the future, basking in your success. Every time you get frustrated and stressed out with current responsibilities, picture yourself getting that promotion and realize that everything you're doing now will pay off in the long run.
"Taking deep breaths can increase your sense of calm."
5. Breathing exercises
Yoga harnesses the power of breathing to relieve stress, but you can't always bend into downward dog in the middle of your work day. When stress strikes and you need immediate relief, simple breathing exercises can go a long way toward helping you feel better.
According to the American Institute of Stress, taking focused breaths from your abdomen for about half an hour each day can increase the amount of oxygen in your brain. This stimulates your rest and digest state, which can increase your sense of calm. The source noted that the physical effects of taking deep breaths, paired with the concentration required to take these breaths, helps get you out of your head and into your body. This can help you get rid of excess thoughts and worries and focus on what's important.
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