“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~ William James
Imagine we are stress-free when we do our work.
Everything seems to go smoothly and all of the problems that we have can be solved quickly. It will be such a good condition for us, right?
Unfortunately, stress seems like a part and parcel that cannot be ignored in our daily work. However, we can all do something to reduce stress at work and we can do so significantly.
Why is Reducing Stress at Work So Important?
Stress seems to be something that we all want to avoid. After all, it can trigger our bad mood easily and it makes our job seems to be harder to complete. However, this problem is hard to dismiss for all of us.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 94% of American workers experience stress at work on various levels. That is nearly all of us. It looks like it is a common, unhealthy situation to have when we do our jobs.
I, certainly, also have felt stress too in the tasks that I have to work on. The pressure to finish them and the worry about the quality of the outcomes often become sources of stress for me.
This is also why I am curious about reducing stress at work and that is when I found these tips. It is better because they are science-backed and thus, they should most definitely help us in reducing stress at work and be more at peace in all aspects of our lives.
5 Science-Backed Tips to Reduce Stress at Work Immediately
1. Take frequent breaks.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are a few important factors that can influence the amount of stress at work that we experience. Among them are infrequent breaks and long hours. Now, guess: what is the solution to the problem of infrequent breaks and long hours?
That’s right, frequent breaks!
To do the frequent break, you may want to implement a work-break routine for yourself. It is said that the 52/17 routine (52 minutes work, 17 minutes break, 52 minutes work again, and so on) is the best one. Test out the routine for yourself and see what works for you.
During the break, you should try to do something that releases the stress in your mind. Take a stretch or going for a walk might be among the best things that you can do for that.
Research done at Harvard discovered that “Breathing exercise was most effective for immediate and long-term stress reduction”. Moreover, the great thing about it is that breathing exercises can be done anytime anywhere, including when, and where you work.
It also shouldn’t take a lot of your time. To do the breathing exercise most simply, just try to count your breath. Count 1 when you inhale, count 2 when you exhale, count 3 when you inhale again, and so forth. Do it until you calm down as this will lower your stress level.
3. Declutter your workspace.
This tip is based on the research by Libby Sanders, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Bond University Business School. Libby discovered that cluttered spaces can increase our stress and anxiety levels.
When you think about it, seeing a cluttered desk can cause your mind to feel cluttered as well.
So, what you can do about it?
You can spare some time to declutter your workspace if you feel it’s messy. Organize your desk/office and throw away any unimportant items. In doing so, you will have a tiny desk and office. And with a clean workspace, your mind will find it easier to focus more positively on finishing the work.
4. Avoid multitasking
Dan Levitan, a neurologist, discovered that multitasking is stressful because it can increase the level of cortisol and adrenalin. These are the stress hormones that keep the body in the fight-flight-freeze response, causing you to feel unsafe and in danger.
To avoid this, focus on doing one task at a time. That should help you lower your stress level and increase your productivity, especially since multitasking can affect your productivity, stress levels, and decrease productivity.
Surely, we don’t want that.
5. Walk during lunchtime
“Walking… seems to have both energizing and relaxing properties in the workplace.”~Cecilie Thørgensen-Ntoumani, associate professor at Curtin University.
When you experience stress at work, walking during lunch hours can be an alternative action to calm you down. When doing the walking, you can refresh your mind so you can be readier to face the challenges at your job.
After all, walking is a form of exercise too. Doing it seems to be able to make your body and mind healthier.
So, what do you think about those tips? Are you ready to do some light exercise during your lunch hour? Or maybe you’re organizing your messy work desk at the moment, right?
Stress at work can accumulate over time and even become high suddenly (like when you suddenly get a difficult task that has a tight deadline). I hope these tips will help you in reducing stress at work and refreshing your mind as they do for me.