During a normal work day, many things can go wrong and cause frustration. Whenever you have to deal with a frustrating situation, stress builds up. It’s a good idea to relieve the stress periodically. Unrelieved stress is bad for your health. If it causes an emotional blow-up, it can be bad for your career as well.
The key to relieving stress is to experiment with different techniques to find the ones that work best for you. Here are some strategies to try:
* Get back into your body
When you’re stressed out, your thoughts can take on a life of their own. You may find yourself obsessively ruminating about the things that worry you. A quick way to stop the rumination is to bring your awareness back to your body. This is easy to do and works instantaneously. Think of it as emotional first aid:
Put your hand on your desk or on some other solid surface. Focus all of your attention on your hand. How does the desk feel? Really concentrate on this. Next, take a slow breath in and a slow breath out. Continue for a few more breaths.
* Take a break
If your job allows you to leave your work area for a few minutes, taking a short break can help cut short a cycle of stress. Smokers who work in an office and have to go outside to smoke every few hours already know about this. Non-smokers can get just as much benefit from taking a non-smoking break. The temporary change of scenery will do you good.
Stretching is a classic stress reliever. You don’t have to be an advanced yoga practitioner to take advantage of the benefits of stretch. A short, simple stretching routine can do wonders. You can even do some stretches without getting out of your chair.
The more time you spend hunched over working on a computer, the more important it is to take frequent stretch breaks to get rid of some of the tension that builds up in your neck, shoulders, and back.
* Face your problems head-on
While the techniques above offer useful short-term relief from stress, some problems also call for a longer-term solution. If you have recurring problems in your workplace, such as serious conflicts with bosses or co-workers, an overwhelming workload, or a chronic feeling that you are in the wrong job or company, try to sort out what you might be able to change from what is impossible to change. If a major area of your work life can be improved, do what you can to improve it. Just taking a first step can relieve a lot of the stress that comes from feeling stuck.
You will probably never be completely free of stressful situations, even in the best of jobs. Keep that stress from building up by making stress-relieving techniques a part of your normal daily routine.
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