Career Woman

7 Scientifically backed ways to de-stress your work day

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We experience stress anywhere,commuting, shopping, dating, and we recognize that we are stressed and oftentimes try to do something about it; take the train to work, shop when it’s quieter, make that first date at your local pub for the home ground advantage. Yet workplace stress occurs every single day across the world, and more often than not, we accept it as just another part of work. Yet stress at work does not have to be the norm. You may have a high-powered, high-stress job, but there are simple ways you can consciously stop that stress from burning you out and ruining your day. Take a look at these 7 simple but scientifically backed ways to de-stress your work day.

1. Deep breathing

One of the most powerful tools in your ‘de-stress toolbox’ should be breathing exercises. Deep breathing, especially from the diaphragm, forces the brain to shift from the highly adrenalized ‘fight or flight’ response to a more relaxed state. Physiological changes such as a decreased heartbeat and a release of muscle tension will follow deep breathing, and your stress will evaporate away.

2. Stretch and move

Muscle tension and stress go hand in glove. Stress can cause tension in muscles, and conversely, tight muscles can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. The simplest solution is to move. Stand up, break eye-contact with your computer screen and stretch. Stretching increases blood circulation throughout the body and again forces a shift away from the ‘fight or flight’ response that stress activates in us all.

3. Journal or blog your work worries

Focusing on your worries and jotting them down can help you to reframe your worries. Are they actually as big and stressful as they appeared in your head? When writing your worries down, did you start to think of a solution that you couldn’t grasp while these worries just tumbled about in your mind? Writing brings clarity and a clear-headed mind is one less prone to stress.

4. Track your stressors

While journaling your stress is a good way to alleviate it, try tracking particular stressors to check for patterns or common elements that might help you to prevent future stress. You might identify that it’s a particular task, person or environment that causes your stress. So armed you could actively seek to change that element and prevent stress before it becomes a hindrance.

5. Share your stress

The saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Think tanks and brainstorming sessions have long been used to share thoughts and ideas, but getting together with your work colleagues is a great way to communally share the issues or worries that are causing you stress. You might be surprised to find others share your stress, or you might just receive the empathy and attention you need to unburden yourself of your stress.

6. Munch on spinach

When lunchtime rolls around and you’re in the grips of stress, say no to the food truck and yes to a big leafy salad filled with spinach. There are few superfoods as positively correlated with mood enhancement as spinach. It’s the high levels of folate in spinach that permeate your bloodstream andleave you feeling happier and more clear-headed. Stress will dissipate beneath the freshly fed and energized you.

7. Take time out

Sunshine and fresh air are both good for the body and the mind. Combine this with a little exercise and you’ll find your stress melts away as you breathe deeper, stretch and move and distract yourself with some time away from the desk. A brief powerwalk after lunch can also aid in digestion and renew your focus and clarity for the afternoon slog.

These seven, scientifically backed techniques are quick, discreet and easy to manage during your work day. By paying a little attention to your mind and body, you can de-stress with ease or perhaps even lay out the groundwork to prevent stressful work days altogether.

About Raunak Karim

Raunak Karim regularly blogs at psysci, a psychology, science blog that examines the latest research in mental health and explains how findings can impact and improve people’s lives.

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