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Stress and anxiety at certain amounts is normally experienced by most adults, whether at work or at home. Some pressure at work can be motivating, challenging people to come up with innovative solutions and great ideas. However, when it becomes excessive, it eventually leads to work-related stress. When this stress leads to persistent, excessive and irrational anxiety, it can start to interfere with everyday functioning.
Perhaps a new job, new responsibilities, a big and important project, or anything that is outside your comfort zone is now affecting not only your professional but also your personal life. The good news is that a few simple changes can help people gain more control of their work life.
1. Reconfigure Your Morning
From the very start, create an intentional ritual that helps you get your mind and body running to a ready and most desirable state. However, people should transition to it moderately. Using a smart phone for an alarm clock can tempt you to also check your inbox while still in bed, and that is a recipe for anxiety. It is better to use a plain, vintage alarm clock to wake you up for that morning jog or quick yoga. Or you can ease into the day with a few minutes of visualization or meditation, and then prepare a healthy breakfast or a nutritious smoothie.
2. Control What You Can
Organizing and controlling small things can empower people to some degree. Instead of feeling totally helpless and overwhelmed, you can use best practices such as prioritizing work that is important. Check your email inbox only at set times of the day. Project management software provides many productivity features for managing tasks, communication, schedule, time and expenses, all resulting to a more efficient use of time and resources. Keeping your desk as well as your desktop clutter-free can also help calm the mind.
3. Take Small Breaks
Try to log off and rest your eyes from the computer every 1.5 to 2 hours. Working straight for a long stretch of time is counter-productive, as efficiency goes down when the mind and body becomes fatigued. It is advisable to stand up and take a little walk, with a change of scenery doing good for the senses, the mind, and circulation in the body. A study showed that walking in a greener, more natural environment for a few minutes can help people solve problems they might not otherwise be able to just staying at their desk or cubicle.
4. Sweat It Out
When involved in a big and urgent project, it might seem at first a good idea to spend extra hours on some of the tasks. However, spending time for exercise and other physical activities will result in greater good, because exercise lowers levels of anxiety, depression and stress. It was discovered that raising one’s heart rate through exercise reverses damage to the brain from stressful events, events that make people forgetful. On the other hand, exercise improves cognitive function and learning, making people smarter.
5. Choose Healthy Food and Drinks
Some people rely on energy boost from caffeine or sugary foods to start or sustain their work day. However, the effects are only temporary and short-term. It is better to try healthier, balanced foods for a longer and more permanent effect. For instance, herbal teas and infusions provide more than just caffeine, but also antioxidants and nutrients that can strengthen the immune system. Fruits and nuts are better snacks than sugary processed foods, as they also contain vitamins and minerals, not just calories. Healthy foods and drinks can also help you fall asleep faster and deeper, so that you will feel energized when you wake up, even without the help of caffeine.
6. Find Your Breath
It was discovered that the more people are anxious, the more shallow their breathing are. Making conscious changes to the body can create change to the mind, so by learning to breathe more slowly and more deeply from the belly, you can reduce your anxiety. It is important most of all to be aware of how you are breathing, so that when you find yourself breathing fast and shallow, like when reading a frustrating email, having a stressful meeting, or during a tiring commute, you can use simple breathing techniques that will immediately calm your mind. Breathing meditations can even help people with insomnia to fall asleep.
A study indicated that about 7 out of 10 adults experience work stress and anxiety on a daily basis, interfering with their normal lives at a moderate level. Thus, looking at a bigger picture, most people are having the same problems. For those who feel they are experiencing it at a greater level, they need to know that they do not have to go through it and overcome it all by themselves. It is also important to keep one’s job in perspective. Stress and anxiety have direct impact on one’s health and personal relationships. Getting stressed out and upset on some job matters may not be worth it on a grander scheme of things.
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Steve Human is an author, composer, songwriter and singer. He is a true self-taught artist and multi-instrumentalist. His desire to evolve led him to visit many countries on several continents. He began innovating as he developed combinations from different musical genres, such as popular rhythms, meditative and film music.