Life is a great thing, you may do with yours as you wish. We live in a world full of opportunity and a society where it is never too late to try something new; where the pursuit of a better life is accepted and encouraged. But in this pursuit, inevitably there can be stress from time to time.
Nothing worth doing is ever easy, so stress is perfectly normal, but sometimes we need a little relief from those taxing moments in the day. Take a look at these techniques for stress release to help look after your wellbeing at work and build up your professional resilience.
When we get flustered, panicked or stressed our heart rate can go like the clappers. Take 5 minutes out to focus on your breath. Deep, mindful breathing will bring your heart rate and blood pressure right down. So, close your eyes, adjust your posture and breathe in through your nose. Notice as the air fills your body, from the bottom of your abdomen all the way up to the tip of your head. Then slowly exhale, paying attention to the feeling of the air leaving your lungs. Repeat for 5 minutes, and then return to your tasks feeling relaxed and clear-headed.
Or whatever exercise gets you going! Running is especially good as anyone with a pair of trainers can do it, a wonderfully low maintenance activity option. As you may well know, exercise in all its forms is great for reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as pumping your body with endorphins. Getting regular physical activity into your life can aid your wellbeing at work and makes for a less stressful and more productive life.
Plugging in to your favourite tunes is a great way to divert feelings of stress or anxiety. Focus on your favourite bits; that melody you love, the way that singer plays with that note, that amazing drum fill you are always in anticipation of. Music can deal with emotion like nothing else. And maybe music doesn’t do it for you? In which case, why not try rainfall, whale-song, jungle sounds, ocean waves or birdsong? These tranquil sounds will soon have you in a state of mindfulness.
Just a few minutes of meditation a day can not only release immediate stress, but also make you more resilient to stress in general, which is great news for your wellbeing at work and at home. A simple meditation: Just sit up and close your eyes for a few minutes, repeating a personal mantra of your choice in your head (eg. ‘I am at peace’ or ‘water off a duck’s back’). If this isn’t quite right for you then there hundreds of mini meditations to choose from… why not check out our twitter tag #MINDFULNESSMONDAYS
5. Take a moment to be Present
With all the commotion of a day at work, taking a moment to be present is an excellent way to help practice mindfulness in the workplace. If you are new to the concept of ‘presence’ why not have a look at our blog post ‘What Does It Mean to Be Present?’
By this we mean relax your muscles! We all hold stress and the form of muscular tension, very often without noticing. Some people hold it in their neck, some in their back, shoulders, stomach or jaw. A few moments spent on releasing these tensions can be great help to your overall centeredness and calm. Yoga, simple stretches and Alexander Technique are brilliant places to draw from. Or indeed, just try this: Lie on the ground with your eyes closed, your knees bent at 45 degrees to the rest of your body and your feet flat on the floor. Now just imagine the floor pushing up to support your back, like the Earth is holding you, and notice your muscles release as more and more of your body makes contact with the Earth.
A part of professional resilience is being able to see the humour in those trickier situations. Maybe you haven’t laughed in a while. Put on your favourite podcast or sitcom, read your funny book, or watch nonsense on YouTube for 5 minutes; whatever it takes to make you chuckle. Laughter still is an excellent medicine.
8. Enjoy Your Pets
Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, whatever you look after at home… even some chickens have been known to be quite cuddly. Many studies have shown that pet owners are less stressed on the whole; pets are generally excited to be in your company and lend a certain homely atmosphere to your abode. Knowing you have something happy and loveable to come home to can do wonders for your wellbeing at work.
9. Take a Walk
It can be tricky to find mindfulness in the workplace, especially if your work in a particularly fast paced environment. Get out of the building for a bit at lunchtime. Have a walk around and use it as an opportunity to regroup and be present. It’s also quite a good bit of exercise!
A decent hug has the ability to release all the tension you are holding in 10 seconds. Maybe it’s the human contact, maybe it’s the warmth, but whatever it is it tends to work. What’s more, it is proven to reduce blood pressure and stress in adults.
Give one of these a try today and see if you can make stress a thing of the past!
By Chris Thomson
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